Six Ways to Create Unforgettable Memories When Traveling

The US is the only developed country without any legally required paid vacation days. Is it any wonder that many Americans opt for an organized tour in order to cram in as much sight-seeing as possible into a one or two week period?

If you are retired or have time, why not spend longer abroad for the same amount or even less money? While visiting those “not to be missed” sights, mingle with the natives. Learn their customs. Visit their markets. Dine on their authentic cuisine. These experiences could go a long way toward giving you a better understanding of the numerous ways to do everyday things other than the American way.

These six steps should get you on the way for your own store of “unforgettable memories”:

1. Browse through the library and bookstores guidebooks. Look for those authored by non-US writers. (Both the Rough Guide and the Lonely Planet series were started by young Brits whose clientele weren’t seeking luxury. They have a vested interest in chocking their guides full bargains.)

2. If you prefer cruises, you’ll find numerous options in these guides. (Note the information given here isn’t verbatim, and the details included in parentheses have been inserted to assist the novice traveler with additional information as an aid to use while making their travel selections.)

a. To visit Luang Prabang, the beautiful old French city—recently named a World Heritage Center—hop aboard one of the salt barges that leave from Vientiane, the capital of Laos. You’ll make the five-day trip down the swift flowing Mekong River, one of Asia’s major waterways. For around seventy-five US cents a night you’ll have memories that will last you a lifetime!

You will spend both your days and nights sitting and sleeping on the wooden platform near the engine room. After mooring each evening, you will have an opportunity to enjoy an invigorating bath or swim in the river.

Food is available at the various ports of call. Perhaps you’ll be the lucky one invited to dine at the captain’s table on the last night of this cruise. Formal attire is not required.

For the seventeen hours of this cruise you will have ample opportunity to mingle with the Chinese on one of their typical large one-room boats. You will then board a bus for a scenic drive through the Chinese countryside viewing rice paddies and will learn what life is like in rural China. The cost for the first boat and bus is what the French refer to as “three times nothing.” At Guilin, your destination, another cruise will take to view such highly touted karst formations as “The Yearning for Husband Hill” that are scattered along the Li River, another one of China’s outstanding attractions.

b. Any one of The East is Red ships is an inexpensive alternative to the numerous tourist boats on your not-to-be-missed visit to Three Gorges stretch of the Yangtze River, China’s longest waterway.