If you’re like my friends and me, you’re still mulling your summer trips. Whether traveling by plane, train or hang glider, or staying in tent, hotel or castle, we all agree on one issue: We try to avoid places where other tourists go.
We require hotels much quieter — and cleaner — than our homes. Campers hope no one will locate within a mile of their Winnebagos. Both kinds of vacationers pray their rowdy, late-night parties will not be disturbed by some other rowdy, late-night party.
Patrons at both rough-it and refined ends of the getaway spectrum seek restaurants that attract no screamy children but their own.
We want to fill cyberspace — especially the pages of envious relatives — with amazing photos of eye-popping attractions. Attractions that should never draw other visitors, yet must include:
- Infinite-sized, free parking lots.
- Plentiful, pristine restrooms with no lines.
- Classy, dirt-cheap souvenirs.
- Educational adventures even grandmas and insurance companies consider safe.
Children, however, have long considered “education” and “vacation” a contradiction in terms. They love tourist traps.
Hubby and his brother, who as children stayed at their grandparents’ Wisconsin lake cottage, could have fed their morning cereal to deer peeking in the windows. Still, no vacation was complete without visiting nearby Diddly’s Delightful Deer Farm.
Today’s media-soaked children still reverence such attractions. Admission fees are in direct proportion to their pointlessness, reflected in souvenirs, e.g., oozy green livers from Mutant Body Parts Wax Museum and litter-shaped candy from Pretty Kitty’s Cat Condo.
Even teens welcome such enticements — if they can ditch parents.
Surprisingly, our college-aged daughter once asked me to journey with her in Honduras, where she’d spent the semester.
My airplane seatmate, a native who had moved to Texas, advised me to remove my necklace before we landed: “Pickpockets jerk them off.” She also counseled me to avoid taxis if I didn’t know the driver personally.
Long and scary story short, my daughter and I did rendezvous, enjoying a tropical paradise together. We also shared a bus ride along a favorite hijacker route to another seaside town. A town where bank security guards carried automatic rifles and strips of ammunition crisscrossing their chests. There, we unknowingly risked our lives watching a tribal dance at night.
At our mountainside 1950s-style hotel, a white cat with malignant eyes kept vigil on the front desk. Sen֮or Blanco listened to our complaints about no locks on our door. The often-AWOL owner didn’t.
But we never had to stand in line.
My daring daughter is currently planning a South American visit. Her husband will go adventuring with her to places tourists never visit.
As for me? Diddly’s Delightful Deer Farm, here I come.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite away-from-the-tourists vacation spot?