Duration of a trip
Many years ago my friend from New Zealand took 3 months off work to visit the US and Europe. After staying with me and then other friends for a few days each she went on a 3-week tour of Europe, which she later called an “ABC (Another Bloody Church) tour”. The constant move from one place to another quickly took its toll. After the first few days all the famous places that she was eager to see started to blur and merge into one another. Instead of enjoying her once-in-lifetime trip, she could not wait for it to be over. What a shame to have such a negative recollection!
More recently while I was having my lunch at Plitvice Lake in Croatia, I met a couple who were with a 11-day Eastern European tour group from Hong Kong. They were stopping there only for two hours! What a waste of the beautiful scenery that took my partner and I a week to fully appreciate!
With these firmly in my mind I do not go on a trip that lasts for more than a week. Instead of an annual long drawn out trip to visit many places at once, I prefer to have 5 or 6 short trips a year (I did that even when I was working full time). For me 3 to 5 days are the optimal time for fully appreciating a new place. The exceptions are of course visits to friends and family
I take to heart an advice I read some years ago about what to pack for holidays. It goes something like: lay out everything you intend to take on holiday, then take half the clothes and twice the money. What a sound advice for short trips, although not necessarily in the local currency of the destination,
With a change of clothing everyday I always manage to pack everything in a cabin-size case. That allows me to decide on the spot whether to check in my case. Not checking in my luggage has nothing to do saving money. The benefit is that I do not have to wait for the bag-drop counters to open (unless it’s with BA at Heathrow Terminal 5 where you can do self bag-drops) so as to make the most of the maximum stay of 3 hours at airport lounges. No check-in luggage also means no lost luggage!