The next year I was more adventurous and traveled (non-business trips) to South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, and Hawaii. In each place, though, I ate in hotel restaurants or other American* style places (including Hard Rock Cafes).
Today, Hard Rock Cafe is near the bottom of my list of places to visit when I travel.
I would only stay in a Holiday Inn if it was the only option or someone was footing the bill.
So, what changed?
As I traveled more, I found it more fun and rewarding to experience local flavor rather than mass produced products and services.
To paraphrase other travel experts: if you visit another country and stay in American branded hotels, eat in American branded places, ride on a tour bus with other Americans, just stay home and visit America.
Even in America, however, I prefer to stay in a small motels or vacation rentals (apartments, condos, houses) than large cookie-cutter hotels. And I prefer to eat at local, unique places than chains.
Am I Right Now? Was I Wrong Then?
As much as I would like to scoffingly laugh at (or at least teach) travelers who have not yet discovered the joys of authentic travel, I realize people are different.
We see things differently. We experience things differently. (Insert your own US Congress joke here).
There is no right way to travel. There is no wrong way to travel. The McCool way is not the only way.
In fact, the McCool way (my travel philosophy**) has changed. It evolved. It continues to evolve.
I know people, super duper frequent travelers, who are loyal to brands. They only stay in Starwood, Hilton, or other brand properties. They only rent cars from Hertz. They only fly United, Delta, or another specific carrier.
How about YOU?
Do you have a travel philosophy? Or do you just wing it? Does it vary by trip, destination, who you travel with, season of the year? Has it changed or evolved over time?
* America, geographically, includes North America (and Central America) and South America. In this article, America, as commonly used in USA, refers to the United States of America, and American, as things that are from USA.
NOTE: As much as I wish I was compensated by products and services mentioned in this article, I am NOT.
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