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November 19, 2008

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Dr. Hogenauer ...                 "A Few Simple "Rules"




  • OTHER ARTICLES by Dr. Hogenauer
  • Systematic Travel
  • Systematic Travel (2)

Systematic travel: Part 3
A few simple "rules" of systematic travel to help you determine if this approach to travel is right for you.
By Dr. Alan Hogenauer

Hello, fellow travelers!

Although we have begun our series on systematic travel with a focus on "countries," systematic travel certainly need not be exclusively or even primarily global; wherever "home" is, that's the place to start! The best - and least expensive! - way to see if the concept of systematic travel appeals to you, is to begin locally or regionally, so that neither time nor expense will be prohibitive.

As is the case for all systematic travel, it can be objective (the five boroughs of New York City, the 22 designated historic districts of Los Angeles, etc.) or subjective (any of the myriad of "10 best things to see in ..." lists).

Regardless of the scope of the quest, however, a few simple "rules" apply.

1. Never take the same route, mode of transport, or carrier twice to anywhere until you have also taken all or most of the alternatives. For example, over several years, when business trips from New York to Washington, DC were called for, it turned out that there were flights to and from each of the New York area airports (LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark) to each of those in the DC area (BWI, National/now Reagan and Dulles) 18 different routings in all (3x3x2). This resulted in familiarity with not only the six airports, but a variety of airlines as well.

2. Create a master trip list. This is a theoretical itinerary, covering everything you've ever wanted to see, in logical order from home to everywhere and back. It definitely takes time to initially create and continuously update, but it pays off big time as you travel to "intended" destinations, and efficiently include additional points to your trip. It is relatively easy to incorporate new systematic quests by simply inserting their components into their logical places.

3. Use "proximity" to your maximum advantage. It hurts, both psychologically and financially, to realize once back home, that you were "right next door" to something and didn't check it out. Here's where the master trip list is especially helpful!

4. Find a reason to take you places for an extended period. I've been fortunate to have worked for pay in 58 countries thus far, including extended residence on each of the six populated continents. This not only provides financial backing for systematic travel, it enables a much less frenetic pace to logical extensions from your base. A weekend in Vietnam from home is impractical to envision for most of us, but if you are living and working in Bangkok, it's not hard or costly at all. That's why Study Abroad programs in Europe are so popular; you're studying in Florence or Madrid, but most of Europe is just a few hours away.

5. Do advance research; virtually every community on earth has compiled a list of sights to see and events to experience in town or close to it. Check this out in advance of a trip, since even a minor diversion from airport to hotel, or from hotel to business meeting can save hours, serious money, or even the need for a return visit!

6. Ride public transport, especially above-ground rail services. Light rail, trams and trolleys are superb opportunities for sightseeing and overall familiarization, as they are generally above ground, easily identified and understood by their visual diagrams, and operate over fixed routes. Equally importantly, they usually pass by or go directly to sites of major interest, since transit planners always take this into consideration.

For example, the Memphis (TN) trolley passes near the famous Peabody Hotel with its duck parade, the infamous Memphis Pyramid, the Mississippi River's Mud Island extravaganza, residential areas, the rail and bus stations, and much more -- all for a pittance in fare. Similarly, New York's elevated lines (and those of Chicago, San Francisco's BART, Bangkok's SkyTrain, etc.) provide an unparalleled panorama, day or night. And don't miss one of the planet's most incredible rides, the ludicrous $$$ Shanghai Maglev, traveling at up to 270 mph (NOT a typo! 270 mph!) between the outskirts of Shanghai and its airport.

Even L.A.'s notoriously inefficient Metro Rail lines provide great views -- if you have time to cover their roundabout and incomplete routes!

Then, as you enjoy all these and more, add others to your list - there are hundreds of municipal rail systems worldwide, including surface, elevated, subway/Metro, and even funicular and subway-funicular, See and click on world subways!

Happy travels, determined or otherwise!

Dr. Alan Hogenauer is Associate Professor in the College of Business Administration at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA, specializing in travel and tourism. He has been traveling "systematically" for more than 50 years. In 1981, he became the first person to reach all the units of America's national park system, which he updated in 1995 and 2006. His multiple travel challenges are listed on his website Dr. Hogenauer's latest and ongoing goal is to link everywhere on earth using surface transport only; to date he has linked 169 countries and territories on all seven continents without using an airplane.

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