Friday, March 29, 2024

What kind of visitor are you?




LUCY BURDETTE: This winter, we had quite a few guests/visitors in Key West. I cannot blame people for wanting to get away from winter, as that’s why we are here! But after we had three sets in a row, (not everyone staying in our two bedroom condo), I noticed the differences in types of visitors. Some of them have been to Key West a number of times, like our family, and they also have small children, so that makes their interests different to begin with. With that group, we spent lots of time at the waterpark, and on bicycles, and in the swimming pool, and making super early reservations that would allow for eating before the kids fell apart.



When John’s sisters came, two of the three had not visited the island before and they had a very distinct list of things they wanted to see. (Which we added to!) They were open to everything, pinging from pickleball in the morning to visiting the Hemingway house and the Little White House and shopping and eating out. They had lots of fun and so did we, though it was nice to be able to pick and choose among the items on their list. Let me not forget that John’s sister Lisa also was a good sport about a ukulele jam session and pseudo concert, and also wanted to meet Lorenzo aka Ron from the food critic mysteries.






Another pair of guests had never visited Key West, and in fact, we had not seen them in close to 20 years. They did not have a wish list and did not want to get caught up in FOMO, fear of missing out. We encouraged them to take the Conch tour train so they could get the overview of the island and visit our two favorite places, the Hemingway house, and the Truman Little White House. They might have been happy sitting for two days on the deck or by the pool, but we wanted them to see a little bit of our quirky island. There was also a ukulele and harmonica and singing fest involved--so much fun! I'll share the photo but save you from the video:)


 

So here’s my question of the day: when you are a visitor, do you come prepared with things you want to do and see? Or are you happier going with the flow? As a host, what is your preference for visitors?

61 comments:

  1. As a visitor, I'm happy to go with the flow . . . usually, I'm more interested in being with the people I'm visiting than seeing places or doing things.
    As a host, I'm happy to do whatever the visitors want . . . .

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  2. As a visitor, I wouldn't have a rigid schedule I'd want to adhere to, but there would probably be a few points of interests (or restaurant) I'd like to visit. However, I would definitely keep an open mind because if someone has lived in a place for a while, they can provide the best suggestions. As a host, I'd really want to ascertain what the guests were interested in, and if they didn't know, have a list of choices that varied in interests.

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  3. I'm usually a go with the flow kind of person. I don't have the time to do the research before I go to figure out what I need to do. And, usually, I've traveled with my family and they've already set an agenda without me planning much of it, so I've just learned to do whatever is put on my agenda.

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    1. Lest I sound completely upset about it, I find that I usually have a great time. So it's not a complete complaint on my part.

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  4. As a visitor to a new city, but not where anyone I know lives (so just the two of us as tourists), I do research and plan itineraries. The itineraries can be loosey goosey so we can take time for an adventure that presents itself….or a nap!

    As a visitor to a city where I’m there to see friends/relatives, whether we’re staying with them or not, I still do some research so I can ask if whatever I’m thinking about visiting is worth it. And sometimes the people who live there have been to the (fill in the blank) so many times over the years, it’s good to figure out what is really important to us to do, whether our hosts/friends want to join us. But we are definitely flexible. — Pat S

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  5. As a visitor, I do do my research and have a list of things I want to see or do but allow for spontaneity. As a host, I let visitor tell me what they want to do and we go with the flow.

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  6. As a visitor, it depends on if it's my first time or 7th at a location. If it's my first time, I like to see the tourist spots, museums and such. But when I'm there for the 7th (or whatever) time, which is the case for me and New Mexico where one of my dearest friends lives, I'm content to just hang out and spend time visiting her rather than areas of interest.

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  7. I'm a "little of both" kind of person, but as a former innkeeper, I was a little more insistent that people visiting our city or state see some of its significant sites and even went so far as to take some of them on brief "taste of" tours. One can't come to Vermont without visiting a [maple] sugar house!

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  8. I believe it was F. Scott Fitzgerald who said, “A guest’s job is to entertain themselves during the day and their hosts at night.” It’s like the cherry on top if you decide to take a daytime excursion together!

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  9. These days my lists are much more relaxed, like your last visitors. I'm leaving in a few days for two weeks in Japan, and I have two things I want to do on Sunday, my only full free day alone. The cruise all around the islands starts on Monday, and on the days I don't have a land excursion planned, I just want to wander around whatever city we're visiting, soak up the food and language, be surprised, and look for small gifts to bring home.

    PS. No idea what time of day I'll be able to drop in and comment here, but I'll try!

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    1. I meant, I'm leaving in a few HOURS...

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    2. Bon voyage! Travel safely. Have fun. Return with stories! XXOO

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    3. Edith, my husband and I are having such a terrific time in Japan. In think you'll enjoy your trip very much. Bon voyage!

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    4. I hope you will post about some of your adventures! My son is moving to Japan in three weeks and we plan to go for a visit next year, after he has had time to get settled.

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    5. Kim, we'll have to compare notes after I'm back!

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    6. Bon voyage, Edith! Hope your trip exceeds your wildest expectations, in all the best ways!

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    7. Hai. Taizai o tanoshinde. Utsukushi-sa o ayumu

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    8. Safe travels, Edith! - Pat S

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  10. Usually when we visit, we go with the flow, since our hosts know better than we do what we should see. One exception was when we went to DC years ago to visit a friend and we wanted to see the Smithsonian. He had to work every day, so every morning he dropped us off at the Smithsonian, where we stayed all day and explored the museums, and then he picked us up later and we spent the evenings with him. It was the best of both. This fall we were visited here in Braga by friends who specifically wanted to see places we frequented, so that was a lot of fun: we took them to favorite restaurants, a walking tour of historic Braga, by taxi to two famous cathedrals in the hills. They had a wonderful time, and so did we.

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  11. I definitely would go with the flow. When visiting friends or family, I am there for the company, not the touring.
    Lots of food and drink and good conversation makes me happy

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    1. I'm with you on the food and drink and good conversation on Geriatric Row (Adirondack chairs where you sit and ponder and practice for when you are drooling in a home...). We had visitors once and were driving around the Cabot Trail - a beautiful drive, but long. Just after half way through, one said, I wish I had a beer. Unfortunately it was a 2 hr drive back to home, where the beer and conversation was enjoyed.

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    2. Count me in on food, drink and conversation -- preferably in a place where it's not so noisy we can't hear each other!

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  12. It is different depending on who you are visiting, whether I am traveling alone or as a couple, whether you are a guest in their home, whether you have your own transportation, whether there are places you really want to see or things you really want to do. Right? It also depends on whether you have come for a wedding or for Christmas, very different circumstances.
    My answer is that I want to be the best guest I can be, not take advantage of my hosts and enjoy my visit.

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    1. that's a perfect answer Judy, and yes it does depend on lots of factors, including where the hosts live. We hate for people to visit KW without seeing some of the places that make it special.

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    2. I have a completely different check list for my next visit to KW. The last time, I had not yet discovered your books.

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  13. I may have a list of a few items that I want to visit but I'm open to any suggestions from someone who knows the area well.

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  14. As a host, I will entertain guests with delight and show them the sights for 48 hours, maybe 72 if I'm not too busy, and they WANT to be entertained. After that, I hand them a bus pass and the guide book, make a few suggestion, and they're on their own until evening. As a guest, I always know what I want to do, but I'm prepared to bow to the host's wishes as graciously as I can!

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  15. Hmm, interesting question Lucy! It seems that my visitors are mostly family who have moved away from "home" while I stayed. So their visits usually involve visiting other friends but still leaving plenty of time for just catching up with me. I haven't gone to visit anyone in so long I can barely remember what the visits entailed. My sister is after to me visit her in the state of WA, especially since her husband has died fairly recently. Since I don't know much of anything about where she lives, I am sure she would have lots of sights she's want to show me.

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  17. Interesting question. We also have 2 kinds of guests – relatives (usually enough said), and others. Others are always welcome, and usually stay in our house. If they are new, we suggest places to visit around, and often the main one is Louisbourg, the National Historic Park. It is a day long trek. It IS interesting the first 10 times, but by 50 – nmmhhh. We encourage them to visit it on their own (we will provide a vehicle to get there if they need it), and let them explore the area on their time, and their pace. It also serves to let both of us have a break from one another – there is just so much chit-chat that I am capable of!
    As for etiquette from the guests – If I suggest that you please just pull up the spread and walk away from the room – PLEASE do that! I don‘t need you to strip the bed, clean the bathroom and vacuum. Just please check under the bed for the lost sock and underwear, so I don‘t have to mail it!
    We visited my son & wife for 10 days last fall (way too long, but far away, so not the usually “after 3 days, fish stinks” visit). We had never been to BC. They lived there. We asked for suggestions of what to see, and they were usually stum. We didn’t know – can’t just read the flyers. Same with places to eat. Annoying it was!

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  18. I may have places I want to see, whether it's my first or fifth visit to a place, but I don't like a rigid schedule. I'm on vacation, for heaven's sake. Schedules are for work. It's more of a "before I go I want to do this" but I don't care if it's day 2 or day 5. As a host, I like to play to my guest's wishes. My best friend is coming back this spring and I know she wants to see Fallingwater, so I'll book tickets.

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  19. Since I usually travel solo on vacation, I do a lot of research about what I want to see and do (and eat).

    A few items that are time-dependent are pre-booked. For example, on my upcoming trip to Seattle in less than 2 weeks, I have booked tickets for the Chihuly Glass and Wing Luke Museums. And I am staying at a downtown hotel a short distance from Pike Place Market since I plan on visiting there multiple times. Then I switch to the Bellevue hotel for 4 days of Left Coast Crime before going back for 3 solo unplanned days in Vancouver, BC.

    But I also leave a lot of flexibility to explore. My upcoming 10-day solo trip to Singapore is mostly unscheduled since I don't know how the heat/humidity and jet lag will affect me. I can pre-book the timed events once I am there.

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    1. You are such an amazing traveler Grace--you make the most of everywhere you go!

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    2. Grace, you will love Chilhuly! We were there last August and very much enjoyed it. — Pat S

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  20. If I'm solo traveling/visiting, I like the days for wandering on my own, finding the local art gallery, generally exploring the place I've landed. The evenings, I enjoy cooking with my host using local ingredients, then sharing the meal with good conversation.

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  21. As a visitor, I always try to keep my host's needs in mind, and plan activities that don't always involve the host. When my son was in high school, we stayed with friends in NYC for a week, and we did some activities with the friends and others on our own. My kid was very good with the subway map. I always try to treat the hosts to something and help with cooking and/or cleanup.

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  22. I have enjoyed everyone's thoughtful answers. I guess in my experience, there is a clear distinction between whether I'm going to visit someone, and incidentally seeing their location, or going to see a location, and incidentally reconnecting with someone I know who lives there. For the latter I would do a lot of research, but still ask for advice from the one who lives there, and I would prioritize establishing when and where my visit with them would occur. For the former I might do a little research to familiarize myself with options, but almost completely go with the flow while there.

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  23. I am a mixture of styles when traveling. If I’m traveling with my husband we tend to have a loose agenda and allow for serendipitous moments to occur. If I’m being hosted I like to have the flexibility to choose how many planned activities are built into my stay. Fortunately, I have one DIL who is a marvelous planner so I know any trip with her will have had lots of research pre-trip. She is also great about giving me/us options to join in or not.~Emily Dame

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  24. Thank you for the pix of my former stomping grounds!

    As a guest, I go with the flow. I have active friends who always love to plan fun things, and I have passive friends who want nothing more than to sit around and chat and hit the local restaurants. Both are fine with me. As a hostess, I like to offer options. Then we pick and choose and have a great time. Since most of my friends are outdoorsy types, living in the woods is a good thing!

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  25. I’ve done both. Definitely do not want to make the people we are visiting feel like they have to entertain us the whole time, but also do not want to make them feel like we are just using them for a free place to stay.

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  26. As I am currently frantically getting ready for all three daughters, one son-in-law, and my grandson to arrive today, I'll just say there is an art to being a good guest. We used to host all the Audubon lecturers who came to Cincinnati, back when six per year were booked. Most of them only stayed one night, but I learned a lot about being gracious and accommodating to a host, sometimes because of weird or nasty negative experiences. My kids, since they all moved away as soon as they went away to college, are pretty good at being good guests, making their own plans, but also joining the rest of the family for special activities.

    We are going to Greece for a week in a few weeks, staying with our daughter in Athens, and then we will all travel together to Poland to meet recently discovered relatives. We have a list of potential things to do both places, and since there will be five of us, we will need a consensus choice, or break up the group with different destinations. I'm fine with either, but I also want to leave space for serendipity: a special art exhibit, or a good weather opportunity to see a park, etc.

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  27. I pretty much have turned into a cat. Away from home I want to sleep for 16 hours and wake when food is available.

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  28. If I am traveling by myself and not visiting a person, I make a list of the specific things I want to do. If I am going back to a place I have been to before I might include something I want to see again along with places I didn’t get a chance to see before. If there is a tourist guide for the time frame I will be there I usually look at that to see if there are going to be special events.
    The green Michelin guides are very good at giving ratings to places of particular interest. When it is a big city such as London, which has its own guidebook, they have floor plans for the major museums.
    I have used that to indicate must see exhibits along with others of some interest if there was sufficient time. I also leave time for just walking around, you never know what is around the corner.
    If I am visiting a person, I leave it up to them since they usually have some things already planned. I always tell them that I can just go out on my own for a while. This way they they don’t have to feel pressured to provide something to do every minute and I can do some exploring by myself.
    When I have guests I usually have some ideas about where to take them, but I leave it up to them as to what they might want to do. I also try to suggest some down time, especially if they have had a long trip to get to their destination. It’s a vacation I want all of us to enjoy the time we are spending together.

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  29. Great post Lucy. I love the pictures and how visitors react and plan their time on Key West.
    It is such a fun place to visit.
    I am a go with the flow person and hubby likes to have things planned out - we make a great travel team.

    There is definitely an art to being a good guest as Karen mentioned above.
    First of all, is to keep visits short (4-5 days tops).
    2. If you want to visit a city and stay 2-3 weeks I recommend getting alternative accommodations.
    3. Cook/make your own food and help pay for food. Often our guests will buy a lot of non perishable food that all can share. Invite your host out to dinner one night.
    4. Don't ask to borrow the host's car or ask the host to have their insurance cover damages! (Long story).
    5. Don't ask the host to pick you up at the airport - unless they offer.

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    1. all excellent suggestions, along with Karen's--a whole other blog in there!

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  30. Depends on where I visit. If I visit a new place and it is a place I want to visit, then I have a list of places I want to visit - museums, historical sites, bookstores and cafes. If I am visiting someone I know AND it is a new to me location, then it is both - go with the flow AND some of the things from my list.

    If it is a location I have visited often AND I am visiting someone I know, then it is Go with the Flow.

    Diana

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  31. I love all your thoughtful comments! I am reading and appreciating each one, even if not answering. It's a must-write day here for me!

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    1. Good luck with your writing. I don’t know if it’s a new photo of you, but I just noticed it. Very nice! — Pat S

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  32. When I'm a guest, I like to go with the flow, but with a back-up of some plans in case my hostess seems stressed or has to work. As a hostess myself, I also like to combine the two approaches: I usually have a short list of suggestions depending on the guest(s) preferences - places nearby to hike, or best places to swim in the Saco river for active folks; shopping or museums for indoor folks.

    And then I have my go-to activities for almost everyone coming to see me in Maine: ride the ferry to Peaks Island followed by a meal at the Inn, whale watching out of New Harbor, followed by dinner at Shaw's Wharf, shopping at Freeport followed by... you get the idea. Most people coming to Maine have a good idea of what we have to offer and what they want (ocean and lobsters!)

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    1. Julia, we went to Maine in 1985 and loved it. I've been back since but our first trip with our two daughters was wonderful.
      We originally planned to go to Kennebuck port but we met a nice couple when we stopped at a tourist site in Massachussets. They suggested we should go to Bahaba instead as it was nicer. We spent a long time looking at our AAA map and couldn't find any city named Bahaba. Eventually we asked them to spell it for us. Oh! BaR HaRboR. We did go there and loved it! Good memories.

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  33. As a guest, I mimic my hosts doing things how they do them so as not to annoy them and I'm more than happy to go with the flow. As a host, I'm happy to do whatever my guests want and suggest my
    favorite things if they don't know. But I always remember what my dad used to say, "Company is like fish. It starts to smell after three days." LOL. I try not to ever overstay my welcome.

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    1. Your dad is a smart man! Good advice.

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  34. SO behind! Yeah, I just do what the hosts want to do. I have to admit, since it's just us--I really do not like to stay at other peoples homes. They need privacy, I need down time, and it's SO much better all around, in my opinion, to stay in a hotel and be there when they want me. As a host, I'm just trying to make people comfortable and happy and have and do whatever they want!

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