Vacation like a European

Chantal Panozzo
  • By Chantal Panozzo
  • July 21st, 2010

By Chantal Panozzo

Sitting in one spot can be tough for an American

Staying in one spot can be tough for an American

My husband and I have been in Switzerland for four years now so it’s time to try something a little scary: to vacation like a European. In other words, go to one place (and one place only!) for an entire week with nothing on the agenda but to relax.

Relax? We’re Americans. Do we know how to do this?

I admit, I have gotten a little better at relaxing since moving abroad. I no longer have the urge to say, “I’m so busy!” just to make myself feel worthy. But still. A whole week of vacation in one location? One? This will be a big experiment. This will tell us if we really are becoming Swiss.

Americans are notorious for their checklist vacations. One glance at the Big Ben and they’ve moved on to the Eiffel Tower. But years of hearing Swiss and German colleagues insult my vacation plans—“You’re only going to Spain for 10 days and visiting THREE whole cities”—has taken its toll.  So here’s my next vacation plan: there is none.

We’re renting an apartment in the Alps for a week. That’s all I know. Maybe we’ll hike, bike, rent a paddleboat, read, cook…I’ll stop myself now before I turn into a full-blown American and plan the whole thing.

In Switzerland, where hotels are the most expensive in Europe, it pays to stay in a place for a week. In many cases, it’s cheaper to go for a week than a long weekend. For example, in the resort town of Bettmeralp, 2 people can get an apartment for an entire week for CHF 500. But one night at a hotel will cost this same couple CHF 200. Another reason, perhaps, that the Europeans choose the vacation style that they do.

Have you ever gone on a vacation and stayed in one place for an entire week?

Chantal Panozzo is a writer in Switzerland. She’s the author of One Big Yodel, a blog about life in Switzerland and moving abroad, and also discusses living abroad as a freelancer at Writer Abroad.

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Comments

I love this topic! That’s my favorite way to travel and it’s almost the only way I like to travel if I have time. It’s a great way to really get to know a place – become a local for a while, have a favorite cafe in the morning, the usual newsstand, etc… the more you stay in one place the more beautiful secrets you discover.
Before I moved to Buenos Aires, I went for a month and didn’t leave the city except for about a day. the second time I went, I decided it would stop being a vacation and I stayed a year and a half. ;-)
Now that I’m in Europe, i can take little jaunts for 3 or 4 days to cities, with all the cheap flights available.

Tina
July 21, 2010    Rate Comment

I am an active person as well, and if I stay one week or more in one place, I need to be sure I will be able to do thing.
But I do prefer indeed staying in one place and explore the area than change city, it’s exhausting and in the end, you just get a shallow insight of the region.

You vacation plan in the Alps sounds absolutely ideal!

Jasmine
Comment #2 by Jasmine
July 22, 2010    Rate Comment

[...] Travel like a European. By staying longer, you’ll save more. [...]

Budget Travel in Switzerland
July 23, 2010    Rate Comment

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