5 Easy Trip Ratings to help plan your next Hybrid Travel vacation
Updated: Jan 24
ParadoxTravel's Destination Rating System
Which hybrid trip is for you?
The concept of a travel rating system was born as my husband and I humorously tried to recover from the effects of being ‘shaken down’ by the local snake charmers on the Marrakech main square. It came up again later, as we wandered directionless through the dark streets of the souks the at night, listening to eerie moans of the Islamic adhans blaring from the mosques through loud speakers. “We are not in Kansas anymore!”, he joked. I enthusiastically agreed. We started talking about the different friends and family members who would either love this sort of adventure, or absolutely hate it based on limited travel experience, or low tolerance for unfamiliar religious customs or foreign food. “I’d call this place Level 4 travel for sure”, I commented. “So what kind of trip would Level 1 be?”, Nic added. And the discussion began. Below is what we came up with.
Now, realize that this rating system is not ‘official’ by any means. And it is unique to ParadoxTravel. And we understand that travelers may or may not agree with our ratings. They are simply designed to be a very loose guideline, to give you a better feel for the destinations we describe in our itineraries. We also want it to be clear that we ourselves, love pretty much every level of travel, because each has its own opportunity for connection, and all are enjoyable for different reasons. It simply depends on what you want to get out of your vacation. Early in our travel experience, we started at L1 and worked our way up to more foreign experiences over time. We still today readily go back to places like Maui and Vancouver and enjoy every minute of it. But our goal is to give you a general base of reference when you read our travel itineraries and recommendations.
Level 1 (L1)
We consider this to be fairly low-stress, easy travel. Meaning, it’s either in the same country you live in or feels very close to it. The food is familiar, you can find a Starbucks, McDonalds or a familiar chain restaurant most likely, the currency is the same as your own countries’ or very easy to calculate exchange, the customs are easy to abide by, and English is widely spoken. If you are from the USA, you will see a lot of Americans/ the demographic is fairly monochromatic.
Examples: Hawaii, Canada, a cruise
Level 2 (L2)
Now on these trips, you may need to learn a new language, or at least a few polite phrases or be able to ask directions. But English is still widely spoken. The food may be a little different, but you’ve probably had in your own country and it’s identifiable. There are no religious customs you are required to abide by, but it does take you out of your own country. Unless you do something stupid, you are still going to be pretty safe in most public tourist areas.
Examples: Italy, France, Greece, Cabo San Lucas & Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Iceland
Level 3 (L3)
These locations are fairly international, many languages are spoken here, English may or may not be used in the local shops. There is a good chance that food here is far different than what you have in the USA. Foreign currency may not what you have used before. Safety is still good in most public areas. There may be some religious customs you need to abide by to get into temples or simply to show respect as a traveler.
Examples: Thailand, Hong Kong, Patagonia, Chile; Mendoza, Argentina
Level 4 (L4)
Here, you may hear very little English. In fact, the chances of seeing another American may be slim, depending on season. It may be very international, but recommended abidance of religious customs and dress may deter some tourists. You need to be comfortable getting lost, and figuring out how to get yourself back to your hotel. Speaking a second language makes a big difference. You are going to see some weird food here and may or may not be comfortable with the level of sanitation you are used to in the USA. This is not a reason not to go! There are lots of ways you can make a L4 destination one of your most unique travel experiences. But researching ahead of time and a willingness to embrace a foreign culture is highly recommended.
Examples: Morocco, remote areas of South & Central America, Mongolia, India
Level 5 (L5)
War zone, or politically volatile areas, frequent protests, etc. These are areas that journalists may travel to, but at this time, ParadoxTravel does not.
Examples: Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Iraq