With the vacation season starting I wanted to spend some time talking about travel, in particular European travel, subset Italy. Of the 308 million-plus citizens in the United States, only 30% have passports versus 41% of Canadians and 71% of Brits. Europeans travel much more than Americans. It seems the art, architecture, food and wine of their neighbors is too good to pass up and despite the economy, 60% of Britons have been to the US.

I’ll admit it took me a while to travel beyond the beltway. We all have our reasons to postpone travel; work, family, time, money and an emotional commitment to travel outside the box. In a recent Mind Over Money post, a study by Cornell University cited how we should spend our money to gain the greatest satisfaction and happiness.”If you’re conflicted about whether to spend money on a material good or personal experience (say, a vacation), the research says you’ll get much more satisfaction,and for longer,if you choose the experience“.

My first experience of Italy was by way of a road trip with my Italian cousins through Tuscany. It was the fall of 1999. Now after more than 10+ years and 10,000+ miles traveling, eating, cooking and shopping with my Italian family and friends I’ve come to regard Italy as a far away friend that I look forward to visiting year after year. Travelers have indelible memories, in the stories they tell and in the way it changes there lives. It may be time to re-think your travel goals and invest in an experience. Italy is Europe’s everyman with something for everyone. There shouldn’t be any reason to come back from a trip to Italy boasting about the most wonderful food you ate, wine you drank and what you saw. Now may be the time to invest in an experience.



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