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By Bob Bestor

Group travel via bus, rail or ship/boat, in which decisions regarding accommodations, transport, sightseeing—and sometimes even sustenance—are made by a tour company, is favored by many. I, on the other hand, prefer independent travel, choosing my own flights, destinations, hotels, restaurants and making such decisions as when and where to stop for a snack or find a toilet.

Though that may be your style also, we might not agree on how structured a European trip should be. Those who have kept up with recent advances in genome research are undoubtedly aware that certain otherwise perfectly normal human beings are born with what has now been identified as the TIO (Trip Itinerary Obsessive) gene. When each city, sight, hotel and meal of the trip is not precisely scheduled, a person with the TIO gene becomes irritable, can’t sleep, and suffers a sense of impending doom—both before and during the trip.

TIO cannot be reversed or switched off. Carriers of the gene and the condition need to focus on such things as long checklists, timetables, online travel forums and spreadsheets; tools that will help them plan the trip down to the nearest tenth of a second. Readers with the TIO gene should immediately move on to other stories in this magazine.

Those fortunate enough to be born without TIO should try to understand that TIO carriers cannot help themselves. Persons with the gene are strongly advised not to travel with persons without it, and vice versa. Of course, marriage between TIO carriers and non-carriers is the stuff of slapstick movies.

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