Unpopular Opinions: Travel Edition

I was scrolling through Twitter the other day and saw a thread saying “unpopular opinions: travel edition” and I started to scroll through. They were SO RELATABLE and SO TRUE!! Sometimes when you’re traveling people say or do things that really make you hit your hand against your head thinking “WHY?”.

I’ve had my fair share of this, so I’m going to use that Twitter thread as inspiration for this next post.

I’ll mostly be pulling these “unpopular opinions” from Twitter. However, I also put up some instagram polls for people to interact and comment on and I will also feature a few of my own. I think all the points I’ve included are great and so relevant, and I’ll expand upon why under each one!

Here are some of the best responses on the twitter thread:

Group Travel:

From experience this is especially true. Traveling in huge groups can be hard because you never get those moments alone that a lot of us need during our regular days. I wouldn’t say I want to “go home” when I travel with groups, but a lot of times when the trip is over, I’m ready for it to be over. The bigger the group, the more exhausting and harder to coordinate plans and desires.

Pictures and Social Media:

THIS. Going somewhere just to take pictures or making your friends take pictures of you the whole time ruins not only their trip BUT yours too! You’re too focused on getting cute instagram pictures that you’re missing the sights right in front of you. We’re all guilty of this one time or another, but let’s try to challenge ourselves to limit our pictures to 1-3 per destination, and not to be upset if they don’t turn out as “instagram worthy” as you hoped.

Friends and Travel Companions:

YUP. Don’t commit to a trip with someone if you don’t know their personalities, previous travel experience, and overall hopes and desires for your trip. The trip will be bad for both of you if you have different ideal schedules, goals, and intentions for the trip!

Dangerous Travel:

When I studied abroad, I traveled to Marrakech and Brussels, two places that are dangerous for different reasons. However, I was fine and I actually felt very safe. It’s all about the situations you put yourself in and your travel smarts. In Morocco, I traveled with a huge tour group that had experienced guides. If you travel alone there, you may have a problem. So, be cautious of where you’re traveling and the setting you’re traveling in (alone, friends, tour group). It will make you feel and actually be safe during your trip. Don’t go to sketchy areas and be sure to stay in the designated tourist areas if the place you are visiting doesn’t have the best safety reputation (especially at night). Don’t be stupid! Learn what may be offensive and/or illegal in the city or country you’re visiting to keep yourself from standing out as a tourist!

Learning and Cultural Experience:

As a wanna-be historian I love this! What’s the sense in going to a different country or city if you don’t learn anything! Part of travel is learning and experiencing other cultures, so make an effort. I personally make sure to go on some type of history tour, or at least read the signs and google the meaning and history behind certain places. A great way to do this is to do a free walking tour. Most major European (and some US) cities have these and they’re amazing! My favorite is the Sandeman Free Tours!

Pre-Trip Planning:

I completely agree with this. You waste SO MUCH of your day if you don’t plan ahead, and you’ll usually look back and regret it if you don’t. You miss so many sights and you’re probably going to spend way more money if you don’t plan. Buying tickets to attractions beforehand can save you money AND let you skip looooong lines. You’re going to miss a ton of great attractions and restaurants if you don’t do some research on TripAdvisor or a travel blog like mine. You owe it to yourself to make the greatest experience possible. Along with this, hostels are so affordable and most are great environments for people in their 20s-30s, especially if you’re a solo traveler. At one hostel I went to, a group of college students came up and asked if we wanted to go to the bars with them, without even knowing us. It’s a very inclusive environment and a great way to meet people from all over the world.

Budgeting and being financially equal:

I have experienced this in the past and it STINKS!! As someone who has worked hard and saved a ton of money, I am fine with having a very flexible budget while traveling. I know I’ll probably never get the same opportunities for these experiences again (ex: spending crazy money to skydive over THE SWISS ALPS!!). Traveling with someone constantly worried about money WILL 100% make you miss out on attractions and experiences, so keep that in mind when you’re planning the next trip. They’ll be dictating what you do, and what you do won’t be a lot.

Responses From Instagram & Other Social Media:

  1. Your plans will not go as planned
  2. The most touristy places always have the worst food
  3. Not knowing a country’s language is difficult
  4. Best friends don’t always make the best travel buddies
  5. You don’t have to travel every weekend when you’re studying abroad
  6. You don’t need to hit all of the popular/famous food places in that city or country
  7. You can relax for a little bit during your days- you don’t have to constantly be going going going!

Special thank you to Jackie, Tonino, Nicole, and Dana for contributing

My Own Unpopular Opinions:

  1. If you want American food when you’re traveling, eat it!!
Got myself a FAT burger in Brussels

This is especially true if you’ve been traveling for a long time or get homesick often. I think it’s completely okay to eat an American burger or get Subway if you really want it. Food makes you feel closer to home and if you’re missing the US then this might be a perfect fix! Also, in some countries like Italy where the majority of restaurants are Italian, everyone needs a break from that once in a while.

2. Organized Beer Tours / Pub Crawls are the best way to meet people from different countries

Doing a beer tour, especially in a different country that is known to love beer (Belgium, Germany, Ireland) will be amazing. It’s usually a local leading the tour and they take you to local places you probably wouldn’t have visited. You may find yourself awkwardly sitting next to someone you don’t know, so talk to them! As you drink more, it becomes easier and by the end of the night you’ll feel like you know their life stories!

3. Pay the extra money to do once-in-a-lifetime activities

Spent $120 to kayak on a crystal clear lake in Interlaken, Switzerland

Paying the extra $5 or who knows, $600 may be SO worth it. Never let a fee to go into a museum, monument, or church stop you. Believe me, they’re usually very worth it. If you have a flexible budget and can afford some wiggle room, get yourself a meaningful souvenir that you’ll use and remember. For me, I like to get preferably hand-made jewelry from the place I visit. Necklaces and earrings are great because I can wear them and know that someone from that country put their own original touch on them! Some of my more wild purchases have been a rug from Marrakech, Morocco that I shipped home (yikes! very risky. not sure if I would do that again), Skydiving, Kayaking, hand-made earrings, necklaces, ornaments etc.

Overall, traveling is great, especially if you’re with great company. However, traveling can turn into a not-so-great experience if you’re traveling with the wrong person, don’t plan out your trip, or are just “traveling for the insta”. I hope these unpopular opinions sparked some thought, and you’ll consider them when you’re planning your next big trip!

If you got to the end, thank you for reading! Feel free to share this post on all social media platforms!

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