There are certain questions that I am always asked about that deal with some pretty common and well known travel stereotypes and presumptions. Particularly (and my all time favorite) all travelers are fearless.
So, I thought it would be fun to compile a list of the 5 biggest stereotypes I come across and set the record straight once and for all 😉 Hopefully this post will inspire someone once discouraged by the idea of traveling the world, to get up, get out and go for it!
1. Traveling is Very Expensive
Probably the most common travel related excuse and stereotype. Granted, traveling for free is near impossible, but traveling at a reasonable price is very much attainable. Your next out-of-the-country experience does not have to cost you an arm and a leg.
First things first, you have to prioritize wisely when you travel.
Saving for a trip requires some determination and discipline. I’ve often heard friends complain about how they don’t have enough money to go an international trip, yet I see pictures of new tattoos, bottle service nights at clubs, multiple Vegas trips and new outfits all over their Instagram (not hating on these activities, however, skipping out on them for a few months will drastically increase your bank account). My personal opinion- a trip abroad is worth delaying any current indulgences. While you’re young, take advantage of the minimal responsibility you have. Traveling is going to be a LOT harder with a baby in your hand and a mortgage to pay ;).
The airfare is usually what trips up most people. You can find some pretty good tips on buying cheap flights on my post titled, Tips on Finding Cheap Airfare for more details.
Another excuse I often hear is, “I can’t manage to get the time off work.” Americans are wonderful at being workaholics and putting their job before anything and everything else. Their career becomes their identity, and often times, their validation. I used to be the this way, so trust me when I say… I get it. Don’t let a job hold you captive (esp. if your a fresh college graduate) and keep you from traveling. Honestly, there will always be another work opportunity out there. There’s more to life than your job and there’s immense beauty in exploring the actual person you are; acknowledging personality characteristics and strengths that go beyond the workplace.
2. Most Travelers are Party Animals
I feel like whenever I tell someone I’m going on a trip, most people automatically assume I’m heading out to party and drink like crazy in whichever country I’m visiting. Understandably so, other countries are generally more lax in their drinking laws and their nightlife lasts for far more hours than the typical American night out. And while I have had the pleasure of visiting some fun street parties in Brazil and Portugal that lasted until the wee hours of the night/morning, not all my trips have been filled with crazy/ drunken shenanigans. Quite the opposite, in fact. I find that I am far more interested in sight seeing and exploring a new city without an unnecessary and painful hangover the next day. I’d rather seize my, often minimal, time abroad and do as much as I can throughout the day, even if it means skipping out on the hostel bar crawl the night before. Or if I do go out one night, I don’t always feel the need to drink. In fact, If you’re a girl traveling alone or even with a group of girls by yourselves in a foreign country, I would deff. advise you to be careful when partying. A lot of men like to take advantage of travelers and it can be very dangerous not being in a totally sober state . I’m not trying to say all foreigners are predators lol, but you do have to generally be careful and smart choices when you are out at night.
3. Travelers are Fearless
If you knew me before I started traveling you would know that this is most deffinetly not true..hah! I was so not the fearless type when I was younger. In fact, I preferred the comfort ability of my hometown than the feeling of spontaneity and vulnerability traveling would inflict on me. I just wasn’t that interested in seeing or experiencing new places and people. Mostly because I was scared. It’s tough to leave your safe place for weeks or even months on end. To dive into a new city without knowing anyone, recognizing the language or even understanding the currency. I also wasn’t much of an adrenaline junkie. I saw no need in partaking in risky or adventurous activities when I was already so content with my life and what I had accomplished and done. But that was the problem right there, I was “content”. Not ecstatic, overjoyed, juiced, pumped or even necessarily LOVING life… I was just content with life.
But I realized content wasn’t exactly the adjective I wanted to use to describe the life I was living. I had to make a choice. Accept the complacency I received living in a cycle of routine, or take a risk and journey off to another country, despite my innate fearful tendancy. Judging by the existance of this blog, I’m sure you can guess which path I took ;).
Often times the individuals who end up being travel enthusiasts are not intuitive risk takers, dare devils, or outgoing extroverts with a need for adventure. A travel enthusiast can be anyone who has the courage to book a flight, pack a bag and go, despite how hesitant or adamant he/she may initially be.
4. Traveling is Glamorous
Ahh having a travel blog is tricky. Most people will look at your exotic pictures and think, “WOW, what a cool life. Always taking off and exploring the unknown. How exhilarating it must be.” While, yes, I am head over heels in love with travel and all the breathtaking and thrilling experiences God has blessed my life with, it has not necessarily been filled with fabulous moments 24/7. In fact, if I am being pretty honest, travel for me has been the opposite of glamorous. By doing things like staying in hostels and sharing a room with up to 11 unknown strangers, taking ice cold showers, having no AC in 100 degree weather (at night), spending the night on a train, having weird animals sneak into your room and wearing the same outfit multiple days, I’ve realized that travel isn’t necessarily for the high-maintenanced folk. It can be pretty downright grimy.
It would be a mistake for anyone to believe that traveling is an 100% glamorous experience. But even through those grungy moments mentioned above, I’ve really learned to be humble . I’ve realized that it doesn’t take much to live a happy life. You really don’t need all those clothes in your closet, the hair products, the makeup, AC in your house or car, or even a TV or computer to be entertained. Those things are nice, of course, but they are lavish items that aren’t vital to your happiness. And knowing this simple fact will bring a lot more joy and substance into your life.
5. You fall in love with every city you visit
When I first started traveling, I left with the false notion of believing that I had to love every city I visited. If I was lucky enough to explore a new country, I better appreciate my time there. But appreciation for a new place does not always mean loving or even remotely liking that particular place. And that’s ok. You will probably, at least multiple times in your life, go to or be stuck in a city that you really just dislike. From the people to the food to the overall environment, some places are just not your cup of tea and you want to leave as soon as possible lol. But even these experiences can be blessings in disguise. There’s nothing like sleeping in a place of total discomfort to allow you to appreciate what you have waiting for you back in the States.