The other day, my friend and I were talking about common travel misconceptions; a.k.a untrue thoughts about travel and its aspects. We chatted about our thoughts for a while so I’ll be including hers -and mine, of course- as part of this list.
Some of these I’ve always known to be misbeliefs, while the rest I’ve learned while traveling or planning for travel.
1.You have to leave your home country to TRAVEL. Not always; unless you live in a small island nation with 1000 people in two cities then yes, travel for you definitely means leaving your country. However, if you live in bigger countries that are relatively safe to move around in, you’ll be surprised at how much there is to see + how much you don’t know about your OWN home. So the next time your time or bank account won’t allow for a trip overseas, look a little bit closer to home. Travel is not a synonym for far.
2.You have to travel SOLO. This is what my friend – Mofi- stated as a travel misconception and I wholeheartedly agree. Everywhere you look there’s one article or another telling you how one of the things you NEED to do in your 20’s – yes always 20’s because apparently there’s no other age to live your life- is travel solo. My response is this; you only HAVE to do what you want to do, and not traveling solo will not hinder your travel experiences + having great company on trips is always welcome.
In Mofi’s words – One thing I loved about my most recent trip was that I traveled with people. We made amazing experiences that we share, but I was able to journal, reflect, spend so much time by myself, meet people, dance my butt off, let loose and be my best self.
3. If it’s not a trip to EUROPE or the AMERICAS, did you really travel? [*Ahem* Nigerians, this one is for you. 😄]. Yes, Yes you did. These continents are great to visit, with good reason; however, their popularity doesn’t crown them as the only places worthy of setting your feet on!
4. Some aspects of a new culture are different, therefore they are WRONG. I’ve talked about ethnocentric views here on the blog before. The worst thing you can do for yourself and the people you meet in another place is imposing YOUR notions of what is right and wrong. The world is a vast place, and the new places you visit are bound to be wildly different from what you are used to; the sooner you acknowledge that different does not equate to perverse, the more enriching your experiences will be.
5. Hostels are unclean and unsafe. Let’s be honest, most places humans dwell can be unsafe and/or unsanitary, but DO NOT shy away from hostels for these two reasons. That’s not to say these factors aren’t important – at least they are to me- but all hostels don’t have these characteristics. In fact, most don’t and they have become incredibly popular for travelers around the world. It’s hard not to see why as they’re often relatively cheap, with most of the amenities of a hotel.
This year alone, I’ve stayed in 4 hostels during my travels and while they weren’t luxurious, we had clean, safe rooms to sleep in for at most $19/ night. Some of them offered free [make your own] or affordable [$3] breakfasts and ALL of them had wi-fi. For safety, I think this depends more on the area they are located in.
Do your research so you’re aware of the safety situation in whatever country you’re visiting – The U.S Department of State is a great resource for this. If you’re not into sharing rooms for safety reasons or otherwise, most hostels have private rooms and also have safe boxes for you to store valuables.
6. And finally, the one you’ve probably seen A LOT: Travel is too expensive. Now, let me trim my audience to people who are privileged to travel. By this, I don’t mean that you have an abundance of money but that you have access [passport, flexibility, an income, etc.] to, or ability to choose to travel.
For those of you that think about traveling but are hindered by the idea that it’s expensive, come out of your mental jail. Yes, that dream trip to Greece is probably exorbitantly priced in the summer, but did you consider visiting at a different time of year? or changing the location altogether? For travel pricing to work for you, you need hard work, patience, flexibility, and *whispers* a little bit of fairy dust.
You can track local and international ticket prices by searching with GoogleFlights or subscribe to websites like Scott’s Cheap Flights to get emails when international ticket prices are favorable. I promise that you can always find a price that works for you if you’re willing to look + be patient and flexible.
Right! “That’s all folks!” I want to know what you all think are some common [or not so common] travel misconceptions. Share them with me in the comments section!
thank you for reading!
Photos shot by Elkie on iPhone 6S+
Same footprints, different sands