It’s funny, isn’t it, how many ideas seemed great at the time? Whether it’s a relationship (your mama warned you about them, but you didn’t listen), a questionable hairstyle, an unfortunate tattoo or your choice of major, there are so many things we can come to bitterly regret later.
I mean, hindsight won’t help you when your parents bust out the home videos and there you are, sporting a goatee and a half-afro like Ross in the Friends flashback episodes. Your finest hour, that was not.
When it comes to travel, a similar sort of rule applies. When friends and family tell you of the exotic places they’ve been to, they sometimes tend to leave out the less savoury parts of the story. The dark side of travelling. The rampant mosquitos using their unmentionables as a chew toy. If a veteran cruiser is trying to sell you on the idea, it’s probably best not to tell you about that time the ocean had your stomach doing the Gangnam Style dance inside your body.
Besides, a lot of us, for a whole variety of reasons, prefer to experience travel vicariously. It can be a darn expense business, depending on where you’re going and what you’re doing, and that’s a real barrier of entry for most of us. Who are we, Kim Kardashian?
Needless to say, I’m a huge fan of travelling, and tongues are firmly in cheek here. With that said, though, just for fun, here’s a snarky rundown of 20 reasons you should never travel any further than the refrigerator and back.
20 We Have Jobs, You Know
I’m sure you’ve heard the super-wise old saying, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” As Most Powerful Life demonstrates, these words (and variations thereof) have been attributed to everyone from Confucius to Mark Twain, which just proves that nobody in heckola really knows what they’re talking about.
Job satisfaction is certainly a huge factor in our overall happiness, but let’s face it: for the vast majority of the average person’s week, our jobs are our lives. Aside from a few precious days each year, we can’t just abandon them to go sunning our back fat in the Bahamas.
19 I Wonder How Much One Of My Kidneys Will Fetch?
Tying in with that first point, we have the reason why our jobs consume so much of our lives in the first place. Namely, because we need money to function. Increasing amounts of it, too.
Have you noticed how expensive everything’s getting? Too darn expensive is how expensive. To explain this phenomenon, a super-wise scientist (by which I mean Wyclef Jean, obviously) once explained, “dollar, dollar bills, y’all.”
Now, of course, travel on a shoestring is completely possible and endlessly fulfilling, as we showed in 20 Cheap Ways We Can Travel Through Europe (And Save Hundreds). The sad fact is, though, the luxury travel some of us envisage is just beyond our means.
18 You Might Catch Something Exotic And Scary
Now, some of us prefer to keep our travel domestic. After all, our home countries, whichever they may be, offer an embarrassment of riches beyond those we see on an everyday basis.
On the other hand, when some of us travel, we really travel. Vacations can find us visiting the other side of the darn world. What does that mean? It means exposure to a whole range of exotic new viruses and bacteria, which your colon does not want to get on first name terms with.
The Center For Disease Control And Prevention have put together a handy-dandy guide to what’s breaking out where, and it’s enough to make anyone want to lock themselves in their homes for life.
17 All The Other Dangers Too
So, yes. Maybe you’ve worked like a beast of burden all year, and you’re not going to let a little thing like a polio outbreak stop your vacation. You’re a fearless rebel who cannot be tamed, you have no bedtime, you only call your ma eight times a day, and you are going to sun your cheeks on that beach.
Good for you, friend. However, health concerns are just the start of it. With the current state of things around the globe, you’ve got to be super wary of where and when you go. It doesn’t matter which shot you’ve had, it might be best to hold off.
16 What If They Don’t Allow Children?
So there you are. Footloose and fancy-free, with some actual money to your name. Where are you off to? Well, just about anywhere you fancy, really. The whole planet is a metaphorical oyster with your name on… or something.
Spare a thought for the families among us, though. Parents and guardians (who need dang vacations more than anybody, let’s be honest) have some strict limits on their options. For one thing, as Money Saving Expert reports, they sometimes face fines for taking children out of school during term times (and the holidays tend to be much more expensive, of course).
For another, a lot of hotels and resorts proudly advertise the fact that they’re adults-only. Which is helpful.
15 What If They *DO* Allow Children?
Then, of course, there’s the inverse of that problem. Maybe you’re one of those super-organised families that have everything all worked out (these people do exist, I’m told). You know where you’re going, you know your little darlings will be welcome, everything’s looking rosy for your vacation.
Sadly for you, your two-year-old is having mixed feelings about the air pressure and turbulence on the airplane, and has decided to express them by screaming throughout the whole six-hour flight to Iceland.
The funny thing about this situation is, your fellow passengers all give you, the parents, funny looks. What are they expecting you to say? Oh, sorry, I didn’t realise my child’s intense anguish was disturbing you. I’ll give them a Vulcan nerve pinch immediately.
And what if your child suffers from travel sickness on top of that? And wants to pack absolutely everything they own?
14 Been There, Done That
In the last several decades, travel has taken off in a big way. A huge way. The industry has advanced in leaps and bounds, and this wide world of ours is more connected than past generations could ever have imagined.
The upshot of all this, sadly, is that the magic of travel can be seen to have been diminished a bit. It’s become mainstream.
There you are, excitedly telling your in-laws about your recent trip to Europe. Do you know what they’re thinking the whole time? They’re thinking, oh, great, another look-at-me-I’m-holding-up-the-Leaning-Tower-of-Pisa selfie. Nobody has ever done that before, you fearless photographical innovator, you.
13 Tourists? More Like Targets
So, yes. World-renowned tourist destinations like the Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower, Chichen Itza and the pyramids are truly iconic, and very, very popular. It naturally follows that, where naïve tourists gather in droves, opportunistic thieves will always be prowling around.
As Rick Steves reports, visitors to certain pickpocketing hotspots will need to be darn careful with their valuables. It can be crushing to have something stolen, whether it’s of commercial or sentimental value. That’s one way to put you off of travelling for life. These people are pros, and some of the tactics they’ll employ will shock the best of us.
12 Don’t Drink The Water!
I still remember my first experience of travelling abroad as a child. The whole don’t-drink-the-water thing was completely alien to me, and holy heckola did it make the 12-year-old me paranoid. I felt like I was dang well playing Russian roulette just brushing my teeth in the morning.
I mean, sure, travelling allows you to experience some of the most stunning vistas the world has to offer, but always remember: if you so much as eat a piece of lettuce, you’ll be vomiting both for accuracy and distance for about a week afterwards. Travelling isn’t as glamorous as it’s cracked up to be, friends.
11 You Sure As Heckola CAN Feel The Movement
Speaking of glamorous, cruise ships just define swanky travel in my books. That’s what the whole experience is all about: great food, classy entertainment, stateroom, cocktail dresses and tuxedos… it’s all very lah-di-dah.
Back when I was a nervous first-time cruiser, I was told that you barely feel the movement of the ship, if at all. The fact is, though, you’re still floating out there on the darn ocean, and the ocean doesn’t care if you’re trying to eat a swanky meal. The food’s not so swanky once you’ve seen it in reverse, friends.
Still, this is going to depend on all sorts of factors, like the time of year and where exactly you are in the world.
10 Jet Lag. Just… Jet Lag
If you’ve ever taken a long-haul flight, you’ll know exactly where I’m going with this one. There’s no further description needed here. Jet lag is just the worst.
Airplanes are wondrous, impossible things. I know science has done its best to explain how these great metal behemoths fly, but my feeble brain will never be able to grasp the concept. It’s all confusing enough, even without the fact that you can fall asleep on a flight and wake up (depending on where you’re going) sometime yesterday.
There’s no wonder that we take a long time to adjust after such a trip. The awful, woozy sensation we call jet lag is a bad time all around.
9 The Airport: A Microcosm Of Human Chaos
I was plagued by travel sickness as a child. As such, my memories of vacations are very conflicted. While I loved being away, I hated actually getting there (and coming home again, naturally). To this day, airports make me every possible kind of uncomfortable.
Not only did I feel that sense of impending doom, but airports are just bizarre. They’re a place where every dang rule of society doesn’t apply. There’s a guy having a beer at 5:30am. There’s a woman having a pizza for breakfast. Anything goes.
It’s just chaotic, frustrating and deeply tedious. Like the hospital, nobody’s there because they want to be. It’s a means to an end.
8 It’s All Just Another Contest
The crucial thing about travelling is, you’ve got to be sure that you’re doing it for yourself, nobody else. In today’s super competitive, check-out-my-every-riveting-moment-of-my-life-on-social-media world, nobody seems to have gotten the memo about oversharing. From personal details to 18,000 vacation photos, it’s all here.
Vacations are your crucial break from the working year. They’re for you, first and foremost. If you’re going somewhere for bragging rights, or anything like that, you’re just plain doing it wrong. You should probably stay home.
It’s not about pictures you hope will collect a lot of likes, favourites, retweets, comments and little heart emojis.
7 It’s Just Stress-Amundo Up In Here
As I say, being on vacation can be sweet, sweet relief. Depending on what’s been going on in your life at the time, and how hard you’ve been working, it can be nothing short of essential. Here’s the rub, though: you’ve actually got to get to that point first.
All of the pre-vacation preparation is just a nightmare. World Travel Family has written an excellent piece on what they call ‘packing anxiety,’ and it rings so true for so many of us.
There’s always that moment, when you’re knee-deep in your shorts, your partner’s shirts (why on earth do you need two shirts for every day?) and a pair of sunglasses you just cannot find, that you consider calling the whole thing off.
6 Don’t Forget To Pack Your Summer Body
Tying right in with the whole stress thing is the concept of the summer body. Right around New Year's Eve or so, the motivational posts (or demotivational, as the case may be) start popping out of the woodwork, reminding us that it’s only so-and-so weeks until the summer.
Is your body beach-ready? That’s the question we’re always asked. We all have our insecurities and hangups, big and small, and this is an excellent way to bring them all out to play. Just what the heckola is a beach body? Do we have to bring it along with us, in our bags with our passports and other vacation essentials?
I should go easy on the fries, you say? A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips? Forget it, let’s just cancel the vacation.
5 Umm… Que?
If you’re a seasoned traveller, you’ve probably experienced that feeling at least once. You know the one. You went in overconfident, thinking that your high school French and a quick flip through a phrasebook would be enough. Suddenly, an actual real-life French person is all up in your grill, speaking actual real-life French at your actual not-French ears, and you regret every life decision you’ve made to date.
When you go to one of the busier tourist destinations, you’ll usually find that people are able to speak English. A least enough for you to get by. Off the beaten track, though, the opposite is often expected of you.
4 General Culture Shock
Following on from that last point, a lot of the more popular destinations are very reliant on tourism for their income. As such, yes, many will be very welcoming, friendly and willing to help a poor lost visitor.
Other times, though, you’ll experience some major culture shock. You’re here for new experiences, sure, but some of them will be a little newer than you had in mind. Remember how willing you were to try out some of the local cuisine, until you actually saw the local cuisine? It’s enough to send you scurrying over to the nearest McDonald’s (there’s always a McDonald’s).
3 You Just Can’t Get The Staff These Days
As we’ve seen over the course of this rundown, vacations aren’t all fun and games. You’d think that would be the case (it’s right there in the name, after all), but it’s not that easy. Far from it.
Everything that goes into the packing, arranging the flights, the trips and such… it’s super stressful. Even if you’re totally organised and have all of that under control (which you don’t, let’s not lie to ourselves), there are far too many outside factors to contend with. Delays, strikes, technical problems and all of these things strand families at airports for days at a time every year, and it’s crazy.
2 It Just Can’t Live Up To The Hype
Here’s another crucial factor. When you’ve planned a trip to one of your bucket list spots or attractions, it’s an incredible feeling. For instance, I’ve wanted to see the Colosseum in Rome for as long as I can remember, and finally did so this summer. The feeling of actually travelling there give me a buzz almost as exciting as standing in its presence.
It’s not always that way, though, unfortunately. People do have a way of ruining things, don’t they? Imagine finally making the trip to Giza, picturing a magnificent vista, and instead seeing a Pizza Hut and a Starbucks between the Sphinx’s paws. Sure, I’m being facetious with that, but it’s not far wrong.
1 Boring Old Life Gets In The Way
There we are, then. We’re all huge fans of travel here, and we’ve had a lot of fun taking a snarky look at some reasons why people aren’t so keen on the lifestyle. Some of these are completely legitimate, such as being unable to afford trips (we can help with that; as you’ve seen, we’ve got some excellent hints and tips on travel on a budget).
In most cases, though, the simple factor holding us back is responsibility. Work, children, the other elements associated with general adulting… As with most things in life, you’ve got to do your best to achieve that balance.
Resources: Most Powerful Life, CDC.gov, Money Saving Expert, Rick Steves, World Travel Family.