1. It will be easy.
I’m putting this one here because I was the one who thought it. In 2011/12 when I started planning for my first big trip, I never considered that it might be “difficult.” Not the planning, that part was easy, but that actual trip. For many reasons, I was very wrong. I have to admit, part of the difficulty was because of the kind of person I am, plus it was my first time out on my own, so some problems arose as soon as I landed in Amsterdam. I didn’t speak the language, so I didn’t understand the announcements at the airport, and I couldn’t read any signs or schedules. Since I’m on the shy side, I found it really difficult to convince myself it would be ok to walk up to a stranger and ask for help. See where I’m going with this? Language barriers, culture shock, getting lost, loneliness, and anxiety; all these factors keep a journey from being “easy.” There are so many fears and obstacles that make traveling more difficult than you might guess. Don’t let this hold you back, though!
2. Everything will be Instagram perfect.
There is a word that is frequently seen on social media these days, especially Instagram, and that is curated. People create “themes” for their account and choose very particular photos with specific content that have been edited a particular way. In the end, the account ends up looking like a well-designed online gallery. With that in mind, you can now browse your social accounts with new eyes and remember that your experience in Madrid, Los Angeles, or Tokyo may not be like that. Don’t let that disappoint you; you can create your own dream vacation!
Just remember that what we are seeing is a specific highlight reel of curated photos that are likely sponsored content. What we see is not what we will get.
3. You have to be rich to make it happen, and it’s always super expensive.
I think about this one frequently because Ryan is always quick to tell me who must be rich or spoiled whenever he is looking over my shoulder at Instagram or YouTube. But the thing is you don’t need to be either of those things to have an amazing trip to somewhere new.
Some of the best ways to make it happen for less are:
- Staying in a hostel instead of a hotel;
- Booking your travel based on seat sales;
- Allow the sales to help you choose a destination;
- Buy your food from grocery stores instead of eating at restaurants for three meals a day;
- Go with the cheaper mode of transportation (walk or take public transit instead of renting a car, take a train instead of flying, take a bus instead of a train, etc.)
- Travel to somewhere that your currency is strong
- Go outside of peak season
Choosing to use some or all of these tips can make for a much cheaper trip. Adjusting your expectations, choosing places you know you can afford, and being open-minded can help stretch your dollar further and therefore stretch your travels farther.
4. It should be done at a certain point in life.
The world likes to tell us that travel, especially long-term travel, should only be done at two points in our lives. First, and most obviously, after graduating high school. Some call this a “gap year,” and others use different names. Regardless, the concept is the same. Either directly after high school, or maybe a few years into college when you no longer feel inspired or you’re getting bored or just don’t know what to do, this is the time to go. You should be young, energetic, and have minimal financial and personal obligations. If you miss this opportunity then you may not try again until retirement, which is option 2. You have lived your life, raised your kids, survived working 35 to 50 years, and now you may go travel again if you are healthy, fit, and financially able. If that doesn’t work for you — too bad, you missed out.
Wrong, wrong, wrong! Traveling should be done by anyone who wants to and at any time that works for you. 37 years old, have a job you hate, and a decent savings account? Take a trip. You’re 24, no direction, and only just enough money for the journey? Do it anyway.
The point is that you can and should go places anytime that it works for you.
5. Travel and vacation are two different things.
I read an article recently that claimed travel and vacation were two different things. By definition, to travel means to go from one place to another, as by car, train, plane, or ship; take a trip or journey. Vacation, on the other hand, is a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel. It could also be a recess or holiday.
They are technically different things, as per the dictionary. One refers to the action and the other is a state of being. That is not what is meant when people refer to their differences though. Travel is typically said when the person means to describe the long-term, whereas vacation usually implies a short time away. They are described differently.
When you are traveling, I feel that you should expect it to change your life — at least a little. You will learn new things about yourself and the world, and you won’t fit in when you return home. It is long-term and long distance. Those are some of the most common things I hear about travel that are not associated with vacation. Oh, also, you should probably be using a backpack, not a suitcase.
Vacation involves eating, drinking too much, and working on your tan at the pool or beach. Or maybe it’s visiting Disneyland, camping, short non-meaningful trips, and things of that nature. You will learn nothing new, you are probably more willing to splurge financially, and you will be back at work or school before you know it.
As far as I’m concerned, we can and should all be traveling (if financially feasible), taking vacations, and going on journeys, adventures, and explorations without feeling any pressure that it should look a certain way.
Dani is a 26-year-old Canadian blogger at Out Of The Nest Travel.
Image via Unsplash