The joy of travel is in the discovery. However, in these days of Tripadvisor, Instagram and Google maps, the magic of the unexpected has been diminished somewhat; we seem to want to find exactly what we are looking for, rather than simply bask in the newness of it all.
There is a certain kind of traveler that takes this concept to the extreme, and would probably be happier just staying at home. You'll find them in English pubs up and down the Spanish Costas, red as lobsters, tucking into egg and chips and complaining about the lack of Marmite or baked beans, or some other obscure product from the U.K.
Then there are the Instagram hordes who saw a heavily filtered picture of an iconic attraction and join a huge crowd of people with selfie sticks, jostling to get that exact same shot. Hardly the breathtaking and romantic experience you had in mind, was it? When reality fails to match expectations, based on the promise of home comforts or unrealistic Instagram images, people get disappointed and make ridiculous complaints.
These vacation complaints, made to real travel agents and tour companies and based on a Thomas Cook/ABTA survey, are so absurd that it's hard to believe that they are real. Spanish people speaking Spanish in Spain? The brochure didn't tell us it would be like that! Why is the sand yellow? I expected white sand!
I guess the lesson to take from all the disappoint and ridiculousness is this: Travel without expectations, and accept that the world doesn't exist simply to cater to your comforts and photography needs. Go with an open mind to discover, experience and learn!
Scroll down below to see the list for yourself, and tell your travel stories in the comments!
But are we getting more picky about our holidays? How are people's travel habits changing? Let's take a look at the ways that technology and modern life have affected the ways we choose to spend our time off.
We travel more frequently but for shorter durations: "The Office for National Statistics in the UK conducted a survey called the International Passenger Survey in 1996 and 2016 to uncover the biggest changes in the travel habits between the 1990s and now – that’s a 20-year study," Drifter Planet writes.
"The results show that Brits are now going on more holidays than before. In 2016 they went on more than 45 million holidays abroad, compared to only 27 million in 1996, an overall rise of 68%. But despite this, holidays are becoming shorter, proving to be one of the biggest changes we’ve seen over the years marking a huge decline of two week holidays. A week-long break is now much more popular than ever before and there’s been an increase in holidays lasting up to 10 nights."
With budget airlines making the citybreak a more affordable option, it's no surprise that people are exploring their own continent more, rather than save it all for one big summer trip. It keeps you fresh to get frequent little escapes from work and daily life, rather than waiting almost a whole year for the summer to come around again!
Active holidays are on the rise: As people are becoming more health conscious, so are wellness holidays becoming more popular. Instead of letting it all go with booze and food while away, people are seeking to recharge, repair, and have more of a fitness-oriented break. Things like Ayurveda, Yoga, reiki, body detox, spa and meditation holidays have all seen a huge spike in interest, while classics like hiking, camping and cycling are as popular as they ever were.
Conversely, the old 18-35, contiki tour classics are on the wane, which many people would see as a good thing. While there are still plenty of resort options if you want to get wasted, sunburned and laid, it doesn't quite seem to have the same appeal to the younger generation as it did for us oldies. Maybe kids these days are just more sensible, introverted, health and image conscious to get into wild drunken brawls on the streets of Benidorm or Ayia Napa.
Social media's effects: Back in the old days, you'd arrive at your destination with maybe a guide book, a map and some interesting new banknotes. These days, we've seen photos of everything, read all the restaurant reviews, know which attractions we want to photo ourselves, as well as the funky 'hidden' bars and hangouts. We all find these things in the same place: Google. 'Top 10 things you must see in Porto' leads tourists to the same few places in the city, all busy instagramming away and trying to keep the crowds out of their image.
If somewhere happens to be particularly popular on Instagram, it will be packed with people trying to get that 'money shot,' rather than simply enjoying the aura of the place. The tumbling, colorful buildings of Cinque Terre; the strikingly blue streets of Chefchaouen, the sun setting over the pyramids of Giza... we've all seen these iconic images in gorgeous photos, and we want to take those exact same photos. Perhaps it has always been that way, but Instagram has definitely 'influenced' the way we travel.