How NOT to Decide Where You Want to Travel; or Why I’ve Never Been to Paris

This article was originally published on Twenty-Something Travel

Awhile back I wrote there is no bad reason to want to go somewhere. I stick by that assertion; everywhere is worth seeing to the right person. However, over time I’ve encountered reasons that don’t make sense for me personally. While other people may see these spots out, I tend to avoid them. Here are some reasons that I personally don’t find compelling enough to visit a place:

It’s a party hot spot– The IT spot varies from year to year, but it is usually characterized by throbbing nightclubs, huge crowds and high prices (see: Ibiza, Cancun). There are people who love visiting these nightlife hot spots because of the cache and party atmosphere. I am not one of those people. Call me old but crowds and jacked up prices make me cranky.

Everyone says “you must go there”– “You can’t go to Europe without visiting Paris/Amsterdam/whatever.” Actually, you can. I’ve been to Europe three times and I’ve yet to make it to Paris. I like crepes as much as the next girl but I just haven’t had a strong desire to go. It’s expensive, the people are unpleasant and the Eurostar from London was too damn expensive to warrant a trip. I’ll probably make it there eventually but I won’t be bullied into visiting just because everyone else has.

It will give you street cred– There’s this competition that rises up between travelers at hostels to see who is the most hardcore. People are always trying to one up each other “You went to Russia? Well I went to Chernobyl!” Good for you but I’m not playing. Going somewhere just to brag you’ve been doesn’t make you more interesting, it makes you less tolerable (although Chernobyl does sound pretty intriguing).

Now don’t get me wrong, there are reasons that these places become popular and they usually are meritous. I will go to Paris someday, I have no doubt. Maybe you disagree; you are a nightclub enthusiast but ancient ruins bore you to tears. That’s fine. My point is that you should never feel like you HAVE to visit somewhere due to other people’s opinions. There’s no Best Traveler contest and you won’t be proving anything. The only places you have to visit are the ones you actually desire to see.

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