I’m In… Get Me Out Of Here?!

In which I ask fellow travel bloggers about whether their expectations of a new place were met get me out of here

We all have certain expectations of things in life and this is no different to when travelling somewhere new. There may be people who idolise being on a beautiful beach on Thailand and end up being disappointed, or people who may think that the UK is a dreary place to go and love it.

I felt like this when I visited Prague a few years back. I had great expectations for it as many people rave about it’s beauty and architecture and I heard there was also a castle. I arrived on a train from Salzburg in the dead of a winter’s night which was fine. The next morning however, I was not as enthused as many people before me had been. They may have a “castle” but it’s not really a castle, and everything around the city seemed really dreary. Yes, it was the middle of winter, and yes, I normally love winter travel, but Prague, to me just wasn’t worth the hype.

This got me thinking though, have other travel bloggers had similar experiences? Have they been somewhere expecting it to be great, or vice versa?

I asked a few and here’s what they had to say:
 

Bex of Leaving Cairo

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“Skyscrapers, junks in the harbour…these were just two of the things I expected when coming to Hong Kong.  I arrived by ship and had the added benefit of sailing in at dawn, it was spectacular.”

Catching the Star Ferry to my accommodation, I remember being awed at the sight of the tall buildings—no, I wasn’t disappointed there.  Unfortunately, the initial euphoria wore off and I struggled with Hong Kong.  I found it too chaotic and noisy…and I missed the old buildings I was used to seeing around Europe: the European architecture.
For a short stop over I would recommend it:  fabulous views over the harbour from Victoria Peak, the Stanley Market, the food and if you are keen on shopping, then Hong Kong is for you.

Hong Kong harbour

Marysia of My Travel Affairs

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I had big expectations about this trip! My first time in West Africa, my first safari…

Who knew I would fall in love with this country even before I had left the airport! My yellow fever vaccine had expired and I was in trouble because I could’t enter the country without it. I had been taken to the doctor’s office and after few minutes of chitchat the nice doctor gave me the required injection. I then paid with a chocolate bar.

Yes, a chocolate bar. The doctor though I had no money and accepted the chocolate.

Baggage was next. Bags were falling off the luggage belt creating huge piles, people were pushing each other and it took forever.Finally getting my little red bag, I approached the exit and there were special people double-checking that I was leaving with my own bag; I was surprised and excited about such efficiency after the luggage belt mess!

I walked outside, it was warm summer evening, 26+ at 10pm and… and people in the winter jackets all around me. I smiled, I had a great feeling that I would have an amazing time in Benin! Benin

Jenna of Wander The Map

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I remember landing in Iceland for the first time and peering out the plane window at the rocky, moonlike landscape.  Upon entering the airport we were met with a sleek and modern design, which was quite the contrast from the desolate landscape outside.

Excited to begin exploring the wondrous land I had read so much about, we found our new friend, Inga, (thanks Twitter) who was waiting for us at the airport. Our first morning was spent driving around the Reykjanes Peninsula past one landscape more bewildering than the next, from lava fields to active geothermal land. Soon we were soaking in the relaxing Blue Lagoon in amazement.

The rest of the week was spent finding waterfalls, climbing glaciers, snorkeling, road trips and so much more. We came to love this tiny country in the north–something about it just pulls at your heart strings and makes you want more. Iceland

Diana of D Travels Round

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Everyone had warned me about Madrid. The purse-slashers, the pick-pockets, the general “meh” of the city. I had booked a ticket to Spain’s capital early on in my pre-travel planning because I was going to teach English and the starting point was Madrid. As soon as I announced that, the comments began, everyone putting me off the city.

So, when I arrived and stepped off the airplane, I wasn’t excited in the least. Then, when I purchased my Metro ticket at the counter and got to use my little bit of Spanish, something happened: I got excited. And, when I stepped off the Metro and exited at Atocha, and saw the gorgeous buildings flooded with lights under the night sky, I became mesmerized.

At my hostel, I stood on the balcony, looking at the crowds in the plaza below enjoying late-night tapas and wine and breathed in the air, smiling. The fear of the bag slashers, pick pockets and general disdain for the city did not penetrate my heart and in that moment, I fell utterly in love with Madrid. Madrid

Dani of Going Nomadic

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I stepped off the plane in Zagreb, Croatia (my first time out of the country ever) and onto the bus from the airport to the city. When I walked on the bus there was this little old Swedish couple who I heard talking to each other in English. So I asked, “This is the bus to town?”

The woman tittered and said to her husband, “Her accent is SO CUTE!”

It suddenly dawned on me that:
1. I’m the one with the accent now.
2. I’m the foreigner. Dani - Zagreb

Jacqui of Roaming Cooking

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My impression of Dubai started in the departure lounge in my home town in Australia. That’s where I saw women dressed in the long, flowing, black gown, showing only their eyes, holding hands with their partners dressed in shorts and a t-shirt.  To be honest, it felt a bit weird.  Moving through the customs on arrival, now that was a sight to be seen! A long line of UAE males, all dressed in their long white cloaks.  I felt that I was in some Arabian fable that had come to life.

Dubai…so hard to explain.  I had never been a country where I felt so confronted, intrigued, impressed all at the same time! I will never forget the sight of seeing a women dressed in her full black costume including black socks, walking in the sand along the beach holding hands with her male partner wearing shorts and barefooted, being able to feel the water lapping up against his bare skin.  I was impressed by what the city had been able to achieve building-wise in only 5 years – I was intrigued by the contrast in the desert surroundings, against the luxurious cars on the road, and opulent shopping centres. Visiting a public bathroom in a shopping centre was like visiting a bathroom in a 5 star hotel! Yep, Dubai certainly exceeded my expectations. Dubai clothing

Alison of Alison Chino

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The first time I stepped off a plane into a country outside of my own was in the Philippines at the age of fourteen. I had never been anywhere outside of the US and my senses were immediately bombarded with a kind of chaos that no one could have ever prepared me for. People were shouting and shoving, begging me to buy things and horns were blaring as all the cars (jeepneys with people hanging off of them) crammed into the road outside the airport. The thick tropical heat added to my feelings of sheer panic in the madness. But then, my aunt’s face in the crowd miraculously appeared and she guided us to the car that would take us to her home in Manilla, where we stayed with her and my uncle and cousins for six weeks and learned to love the squeaky little horns of the jeepneys. Alison Chino Web Page Headshot Square

So what about you? Have you ever been somewhere and it’s been different to your expectations? Leave your experiences below

Thank you to all the bloggers who participated in this collaborative post!
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Author: Bennett

2 years as an expat in China and now doing the same in New Zealand, Bennett sure likes to experience "slow travel!"

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13 Comments

  1. What a great idea for the post, Sarah. There are so many expectations when we travel :). My first and second visit in Prague was amazing. I was expecting to get bored, but I loved the castle (which is not a castle lol) and Charles bridge.

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    • I mean it was ok, but it wasn’t as great as I’d expected it to be! It’s really fantastic to see everyone’s different opinions 🙂

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  2. Thanks for the chance to participate Sarah. I have to admit: I loved Prague when I was there too, especially the Charles Bridge in early morning.

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    • Everybody gets on my back about Prague, haha! But then again I’d still love to go to HK, but I’m sure I’d feel the same as you. Thanks for participating, Bex!

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  3. To me, Lisbon was very disappointing.
    i’d heard so many great things about that city and when we got their at the end of our summer road trip through Portugal, I couldn’t help but think I wanted to get out again.
    I realyl didn’t feel that city. I know a lot of people will disagree, but I found it way too touristy and thought it had a lot less to offer than some other palces we’ve visited in Portugal.

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    • Thanks for sharing your experiences Sofie! It’s all down to personal preference, isn’t it?

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      • Just thought I’d let you know: you’re reply is showing as black text on dark blue blackground and I can’t really read it:/

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          • Much more readable!:)

  4. I wasn’t sure what to expect from India, because all I ever heard from travelers who’d been there was, “You either love it or you hate it.” I desperately hoped I fall into the former category, but for the first four weeks of my trip, I was on the verge of hating it. It was overwhelming, the people overbearing, the travel not easy. But after that first trying month, something switched and I fell completely in love. I think I just finally began to understand the culture for the first time, and suddenly it all made perfect sense. Now, I dream of returning!

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    • I’m so glad to hear the slightly negative beginning turned into a positive experience, Jessica! Hope you get back to India again soon 🙂

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  5. It’s so true that you never know what a place will be like until you get there. But I find that at least with all the places I’ve been, if you stay long enough, it’s a place you can learn to love.

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    • Thanks for commenting Sally – yes, we do all have different perceptions of what a place will be like when we get there and different lengths of tiem in a place help determine that too!

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