just stay home!!

Old Sep 8th, 2001, 06:01 PM
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I think Bill has asked a very interesting question. I think it is very relevent to this board.

Not everyone will like everything they encounter. We all have different tastes in foods, customs, etc. When I have traveled abroad, I have encountered foods I didn't care for (for example, still can't stomach poi!!) but overall I have fully enjoyed each of my destinations. But it is ok to not like everything.

However, I have met people ( and one time traveled with them!) that complain the entire time about everything. They should have stayed home. I think this happens because the many people are exited about the idea of travel without really understanding what it means. I have met many people who shell out a lot of money to go abroad and do very little research. Look at the number of people who come to this board and ask questions like "going to paris, what should I see..." when they should have read a book, checked out internet web sites, called tourist boards, talked to a travel agent, etc.
This behavior is similar to the girl who gets married not because she is really in love with her groom, but because the is in love with the idea of the big cake, the fancy dress, the ceremony, the celebration, etc. Of course, within a year, there is the divorce.

In defence of people who do research a trip, perhaps the travel industry and guide books could do a better job helping people decide if a particular destination would fit their expectations.
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 06:10 PM
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Ed, my brilliant friend, may I inquire after rights to the domestic franchise? After all, some people just want to stay home, period. Here I am living in New York City and ready, nay, eager to assist those poor souls who just can't bear the thought of spending time here. Any chance I can pick up per diems to do their proxy travel work for them right here in my hometown? Heck, I'd even ride the number 7 train from Times Square all the way to Shea Stadium on behalf of John Rocker if the price were right! Let me know if there's room in your organization for an eager go-getter like me, and thanks!
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 07:01 PM
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I spit at all of you and your anti-American sentiments. If we are paying good dollars to travel outside of our own country we have the right to expect proper service. The trouble with some countries is they give tourists crappy service and merchandise and then get annoyed if we complain. I won't stay home and when I leave home I expect good service!
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 10:21 PM
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Lisa - you're right to a point. We should expect decent service in hotels/restaurants, but other differences,ie old bldgs and lots of stairs, are just facts of life and if we don't like them we shouldnt visit such places.

Bill - I wonder why you were beset by so much complaining? Probably bc you were complaining as well. I find people dont usually unleash a torrent of objections unless provoked.

And Jessica - If any Euruopean told me to my face that they had no interest in visiting here, I would respond with a resounding THANK YOU and ask them to please pass the sentiment along to their fellow countrymen. Tourists suck, whereever they're from.
Old Sep 9th, 2001, 01:32 AM
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not only americans are like this. i know italians travelling to another country and find themselfe in troubles, because they think the whole world speaks italian and they can't find pasta like here. or swiss, travelling around and complaining that nothing is like at home, that the bunch of flowers should be decorated in another way or why coffee isn't like at home. i met germans in india, taking there own coffee (nescafé) and package soup with them because the indian food is soooo awful "ilse, haste jetzt die tütensuppe mitgenommen??". e allora! even i ask myself why you travel when you want to have things like home. i'm swiss living since a few years in firenze/italy, i'm selfemployee and do have a lot to do with tourists and then you learn to handle the complicated ones and to enjoy the interesting ones. you learn and you see, that not only your hand does have 5 different fingers.

tanti saluti e buon domenica!

Old Sep 9th, 2001, 01:42 AM
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I'm not saying that I enjoyed everything that I encountered or was comfortable in every situation. I don't consider myself better than anyone and am admittedly a novice traveler. It was also not my intenton to start a fight or invite personal attacks. I agree that most people who travel are interested in meeting new people and enjoying new places. That was the whole reason of our trip. I think what I wanted to say was, that in 2001, that we as travelers should at least expect that not every country is going to be like the US. and try to enjoy it. I found it a little ridiculous to expect that things would be identical, or to even want them to be. And if that's what someone is expecting out of another country then why travel at all?
Old Sep 9th, 2001, 04:48 AM
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I agree that it's not just Americans that complain while abroad. My sister-in-law is British and everytime she is here in the US, ALL she does is complain that everything in America is so inferior to everything in England (everything from the countryside to chocolate!). I think it is a personal trait that spans across all cultures.
Old Sep 9th, 2001, 04:53 AM
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It does seem to me that questions like yours, Bill, are rarely posted out of a genuine need for answer but are really another form of complaint and criticism. And they always make me wonder about who you think is going to read this thread.

Do you think the chronic complainers are the ones who will read this and mend their annoying ways? "Oh, dear, I had no idea! I'll certainly never do that again."

Or are you hoping to get a lot of responses that say, "wow, you are really right. I really agree with you. Wish I'd made such a good point. So glad I found you and all these other people who won't do that. Yay for us. Boo for them."?

Your title actually shows exactly where you are going with this. You want to travel without encountering this particular kind of person. Good luck. Even if you eliminated all non-Fodorite Americans, I guarantee you'd still find some Germans, some Brits, some French, etc. etc. etc. who find fault when they travel and are vocal about it.
Old Sep 9th, 2001, 05:02 AM
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I am amazed at everyone responses. Demanding better service because you are in Europe, and how Europeans have a better understanding of cultural differences-haven't really lived in Europe. I am an American living in Germany and have gotted "Boy, you don't dress like an American". comments because I am not wearing sweatshirts, shorts and tennis shoes.

But hearing how the Germans complain about the Dutch, French, Bavarians, etc. states that "everone complains about other cultures" and while demanding better service is what people want. Customer service is just not the same as in the States and you have to get used to it. After living here for awhile I am used to flagging down the waiter when I want to pay my bill, at the beginning I have a hard time with it, but now when I visit the US, I am starting to thinks its rude when they give me my bill before I am even finished with my food.

But after 10 days or even 3 weeks in any country it is hard to say that you know the culture, you may have a better understanding of it. But you should come back with a better understanding of yourself and appreciation for differences, and then to include some differences in your daily life. I for example appreciate the pace of life and that is why I travel.
Old Sep 9th, 2001, 05:30 AM
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Pickens, pretty stupid analogy about the wedding cake… I think a more realistic example would have been; the man who weds someone half his age to use as a show piece and does not realize that all realationships are a challenge, thinks he is marrying a child that will listen. Sorry I just have not met any women who get married for the cake and I have met the latter in droves.
Old Sep 9th, 2001, 05:40 AM
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Hi Michelle, …good on you for taking the plunge and living abroad. I know exactly what you are talking about although I find the "your not like other Americans" remarks extend into the way you think, what you have read, where you have been, it never stops. So silly. I think like an earlier poster wrote you really just don't know who the simple people are until they make one of these statements. I live in NYC and if I get into a cab and think someone is blue collar and uneducated because they are driving a cab I can really insult someone, not to mention look like a presumptuous idiot.

I did the living abroad thing also, don’t let the simpletons get you down. I know it can feel like a battle sometimes. Just remember how little of Germany is college educated. Beyond this just stay positive and you will have a wonderful time. There certainly are people out there that don't judge this way find em!!!!
Old Sep 9th, 2001, 05:51 AM
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Bill, "why travel at all", because travel breaks down these kind of expectations. Also I have to agree with other posters you did sound a bit pompous with the original question. You did not want personal attacks then don't malign Americans. You obviously travel in your own circles something I find sheltered in a traveler. And Bill come on, a post to complain about complaints? I think you focused on this to release some of your own anxiety in travel. Well Bill we all learn on these trips perhaps this was your lesson. ...Less judgment at home and abroad. I know you can feel alienated when you are in someone else's country this is no reason to turn on your own countrymen. Kind of shows a lack of Character but it is not something that you can't fix.
Old Sep 9th, 2001, 03:12 PM
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Michelle, good points!

And sorry Annoyed, didn’t mean to sound sexist, but I have female friends who got married at a young age and later realized that they had gotten caught up with the cultural expectations of getting married and the glamour and glitz of the trappings of the ceremony and they didn’t realize what marrige involved. The analogy about the older man/ younger woman is also good.

I don’t think Bill was “bashing” Americans. He was making a point about people who travel abroad for the wrong reasons. Is this only an American phenomenon? Absolutely not! Perhaps it is a middle class phenomenon. Travel abroad means you’ve “arrived”. Travel is seen as a status act. Then people are disappointed because the actual country does not live up to the travel brochures or their pre-conceived notions.

You don’t have to like everything about another country but I agree with Bill, before you shell out so much money and time to be totally disappointed, think about what you want out of travel. I know there are times when I am so stressed out from work, I want to get away from reality and relax in a totally grime free, crime free and stress free environment of a luxury resort. But usually, I am more interested the experience of another culture when I travel abroad and I have always had a good time in other countries. I am disappointed when it is too much like America!
Old Sep 9th, 2001, 03:41 PM
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Pickens -

A lot of people seem in this forum seem to have bought into this "travel means i have 'arrived' concept. I find this a bit odd on a board full of people who in the same breath mock U.S. travel and claim that they don't understand why more people don't go overseas "when it is so affordable" (which, in fact, it is.

Moreover, many people don't wait to travel abroad until they have "arrived" to impress others (and themselves). Some people actually go before that point in their lives, i.e. as students, as Peace Corps volunteers, etc with little or next to no money - and for reasons that have nothing to do with status. I did both of those things, and encountered far fewer whiney tourists than I do now staying in more luxurious hotels and eating in more upscale restaurants. Perhaps waiting until you've "arrived" isn't the best idea. People seem more apt to complain the longer they wait to go
Old Sep 9th, 2001, 03:57 PM
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the real question to be answered is why are you traveling. the honest answer to this question will define those with selfish or unreasonable motives. ie if you are traveling just to say oh i have been there what do you expect from such a person
Old Sep 10th, 2001, 07:09 AM
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The British are like this, too. Why do you think there are so many fish and chip shops in places like Tenerife? So many Brits traveling abroad refuse to eat the local cuisine, and spend their time bitching about everything.
Old Sep 14th, 2001, 04:36 PM
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Pickens - A trip to Europe means that one has "Arrived"? Gey over yourself silly!

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