travel prejudices

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Oct 12th, 2018, 04:08 AM
  #1
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travel prejudices

I recently listened to Joanne Robertsonís marvellous programme on Food around Europe where she contrasted family life in Germany and Italy. The former seeming clinical, mechanical and organised whereas in Italy she describes the warmth of relationships, disorder and creativity and I caught myself thinking that I wasnít surprised. This betrays a prejudice, and I can reflect how, until recently, I hadnít visited Venice or Malta as I was held back by prejudice. I donít think I am on my own in having travel prejudice. I have been on this Forum for years and yet the same prospective itineraries are regurgitated by fellow travellers hell bent on avoiding the risk of visiting somewhere off the beaten track or rarely recommended and possible disappointment. Any views on this? What travel prejudices dare others mention I recently and has anyone took risks and paid a price or been pleasantly surprised?
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Oct 12th, 2018, 05:24 AM
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I don't think that for people who are not wealthy and can't travel to Europe for many weeks each year, that not wanting to visit places that are not recommended or not visited reflects a "prejudice". It's just why would they want to do that, people want the best value for their time and dollar. I wouldn't recommend that someone who had never been to the US spend their first trip in Buffalo and Newark, either, or in some one-horse town in the middle of nowhere.

I think your statement reflects an idea that perhaps you can't imagine that others have limited vacation time and money. Of course people want to see some of the famous historic cities and sites they've seen on TV, in movies, and read about in history, or studied a country's literature and art a long time. The words you use aren't neutral, it seems to me, for example, when you say people are "hellbent on avoiding risk", that sounds scornful to me. It seems that could easily be labelled practical and well-planned and researched (a trip that avoids lousy uninteresting places).

Even if you like smaller places that are not the big iconic cities, some people just can't afford to do that or take the time, for their first trip to a country, they get around to those things after some years of travel when they've seen the major reasons that they were drawn to a country.

But the statement you open with is true to some extent (Germans are organized, which is one of their strong points IMO), but also reflects value statements, not necessarily prejudice, but we are perhaps labelling the same thing in different ways. For example, I know some Germans well and I would not say their family life is "cold" or "mechanical", in fact, German families and friendships are a lot closer and warmer than many I see in the US, but they are perhaps not as effusive or loud or whatever as Italians. So I don't agree with how that author has expressed herself, but that's her opinion, I guess. I don't think historically the statement that Italians are "more creative" than Germans holds up, given the Germanic output in the arts and literature, and science/technology.
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Oct 12th, 2018, 06:31 AM
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Oct 12th, 2018, 06:56 AM
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Italians can be noisy though

I see people who will not visit a country where Muslims predominate for instance and we get these people on Fodors. I also see people who just want to go to the "top places" that everyone goes to. No idea why. I even see people who want a "drive holiday" when Europe is all about walking.

I do like the idea of assuming Italian families are all the same. Within Italy there are running jokes about how cold the people of Turin are and how Sicilian's have grandmas who stuff their grandchildren with food. It is probably worth assuming that people are people, and holidays are best when you join in the swing of wherever you are.
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Oct 12th, 2018, 07:15 AM
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>>itineraries are regurgitated by fellow travellers hell bent on avoiding the risk of visiting somewhere off the beaten track or rarely recommended and possible disappointment. Any views on this? <<

I don't see that has anything to do with prejudice - Most people pick places to visit because they've always wanted to see something, or because the ancestors came from there, or they have a favorite artist, or for a sporting event or festival . . . OR it is someplace they have actually heard of. Most people don't pick a holiday destination because they are prejudiced against someplace else. Americans for instance, most have about two weeks a year to go anywhere -- they usually won't often get off the beaten path until they have traveled several times. They barely have time for ON the beaten path.

I think you are being sorta tough on travelers.
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Oct 12th, 2018, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
I even see people who want a "drive holiday" when Europe is all about walking.
Sorry i quoted you, but this statement caught my eye :0)
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Oct 12th, 2018, 08:08 AM
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Christina's and JanisJ's responses really resonate with me. The person the OP refers to sounds like she is making the same generalizations many people would make and doesn't reflect much insight to me at all.

Travel is all about confronting prejudices and seeing first hand who people actually are rather than what you thought they might be like.

We had avoided visiting France, especially Paris because we had heard from so many how rude the people were -- a common prejudice. When we actually went there the first time many years ago, we found the people to be extremely courteous. Compared to the Berliners (we were living there at the time) they actually let people exit a train car before entering and held the door open for people behind them. We've visited many times since and still find mostly kind, helpful people... Although we may just be fortunate as that is the case wherever we have gone: we encounter mostly kind people -- some who have gone out of their way to be helpful to us.

Lol, Gardyloo!

Last edited by Trophywife007; Oct 12th, 2018 at 08:11 AM.
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Oct 12th, 2018, 08:16 AM
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My sister and I traveled to Europe together for seven years. For six of those years we traveled to a single country. After we'd been to France, England, Italy, and Spain, I suggested we go to Germany. She was reluctant to go there. She thought it would be "kitschy."

After we'd been in Germany for four or five days, she said, "I could live here." She never said that about any other country we visited.
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Oct 12th, 2018, 09:05 AM
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Generalizations about entire cultures by people who have never visited them are bound to be "prejudiced," I think.

And people don't have all the time in the world to travel, at least most of them, so why wouldn't they head for the well-known places they've heard and read about? It seems totally obvious to me why people do that, until they've got a decent number of trips in a certain place under their belt. Heck, I made at least 2-3 dozen trips to various regions of France outside the big cities before I "found" the Dordogne.

I now travel all over Europe (and am very lucky to be able to) to a LOT of places most people on travel boards will never lay eyes on or ever read about, but why should they? People have practical choices to make when it comes to travel - time, money, who's in their travel party, food choices, weather, etc. I'm not constrained by most of those things, (though I am very budget-conscious and do a ton of research), but most travelers are. I don't think that equates to prejudices in any way. There IS a risk in wasting the two weeks you've got to see Europe visiting Ussel and small towns in the CorrŤze, you know, if you care about your budget and the memories you'll come home with.
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Oct 12th, 2018, 09:11 AM
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Europeans visiting the US mostly go to the same old places, so why should Americans visiting Europe be any different.

Nothing wrong with a driving holiday in Europe, provided you are getting out of the vehicle and actually seeing places along the way. I have no intention of walking to southern Germany, Spain or Italy just because Europe is "all about walking"!

Germans are no colder or less creative than any other nationality when it comes to their family life. Unless you are part of a family you are not in a position to comment on the warmth or creativity within it.
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Oct 12th, 2018, 09:23 AM
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<Generalizations about entire cultures by people who have never visited them are bound to be "prejudiced," I think. >

That actually defines prejudice.
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Oct 12th, 2018, 09:48 AM
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Agree with janis 100% and others expressing her sentiments that first and perhaps only one-time travelers want to hit the biggies - just as OP no doubt did on her/his first trips. But I think if they have long enough using base cities like Paris and doing a day trip to some lesser visited city could be encouraged. But even in cities like Paris and London folks tend to stick to a very few main tourist venues - could encourage then like in London to just take Tube out to some place and see the real London that most folks live in and have lunch or whatever.
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Oct 12th, 2018, 10:29 AM
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If I am to be honest, I must admit to prejudice in choosing countries to visit.

Primarily, I avoid the U.K. I realize my bias is unreasonable and that the Brits can be welcoming and friendly. Nonetheless, when I think of places to spend my leisure time and disposable money, Great Britain comes in at the bottom of the list. Perhaps it is because of my experiences while having lived and worked there, but more importantly those inflicted by my British practice wife, have left me with psychic scars that cause me to wince when I think of spending time in those isles.

Unreasonable; of course. Quite real; absolutely.
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Oct 12th, 2018, 10:50 AM
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Lets please keep all of your stereo types to yourself.
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Oct 12th, 2018, 11:24 AM
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by fellow travellers hell bent on avoiding the risk of visiting somewhere off the beaten track

I've been on Fodor's since pre-registration. I don't see this happening. Seems a strange premise for a thread topic.
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Oct 12th, 2018, 12:20 PM
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I do not think people are "hell bent" on avoiding the risk of off the beaten path. I personally think it is more that with what limited time and money they have, they are more "hell bent" on seeing famous things and sights they have read about or have an intense interest in.

Our first time traveling, DH wanted to go to Paris and I wanted to spend time in the Louvre and see Versailles. We were not avoiding anything. We had five days and choose carefully.

Our first trip to Italy, we made sure to spend two days in Venice, and several in Florence and Rome, mostly for sculpture, architecture and paintings that I had studied in Art History. Again, not avoiding anything, just seeing the things that most interested us at the time.

We had no way of predicting that we would be lucky enough to return many times. We (sometimes accidentally) have added in a lot of out of the way areas on later trips. We enjoyed them, but there are still a few specific things/places I would like to see. My travel days are growing shorter. There are things I wanted to do that are no longer possible physically, so why would I not concentrate on those I can still do that are personally significant to me, and who cares if they are on a completely beaten path?

The temples of Agregento have been on my list of things to see since I was a teenager. We finally got to Sicily a few years ago. Overwhelmed by the amazing beauty, I stood in tears, forgetting that I was sourounded by other tourists until someone stopped to ask if I was OK. It did not matter that they were on a so called beaten path, that thousands had seen them before me. They were new to me.

Also, I do not think it is necessarily prejudice to choose one culture/country over another. It may be, but may also simply be preference, same as one person enjoys busy cities and another quiet countryside. Having lived a few years in Germany, then traveled a bit in many countries, I do not dislike any. I just have more fun in some places then in others, like the food more, etc.
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Oct 12th, 2018, 12:34 PM
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Who decides the Biggies? The point I was making about regurgitating the same itineraries is that the same old places seem to be repeated like a mantra. People seem to follow the same routes as others regardless of their merits. Perhaps, as pointed out, people have very little time and maybe that extends to finding time to question whether the commonly suggested routes are the best use of their time.
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Oct 12th, 2018, 01:03 PM
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Isn't prejudice simply the other side of preference? I cannot imagine a person who has no preferences whatever and therefore no prejudice.

My preferences for destinations have changed radically over the years for a variety of reasons so I've visited a huge variety of places. But it would never occur to me that I was expressing prejudice against those I haven't yet chosen.

As mentioned above, our vistas may simply widen with experience. Or don't widen in some cases but one might call that lack of imagination rather than prejudice. Or maybe having just found a happy place or 2. All are, I think, perfectly legitimate.
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Oct 12th, 2018, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Christina View Post
I don't think that for people who are not wealthy and can't travel to Europe for many weeks each year, that not wanting to visit places that are not recommended or not visited reflects a "prejudice". It's just why would they want to do that, people want the best value for their time and dollar. I wouldn't recommend that someone who had never been to the US spend their first trip in Buffalo and Newark, either, or in some one-horse town in the middle of nowhere.

I think your statement reflects an idea that perhaps you can't imagine that others have limited vacation time and money. Of course people want to see some of the famous historic cities and sites they've seen on TV, in movies, and read about in history, or studied a country's literature and art a long time. The words you use aren't neutral, it seems to me, for example, when you say people are "hellbent on avoiding risk", that sounds scornful to me. It seems that could easily be labelled practical and well-planned and researched (a trip that avoids lousy uninteresting places).

Even if you like smaller places that are not the big iconic cities, some people just can't afford to do that or take the time, for their first trip to a country, they get around to those things after some years of travel when they've seen the major reasons that they were drawn to a country.

But the statement you open with is true to some extent (Germans are organized, which is one of their strong points IMO), but also reflects value statements, not necessarily prejudice, but we are perhaps labelling the same thing in different ways. For example, I know some Germans well and I would not say their family life is "cold" or "mechanical", in fact, German families and friendships are a lot closer and warmer than many I see in the US, but they are perhaps not as effusive or loud or whatever as Italians. So I don't agree with how that author has expressed herself, but that's her opinion, I guess. I don't think historically the statement that Italians are "more creative" than Germans holds up, given the Germanic output in the arts and literature, and science/technology.
I agree with you for the most part. However, I have no idea what is meant by "in fact, German families and friendships are a lot closer and warmer than many I see in the US". What are you trying to say? Do you mean that ALL German families and friendships are A LOT closer and warmer than MANY you see in the US". Or that SOME German families and friendships are closer and warmer than MANY that you see in the US? It's one of those things that you read and you scratch your head and say "what are you talking about?" Are you trying to say that you think that generally German families and friendships are a lot closer and warmer than in the US?

It's like saying "Italians are a lot more intelligent than many people that I see in the US". Huh???
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Oct 12th, 2018, 01:34 PM
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People seem to follow the same routes as others regardless of their merits.

Or maybe they really want to go to Rome, Florence, and Venice. Maybe some people think those places have "merit".
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