I used to think that traveling was all rainbows and unicorns. After reading articles and browsing through the blogs and social media feeds of my jetsetter friends and celebrities, I expected traveling to be all about seeing the beauty of different places around the world, opening my eyes to new experiences, and finding myself.
That’s why I always wanted the job I have now. But now that I’ve had my fair share of travels, I’ve realized that those well-curated feeds and articles didn’t warn me about the less glamorous side of traveling.
Here are a few harsh truths I’ve learned along the way:
1. It costs a lot of money to do everything travel book guides and websites tell you to do.
While most budget travelers might disagree, I’ve learned from experience that you’ll end up using a big chunk of your savings when you want to make the most out of a trip. You’ll need money for transportation, entrance fees, tours, taxes, food, and accommodations. Even if you budget everything beforehand, it still comes out expensive, especially when you convert your pesos to the local currency.
2. It can be dangerous.
Whether you’re traveling alone, as a couple, as a family, or even as a group, traveling can be dangerous if you don’t stay alert. Incidents can happen even in safe countries like Japan where they say no one steals or in Singapore where there is zero crime rate.
No matter where you are in the world, walking alone at night is not ideal because you can get robbed or scammed by other tourists or locals. I’m not saying you should be paranoid the whole time; just try to be mindful of your belongings and avoid roaming around on your own.
Believe it or not, there are still people around the world who think that Filipinos live in tree houses and hunt to eat. I had an encounter with a taxi driver in Hong Kong who couldn’t believe I was Filipino because I had money to travel and I dressed well.
On another trip, I was being served by an Indian waiter in London and when he found out I was a Filipino, he couldn’t believe it. He asked me, “Aren’t Filipinos poor?” then treated me differently the rest of the night. The service was so bad and my order came out late.
When I shop in luxury stores anywhere in the world, I notice that the sales personnel don’t pay attention to customers who look ordinary or don’t look like they can afford to buy anything in the store. They treat them like they shouldn’t be there and make sure they feel it. This is probably the most annoying thing about traveling for me. I don’t like it when people get discriminated because of how they look, act, or spend.
4. The adjustment period is hard.
Your body clock gets messed up when you’re dealing with different time zones. Going back to your old routine after a trip can be hard. Your appetite shifts when you travel so weight gain is inevitable. Sometimes your personal relationships get affected too because it’s hard to stay in touch with people back home when you’re in transit.
5. Traveling is addicting.
When reality sinks in after a big trip, you’ll be itching to plan your next vacation ASAP. These harsh realities are not going to stop me from exploring the world. The airplane views, the stunning sunsets, the beautiful architecture, the amazing cuisine, and the people I meet along the way—all these things make it all worthwhile.
What have you learned from your travels? Share your stories by commenting here or tagging us on Instagram @iamclaireph.