How do you go about choosing where to go next? Research shows that most people are influenced more by where their friends have been than any other factor (ie magazine / newspaper articles, travel agents, books, movies etc.). And for those of us on Facebook, seeing the holiday snaps of friends creates even more of a desire to experience that destination for ourselves. These days every holiday moment seems to be captured and shared on Facebook for the world to see.
Travelling to a place where your friends have been can be a great idea. They can give you tips on where to stay, what to do and what to avoid but it’s important to remember that a great holiday often comes down a person’s attitude. The destination that they may have loved or hated, may have been enhanced by their mood at the time or by a comparison to what they have experienced in the past.
Vietnam is a great example of this. When I journeyed there back in 2003 I had just spent four and a half months travelling through Southern Africa, I’d also already spent about four months in other parts of South East Asia on previous trips. I could not wait to get there. At the time it was an emerging destination and I had planned on spending a month exploring it but when I got there, I found I didn’t really like it. I found the people not as friendly as other countries I’d been to, they seemed to be always trying to rip me off and always lying to me. Given I had spent so much time in poorer countries the only thing I could put their attitude down to was the affects of communism. I hated it so much I cut my time in Vietnam short and proceeded to tell people not to bother. When I talked to others though, they absolutely love Vietnam and couldn’t rate it more highly. They found the people very friendly and perhaps were oblivious to the negative things I seemed to notice.
I believe my experience of Vietnam was affected by my past travel. Perhaps I was a bit jaded (I had been travelling for about 7 months by that stage), but also because my depth of travel experience was to such an extent that I had a lot to compare it to. When I talk to friends now, I try to neutralise my past feelings. Vietnam has such a lot to offer – delicious food, culture, the fascinating history of the war, the French influence, great scenery and much more – and I think it is important for people to discover a destination for themselves.
I recently had the opposite experience when I headed to Mallorca Spain. I was warned off it – ‘package tourists galore’, ‘full of Brits and Germans’, ‘why would you want to go there?’ – but go there I did and I loved it and have been raving about it since. So with this in mind, by all means take suggestions from your friends when choosing a destination but just remember that their experience will always be different to yours and any journey you take must be taken with fresh eyes. If you’re undecided on where to go next, definitely give us a call on +61 (08) 6382 5000 to talk it through.
Article by Nicola Billens
Nicola Billens is an experienced traveller, having visited all the continents (except Antarctica) over the last 20 years. She’s lived in France, England, Austria and New Zealand and spent many years and many dollars experiencing what this wonderful world has to offer.