You Have to Travel to All These Places

I know I’m not alone in my assessment that the travel bucket list articles are getting out of hand. They have been for quite some time.

It’s enough that The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, and others have an annual list of places to visit for the next year. At least they have reasons that this particular year is a good one to visit these places — some anniversary, celebration, or declining value of the currency. But reading lists of 50 destinations is a bit exhausting each year.

You have to visit Venice at least once in your life. And then spend a fortune on a 20-minute gondola ride

How many times can I read a list of places that I absolutely must visit? Seriously, these articles are starting to sound like that annoying backpacker that everyone meets who tells you how you haven’t lived until you’ve been to whatever place he’s just returned from.

I’m all for people telling me about how wonderful a place is. I’ll even sit and listen to recommendations while I’m traveling (I also enjoy talking about places I’ve been and whether they’re worth visiting). But I’m tired of all these lists.

Here I am contemplating why I chose this destination instead of one recommended by the media

My latest grievance in the long list of terrible travel articles is this one from Business Insider (Sorry, Jim, I respect your editorial vision over there, but this article trend needs to stop). Not only is this an annoyingly long list, it’s also an excessively long headline: “100 trips everyone should take in their lifetime, according to the world’s top travel experts.”

Do I really need to read through a list of 100 places that I should visit? Internet attention spans are short, hence the top 10 lists that are everywhere. But 100?

Lao Skyway
Everyone should take a ride on a tiny plane in Laos. It’s safe. I swear.

Also, how can I trust that these people are travel experts? Looks like they just work for booking sites and want to make more sales.

These also aren’t just places to visit, but specific activities that not everyone wants to take part in. There are also specific times of year to visit — like seeing Bagan on New Year’s. I’ve been to Bagan during winter, which is the high tourist season because it’s the dry season. If you’re looking for a quiet way to ring in the new year, sure head to Myanmar. But don’t expect any big parties.

bagan myanmar
View from Myauk Guni

To top it off, many of these destinations are expensive to get to. If you plan to visit all these places, you better have more than just ample vacation time.

Also, don’t get me started on the cheesy photo for Xingping, China. I had to look the place up because it looks like somewhere I’ve been. In fact, it’s just a small part of Yangshuo. This is a touristy area in China — even Bill Clinton visited. It’s still a worthwhile place to visit, but you’re unlikely to get the experience that’s in that ridiculous staged photo.

First problem I see with this is that there are 100 trips that we all need to take. Assuming we all take one big vacation each year after starting work, we may get to visit 60 or so of these places. Maybe we can combine a few based on proximity. Or we could all just quit our jobs and travel the world like every other travel blogger tells us to.

taiwan statue
Typical travel blogger with a flute up his nose

I know I haven’t been to as many countries as some of my traveling friends, but I’ve still managed to visit my fair share of countries. And yet, I’ve had all of six experiences out of that list of 100. Only 94 more to go!

And if you think I’m going to make a bucket list or follow someone else’s or even tell everyone I know about all the places they absolutely must visit, you don’t know me well.

What’s your opinion of travel bucket lists?

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