Travel Quotes That are Full of S**t

If you’re a travel lover, you have probably seen various memes with famous travel quotes being shared over and over again. They’re supposed to be inspirational and perhaps motivational, and in my early days of doing long-term travel I probably could identify with many of them. Now that I have several years of full-time travel under my belt, I find many of them to vary between travel snobbery and just outright douchebaggery. Here are the ones that make my eyes roll the most.

If only one burnt a sufficient amount of calories while rolling their eyes to help them lose weight!

travel quotes“It’s the journey, not the destination.”

For me that’s just a load of rubbish now. When we first began our current lifestyle back in 2011, I probably would’ve shared this one. I was all about the journey then. Mostly because that often meant saving money, and I thought I needed a bigger budget than I did.

I remember taking the chicken bus from Belize to Guatemala instead of the nicer 2nd-class bus. After enduring hours of hell and frustration, I realized that ultimately I had saved about $11 USD and endured an extra 5 hours of uncomfortable travel.

Had I spent that extra $11, I wouldn’t have had to ride for about 6 hours with one of my knees in my chest since I was seated over the tire well. I would’ve had air conditioning. Rather than get off the bus, go through border control for both countries, then take a taxi to a bus station where we had to sit and wait for the next mini bus, we would’ve been dropped off directly where I needed and could’ve skipped the multiple modes of transportation.

Since we wouldn’t have arrived after 9 PM, we could’ve also used our extra time to find better lodging. Especially one that didn’t cut the WiFi off every night at 10 PM and wait until 8 AM to turn it back on.

Sure, I have a great travel story, and I learned some valuable lessons (like how it’s often worth paying a little more to travel in comfort).

But I can guarantee that often the best part is arriving.

In a couple of weeks, we’ll be locked into a cramped flying metal tube for over 10 hours after sitting in a humid airport terminal for at least 2 hours.

No, the journey will not be the best part of the trip. Just get me there! I prefer to experience my adventures locally, not during transit.

travel quotes“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”

For me, this just comes across as so snobbish for various reasons. For one, it implies that all travel is equal in terms of experience. Um, no. If you’ve gone to Mexico but never left the all-inclusive resort, or you only left to go to Señor Frog’s and to the jewelry store, have you really experienced Mexico or even the town you’re visiting?

I’m not dissing that kind of travel, but I don’t think you’ve “read” much more than someone who went to a beach resort in Florida instead.

Travel does give one some incredible experiences. I have greatly transformed as a person because of my travels, and I know my son has immensely, too. But am I “better” than someone who hasn’t seen as much of the world as I have? Am I “worse” because we haven’t been to as many places as someone else?

I like that the quote is probably meant to inspire people to travel more, but let’s not be snobs about it.

Let’s not “shame” people who for various reasons haven’t traveled or find themselves in a situation that presents tremendous obstacles for them to have done so.

travel quotes“Traveling- it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I have rarely had travel leave me speechless. I’m either really excited, feel a place was meh, or was so unamused that I’m ready for a good rant.

When I see this quote, I often think “douchebag.” Perhaps it’s because the only people I ever see share it are travel bloggers.

Perhaps it’s also because it implies that all travel is meaningful. Sometimes travel can be frustrating and annoying.

I obviously adore travel (most of the time), but I know people who just don’t have the budget or temperament to match their expectations, and for them it would be better if they just stayed home if I’m going to be honest.

One of the biggest things I have learned from long-term travel is how to be more flexible, to not let minor things get to me, and to learn to just laugh or shrug my shoulders during some of life’s less joyous moments.

Sure, I have stories to tell, but I also had lots of stories to tell before we left the US for a life of travel. They just sound more exotic now.

travel quotes“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.”

This one bugs the crap out of me, too. Again, it smacks of snobbery and douchebaggery. The whole tourist vs traveler debate is one of the more obnoxious ones I’ve seen over the years.

As a long-term traveler, I often don’t know where I’m going, but that’s because my life isn’t as regimented as a typical one. I’m not tied to a location by my job and/or circumstances. Some of that is privilege, some of it is having the fortune of being born in a country with a strong passport, and some if it was pure chance that I ended up choosing professions that would later enable me to earn an income without being tethered to one spot.

And I really get irritated with the tourist part of the quote. I know plenty of “tourists” who have had deep and rich experiences. And, frankly, if you don’t live full time in the area you’re visiting, you’re a tourist. Really, you can explore an area where you’ve lived most of your life and still be a tourist/traveler.

In Agadir, Morocco, we spent a few days at an all-inclusive resort to get a break from the oasis. I wanted alcohol, pork, good cheese, different bread, and decent WiFi (as in anything that was faster than our 3G dongles). We were absolutely tourist.s We walked along the beach once. Other than that we spent all of our time at the resort.

It was wonderful! We celebrated Chrismakah while there, and we have great memories from our time there. And I know where we were quite well, thank you very much.

Are there any travel quotes that just really make you want to yell at your screen?

Share This Post On


  1. Most travel quotes are so overused, it makes one wonder if there is no wisdom left in the travel space…

    Post a Reply
  2. Very good, these sort of quotes get right up my nose. it’s normally those who haven’t actually travelled that much or taken long, arduous bus journeys etc. that tend to plaster them all over Facebook and the like.

    Post a Reply
  3. I just always though if you travelled you were a tourist! You explored, experienced and saw new things which made you a tourist! I never really say to anyone that we are travellers, we just happen to travel to different places than most of the people in our town so they see us as different. Most people are surprised when I ask them stories of the places in Australia that they have been and say I would love to go there, it is on my places to go. We started the blog to show people in our small town that you can get out there, you can do it. We have some haters but who doesn’t?

    Post a Reply
    • Yep. Same for me. If you travel, you’re a traveler and if you’re somewhere new to you, you’re also a tourist.

      Post a Reply
  4. Love this post – there’s something about ‘inspirational’ quotes which makes me grit my teeth anyway but the idea that one kind of travel is better than another is hugely snobbish.

    Post a Reply
  5. Haha! I love this post! I collect great quotes, so I dig through a lot of sh*t to find them… totally agreed with you on these, especially the one about “those who don’t travel read only one page” – uh, no, I don’t think everyone is *required* to travel… and the one about travelers vs tourists – SO SNOBBY! Thanks for the laugh 🙂

    Post a Reply
  6. The journey/destination is true for me. Often, when I get depressed, I just take a bus out of town, any bus, I don’t care where it’s going, as long as it goes. It’s the act of traveling itself that does it for me, not necessarily arriving.

    Post a Reply
  7. There was a similar post recently on a German blog, but it featured some “honest” travel quotes. (
    The ones I liked:
    “There are only two emotions on a plane: fear and terror” – Orson Welles
    “The shortest distance between two points is often unbearable” – Charles Bukowski
    “People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home“ – Dagobert D. Runes
    „Whereever you are going−that’s where you are” – Konfuzius
    And one of my favourites:
    “Sometimes the road less traveled, is less traveled for a reason.” – Seinfeld

    Although I must say I would pay double for any transportation without air conditioning. And I really enjoy sitting in a train for 10 to 48 hours.

    Post a Reply
    • “The shortest distance between two points is often unbearable” – Charles Bukowski ROFL!

      I don’t mind long train rides. As long as I don’t have to sweat through it.

      Post a Reply
  8. Yes, yes, yes! I can think of many more, but those are my personal ranty-ones, too.

    Post a Reply
  9. Travel snobbery bugs me. When I lived in San Diego people constantly complained and sneered about the tourists, then announced they were heading off to Cabo or Cancun! Wow so I am guessing you won’t be a tourist there then. We travel full-time and sometimes we behave like tourists, sometimes we sit on our couch and watch old Seinfeld episodes!

    Post a Reply
    • I’ve met those people, too. Too funny.

      Things are definitely different when one travels full time.

      Post a Reply
  10. For me, most of this fits in to the ‘live and let live’ category. Yes, I know, another terrible cliche. My partner and I just think we are incredibly lucky to be able to travel. We meander around in a style, and with a comfort level, that works for us. Over the years the style has changed. I am happy to be a tourist/traveler of any version if it means that I can have new experiences and face new challenges. Personally I don’t think any justification of choices needs to be made as long as other people/animals and the environment are not being damaged in the process. My biggest regret is that there is so much world and we only have a finite life and budget so we have to prioritise the places we hope to visit.

    Post a Reply
    • Agreed! Travel the way that works best for you. There is no right or wrong way to travel (unless it’s unethical).

      Post a Reply
  11. The people who think only they travel the “right way” make me crazy. Having said that, there are times when the journey is definitely part of the there there– even when the journey is uncomfortable, dangerous, or both.

    Post a Reply
    • Yes, sometimes the journey is the best part. For me it also depends on the mode. In an airplane or bus, I need to get to the destination. On a train or boat, most of the time I’m content to just look at the scenery pass by. It’s almost an escape.

      Post a Reply
  12. I agree with you on most of them. But the journey/destination one depends on how you are travelling. Such as my year travelling in the US I didn’t always have a destination in mind. Or my motorcycle tours in India were all about the journey. Currently just got back on the road in Vietnam on scooter, looking forward to the journey. Had a problem the other day got pushed by two bikes for a total of 20km. The second one was Vietnamese people. I got free beers a coconut and an unforgettable experience in between destinations. Hitched last week and hitchhiking is normally about the journey at least for me. Things like trekking, climbing, horseback riding, snowboarding, paddling, etc. would be about the journey. (Atleast I hope they are, otherwise you aren’t having fun and the destination is just the end.) And if you want to go cliché life is all about the journey since the destination is death. Can’t really speak for parenting but I would guess it’s about the journey not just getting them to adulthood. Depends on you interpret the quote.
    My rant: One thing I really hate is when people just list off the places they have been. Tonight some girl started listing the 26 countries she has been to in a year. My response was simple. “That’s horrible you spent on average 2 weeks in a country.” She didn’t bother saying anything she saw, learned, or experienced with one exception. Some European customs asked her if she was a prostitute and was appalled that they asked for proof of finances because she was raised that finances are private.

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *