06 July 2017

Reddit Travel Rants, No. 9: The Amazing Racer Wannabes

Every now and then, you see someone being very ambitious, stringing together an itinerary that ticks a lot of places at once. Most of the time, it's within Europe, you know, like Brussels-Lille-Paris-London-Amsterdam in 10 days. But sometimes, I see round-the-world versions of this as well. You know, like Helsinki-Tallinn-Amsterdam-London-Marrakech-Tunis-Monaco-Barcelona-Buenos Aires-Ushuaia-Antarctica-Santiago-New York City-Dubai in two months. This is basically the Amazing Race model, and somehow I just feel like this is a recipe for disaster.

See, people who do this say that they are young, and they like fast-paced traveling. But really, what do these itineraries accomplish? It allows you to claim that you have indeed flown around the world. It allows you to see several airport interiors. But it does not allow you to really see the country you're visiting. After all, you're just ticking off the country by compartmentalizing the whole country into the single city that you have seen, the one where the international airport is located.

Yes, I admit, there is romance in this type of itinerary. I used to watch The Amazing Race too, and I used to drool seeing these newbie travelers jetting all over the world, stumbling and tripping all over the place as they get thrown into one new country one after another. I thought that was cool.

Not anymore.

I don't think popping into a country for a day or two gives you the right to say that you've seen that country, unless it's small like the Vatican City or San Marino. Heck, I spent 9 days in Malta, and I still haven't seen everything. So really, try to scratch more than just the surface. There's a lot of things to see. And really, try to lower down the flying to seeing ratio. Unless you really like just moving in the air in an aircraft, travel is about seeing new places. Something must be off if you spend more time flying than seeing.


  1. I can't even make an itinerary before I get to the country...! I think most of these travelers underestimate how long it takes to adapt to one place, even if you're a bit familiar with the country. Hell, even when I go back to France, it takes me a week or so to "feel" the pulse of the country as a French again.

    1. Zhu,

      I suppose people who travel like this don't care much about the country's pulse; all they want to do is to be able to say that they have stepped foot in the country they are visiting.