Travel Clichés

Like fruit cake at Christmas, bachelorettes wearing pink boas, and Uma in a Tarantino movie, most clichés are best avoided. Yet there is one aspect of life into which I highly recommend injecting as much cliché as possible – travel.

The savviest of travelers know that to truly experience a culture you need to venture off the paths outlined in the guidebooks and steer clear of the tempting golden arches; but does it really count as a trip to Pisa if you don’t get a picture of yourself kicking over the Tower? Can you call it a vacation in Syndey if you don’t hop around the Taronga Zoo like a kangaroo?

The art of enacting travel clichés goes far beyond simply wearing a beret in Paris or eating fish and chips in London (both of which you simply must do). To ensure you make it home with a few amazing memories to accompany your Hard Rock t-shirt, I have a few recommended clichés that my trips wouldn’t have been complete without:

The Sound of Music Tour: Run through the hills of Salzburg whilst singing the Hills are Alive and eating crisp apple strudel. Unfortunately, a few years ago, a nice old lady broke a hip as she leapt from bench to bench in the gazebo, but you can pretend.

Theater in London: Just don’t see Cats – everything you’ve heard is a lie.

Ride random animals: There are swimming horses in Cancun, friendly donkeys in Turkey and camel escorts to the Pyramids, but nothing felt as bad-ass as being carried up the hill overlooking Angkor Wat by an elephant a la Coming to America.

Monkey Forest in Ubud: Never has the phrase “watch your hat, glasses and loose articles of clothing” been so relevant.

McDonalds in Berlin: Grab a beer and a bratwurst then redeem yourself by having dinner somewhere legit.

Attempt the local sport: I’ve skied (poorly) in the Alps and surfed (poorly) in Bali and paraglided (awesomely, yet no talent required) in Nice. I hear you can also get pushed down a mountain inside of a giant beach ball in New Zealand so that might be cool.

Eat like a tourist: Be warned that Belgian waffles are not made by Eggo, pho is really a breakfast food, and Italian pasta is not made by Olive Garden master chefs – whatever their commercials may tell you.

Tour the factories: I came back from one trip to Europe with a year’s supply of Cadbury Cream Eggs, six wheels of cheese and a cuckoo clock. Beat that shot glass!

Wine in Italy: In case you needed a reason.

While my future adventures are TBD, I’ll continue to knock out travel clichés like a crying mouse-eared kid at Disneyland. In fact, maybe it’s time I start planning a hunt for the Loch Ness Monster after a swim with the dolphins.

About WhiteElephantInTheRoom

I'm an 80s music lover, traveling junkie, mac & cheese connoisseur, amateur wine snob, party-planning priestess and Chicago transplant living in Southern California. I find adventure in the everyday and have a unending compulsion to write about it. Hope you enjoy reading my mind!
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7 Responses to Travel Clichés

  1. karen mathews says:

    squishing the head of the Sphinx between your thunb and finger

  2. nancyfrancis says:

    I’m quickly falling in love with your blog! You left Out a few of my favorite travel cliches though: drinking Guiness in Ireland, holding up the Taj Mahal in India and participating in inappropriate acts in public while on spring break in cancun 🙂

    • That means a lot Nancy thank you! Guiness in Ireland is perfection. And as for Cancun… well my mother reads this but right on 😉 Taj Mahal is high on my list so I’m going to remember your suggestion there.

  3. Jean says:

    Yes! I so agree with you about the Sound of Music Tour, and Nancy is right on with drinking Guinness in Ireland. I also recommend going to the Guinness Storehouse ( and learning how to “pour the perfect pint”. Two of the best, most memorable activities in my recent trips overseas.

  4. kylebilton says:

    As I was reading, I felt a crush beginning to develop! What’s not to like about a pretty girl traveling the world?! I knew it was full on when you mentioned hunting for the Lochness Monster… Kudos to you!

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