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Travel pictures look so amazing that everyone wants to jump on board and have a jolly shot. But sometimes, a lot goes on behind the scene that is not captured in any photo. Some of our expectations come from the media hype we have been exposed to over the years.

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We have highlighted just a few expectations in comparison to their reality. Here goes:

Cost of Travel

Expectation: Okay, you have heard you don’t need to be rich to travel, right? So you pack up your bags, empty your bank account and decide to travel. You use travel agents hoping you stay within your budget while having an enjoyable time. As long as you’ve paid in advance, you are free to relax and not spend an extra penny during your trip.  

Reality: Well, let’s start with travel is not for broke-ass peeps. Unless you plan on trekking everywhere from one city to another and around town, you best start saving up. Even if you had a host or a free ride around town when you arrive, there would still be things you need money to do. With the rising cost of inflation in Nigeria, travel is now more expensive than before. Hence the call to tour within your state of residence to reduce travel expenses. Unless you have a job or a thriving business to fund your travel aspirations, best lay off those travel sites with enticing offers beckoning you to travel. Before you plan a travel trip, work on improving your finances.

2. Bomb Pictures

Expectation: A picture is worth a thousand words indeed. You have imagined yourself posing in the clouds on ‘Holy Mountain’ in Obudu. Or smiling ear to ear, wearing the life jackets on a boat ride to Tarkwa Bay.

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Reality: What no one tells you is the effort put into getting those bomb pictures. People spend hundreds of thousands of naira to get high-tech gadgets and phones to get picturesque-looking shots. Not to mention you have to work on yourself too to be picture ready. For instance, you must work on color-coding your clothes with the backdrop to ensure your pictures look awesome. Also, some destinations involve so much physical exertion that by the time you get to the picture-perfect spot, your mood has changed. No matter how fine all the elements of the shot are, if your energy level is low or you are in a foul mood, it will ruin your shot. It takes a lot of elements to work correctly to get awesome shots.

3. The Environment

Expectations: You have done your research. You’ve seen all the gorgeous pictures Google offered about your chosen destination and you go there hoping it is as great as the pictures online.

Reality: People heavily frequent most tourist destinations. This means the likelihood of the environment being pristine is pretty low. This is especially true for beaches. You will find dirt and debris in the water and along the coastline. Trash heaps of plastics in between rock crevices for mountaineers. If you go during peak season, the crowds can be so immense, that it will ruin the experience for you. Let’s not forget mother nature. The weather can become something else unexpectedly. E.g. you go to see a waterfall in the dry season because that’s when you are free to travel.

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Only for the falls to be underwhelming because they gush more during the rainy season. Or you go hiking in a nature conservation park and suddenly there are light showers of rain you didn’t prepare for. The impact of nature and human activity can heighten or dampen your experience at a location.

4. Dangers of a Single Story

Expectations: So you have been told that the roads in Northern Nigeria have no potholes like those in the south. Or that southerners are all thieves waiting for an opportunity to scam you. For foreigners, it might be the image of mud houses and thatch roofs all over African communities. So you keep that narrow point of view in mind and are confident that’s what you will see when you travel.

Reality: Only for you to arrive and things are not what they seem. Not only are southerners not hostile to you, but they are incredibly helpful. And rather than beggars at every turn, you see happy farmers content with their lifestyle in the north. You go to the cities and discover Nigerians are no more different from those in any European city. Don’t judge a destination by negative media reports. Word of mouth is still the best way to ascertain what a destination is really like. Keep an open mind when you travel.

What are some travel expectations you had that did not align with your reality? They don’t have to be all bad, so if they exceeded your expectations, don’t hold back. Do share, we’d love to hear of it.

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This article was first published on 6th July 2022 and updated on July 12th, 2022 at 5:16 pm


Ann Esievoadje is a freelance writer who is passionate about encouraging a reading culture and personal development. She has authored two books, The Quilt (fiction) and Being Mummy and Me (non-fiction). She manages Pulchra Publishing which offers a content creation/editing, transcription, different forms of writing (including Ghostwriting) service and her blog, Life Love and Anything Goes at You can reach her at

Comments (1)

One thought on “Travel Tip: 4 Travel Expectations Vs Reality That You Need To Know”

  • Lovely just what I was searching for.Thanks to the author for taking his time on this one.

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