Traveling is usually the highlight of a year – or even of a lifetime – but there’s no denying that sometimes, places can underwhelm you. Worse, the experience can be downright negative, leaving you feeling as if you were swindled out of your time and money and given nothing but bad vibes in return.
If you’re looking to avoid feeling like that, these 12 travelers are warning you which countries to avoid.
Spoiler alert: It’s mostly Egypt.
12. Things are changing…for the worse.
At the rate it’s going, South Africa.
Backpacked around in 2009, from Cape Town to Jo’burg, and just loved it. Legit my favorite country I traveled in, because it is so diverse in nature, people, just about every way.
But as things get more dangerous, I’m just not sure if I’ll ever get back there. Seeing footage of the riots right now breaks my heart- if anyone from South Africa is reading this, btw, I wish you all the best and hope you stay safe.
11. You’ll have to miss out on the firsthand history.
Egypt – as many downthread said. Cairo looks like (is) a war zone. Turrets on street corners, Tanks, Soldiers with automatic weapons everywhere. We had an armed police officer on the tour bus (Road Scholar, and nothing against them, they are a great company to travel with), a police escort everywhere, bomb dogs and a guy with a mirror looking under the bus for bombs.
Cairo is dirty, littered and the poverty is staggering. The food was meh at best as we could not travel outside the hotel or tour path to eat. It was blisteringly hot. The camel guys at the Pyramids were mean to all of the women and the animals, with children working there as well.
The Egyptian Museum was a disgrace to the county. Poorly organized, bad labels, no security, priceless textiles, parchments, leather, etc jumbled in cases exposed to the air, heat, hands. No AC. The only things well cared for and secured were Tutankhamen’s artifacts. It’s a spectacular resource and collection and so badly cared for with no curation.
The new one just opened, I sure hope it’s better. Once you’ve seen one temple, one hieroglyphic, you’ve truly seen them all. It’s all about tourist $ and the street vendors were RELENTLESS and scary. Even on a nice open boat ride down the Nile, kids paddled up to the boat on wooden doors, selling cheap crap or just begging.
10. Super disappointing.
Jamaica. Went for a chill vacation with my (then) college girlfriend and were very turned off by being asked if we wanted to buy weed every 20 steps. (Despite popular misconceptions, weed was quite illegal in Jamaica at the time.)
I smoked at home in the US occasionally, but wasn’t into it this trip and didn’t wanna risk getting arrested in a foreign country. Three days in and they’re wearing us down, so we consider buying a joint.
That same day, a tour guide on our river tour warns us without prompting that dudes will sell you weed and then cross the street to tell the cops (for an informant fee) that you’ve got weed, after which you get tossed in Jamaican jail and have to bribe your way out.
Also, the food was meh.
9. Harsh words.
No offense but f**k the Bahamas. It’s a tourist trap and not a very good one at that. More like a third world country trying to play at capitalism.
8. Beat the heat.
Qatar. I worked there for 15 months. Appalling treatment of workers, very very hot. Terrible food and the whole country is a building site getting ready for the world cup next year. After that the country will be empty.
Nothing to do apart from work and shopping.
7. None of that makes you feel good.
I went to Cambodia with a friend three years ago for about a week, over which, we got:
Rifles waved in our face by border guards on the way in… on a tourist bus
Food poisoning; vomited off the side of a tuk tuk
Food poisoning, again; or maybe drugged, me and my bodybuilder-body-type buddy ended up nearly unconscious and/or woozy in our hotel room for 4hrs and woke up to the sound of grizzly domestic violence in the room next door
Offered child prostitutes. Nearly every tourist area that we went at night.
Tours of historical sites that almost were exclusively focused on and aggressively marketing the country’s very recent genocide and mass torture
Totally anecdotal, maybe a little unfair in some ways, maybe to-be-expected in others? Sure. But I spent a few months in the region, truly love Southeast Asia, and Vietnam is my favorite place in the world, but… you could not pay me to go back to Cambodia.
It’s also the only place in the region where we’d walked into areas where we felt like we had to get the f**k out of ASAP.
6. It’s a bit stressful.
Yeah just don’t criticise the government cause you’ll disappear. Rwanda is not an utopia – they just have a good PR team. I’ve never felt more uncomfortable in a country than Rwanda. Everyone is on their toes, terrified to say the wrong thing.
I had to work with some public sector officials and they were terrified to answer any questions without approval from the higher ups
5. Zero stars.
I legit will never visit Egypt again. I went with my family as an 18 year old and was warned by a stoned faced male receptionist “do not leave the resort without your father, it would not be good for you”, well ok, it turns out even within the resort it wasn’t great.
I had hotel staff take pictures of me by the pool, saying sexually suggestive things about me in front of my parents, asking me out on dates to bars outside of the hotel.
My mum and I went to a touristy shop across the road from the hotel and one of the men grabbed me by the waist and thrust his crotch into me, I have never seen my mum fight someone off before.
Overall 0/10 experience.
4. Not exactly relaxing.
Jamaica. Maybe it was the place I was at (Montego) everything was overpriced and they wanted to nickel and dime you for everything. People there didn’t seem friendly walking around the streets in broad daylight did not feel safe. This coming from a minority who still lives in the “bad neighborhood” in Houston. Not interested.
Honestly my best experience there was the Indian shop owners.
3. Safety first.
I served in Kandahar and it was gorgeous. Reminded me a lot of Napa Valley California. Except that everyone was poor. And there were people trying to kill you. And the IEDs.
If it weren’t for the fact it looks like there is going to be another 25 years of Taliban rule, I would have loved to go back as a tourist.
2. Depressing for sure.
Probably and unfortunately my parents birth country Afghanistan. I’ve been there 3 times for a long duration and the country keeps deteriorating.
The ethnic Hazara minority already were not safe purely due to their race and religion (the Hazaras mainly are Shia while the ones who are killing them, the Taliban claiming to be Sunni) but now the Taliban is also attacking the ethnic group my family is a part of( Tajiks) purely due to our race and disregard for pashtunwali.
It’s depressing but I probably won’t return to Afghanistan in my life
1. Not the vibe you’d expect.
Jamaica. Went for a chill vacation with my (then) college girlfriend and were very turned off by being asked if we wanted to buy weed every 20 steps. (Despite popular misconceptions, weed was quite illegal in Jamaica at the time.) I smoked at home in the US occasionally, but wasn’t into it this trip and didn’t wanna risk getting arrested in a foreign country.
Three days in and they’re wearing us down, so we consider buying a joint. That same day, a tour guide on our river tour warns us without prompting that dudes will sell you weed and then cross the street to tell the cops (for an informant fee) that you’ve got weed, after which you get tossed in Jamaican jail and have to bribe your way out.
Also, the food was meh.
So that’s what people on Reddit had to say. But what do you think?
Let us know in the comments!