I love to do research before my trips. It not only gets me excited for a trip, but it helps me to be prepared (or to at least think I’m prepared). Sometimes I won’t do good research before I travel, and I’ll rely on my own knowledge about a place including many false and wrong assumptions. So while some of these seem like, “well, duh” moments here are some little things I did not know before I traveled.
1. It snows in the Grand Canyon.
When my friends and I went to the Grand Canyon, in May, we were pretty shocked to see snow. It wasn’t like there was a blizzard, but there was snow. My friends and I went to Arizona to escape the snow we had back home. I once thought Arizona being south = always hot, but not so much.
2. Montana has mountains.
Now before you call me a complete failure, I knew Montana had mountains, I just thought the part of Montana my friends and I were driving through didn’t have mountains. We were driving from southern Alberta, which is relatively flat, so I just assumed (even though I’d know you shouldn’t assume) that the part of Montana we’d be driving through would be the same. It wasn’t.
3. There’s more than one Edmonton.
When I was in London I got an Oyster card holder and there was an ad with information about taking a shuttle to Ikea in Edmonton. I had a blonde moment, where I wondered why Edmonton in Alberta was advertising in London. Finally it dawned on me that there’s an Edmonton in the U.K. There’s also an Edmonton in Kentucky and Australia. Now I have a little goal to visit all four Edmontons.
4. The fast food version of “authentic food” is still fast food.
On my Contiki tour in Europe there were many stops at “rest stops” which were very similar to the truck stops back home (but nicer). I was trying to eat as much “local” cuisine as I could on that trip, and so naturally we stopped at a rest stop in Italy I got a slice of pizza. Surely, because it was pizza in Italy, it would be the best slice of pizza I’d ever have? No. It was just like any greasy truck stop pizza I could get at home. Fast food in Italy takes like fast food in Canada.
5. Gravol makes you sleepy.
I like the ocean, but I’d always been wary of getting seasick. On the ferry from Saint John, New Brunswick to Digby, Nova Scotia my friend brought gravol. I’d only ever had the non-drowsy gravol, the natural ginger ones, and so I didn’t realize that regular gravol makes you sleepy, like really sleepy. I remember taking a gravol pill, sitting on the ferry, and watching the opening credits for Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Next thing I knew the ending credits were rolling. Now I know what to take on red-eye flights when I need to get some sleep.
These are just a few things I’ve learned while travelling. Are there any travel ignorances that have been dispelled during your travels?