It’s easy to pass judgment or have misconceptions about countries you’ve never visited or cultures you know nothing about, but choosing to believe those myths only holds you back.
The purpose of traveling is to experience new cultures and learn about other countries, so you shouldn’t let your friend who had a less-than-stellar experience in Paris hold you back from visiting France because she said all French people are rude.
Do your research, learn for yourself, and break away from these common misconceptions about popular travel destinations.
Iceland Is An Arctic Tundra Of A Country
Iceland is thought of by many as a beautiful frozen country that’s covered in snow and ice all year round, but a lot of people don’t realize Iceland experiences four seasons—they just might not be as drastically different as other places.
Everyone In India Is Buddhist
According to a recent census, less than 1% of the population in India are practicing Buddhists. Hinduism is the most dominant religion in India, with approximately 80% of the population identifying as Hindu.
It’s Always Sunny In Australia
You probably picture Australia as a country that’s full of kangaroos and is always hot, so many are surprised to learn that Australia experiences four seasons in most cities, just like other places in the world. If you live in the south of Australia, there’s even a chance for a white Christmas.
French People Are Rude
Probably the most common stereotype you hear about the French, especially those who live in Paris, is that they’re all rude and that they hate Americans—but anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in France will tell you how friendly everyone is.
Canada Is Overrun With Wildlife Such As Moose And Beavers
There are parts of Canada that you can go to if you’re looking to experience the wildlife the beautiful country is known for, but don’t expect to see a moose walking down the street on your trip to Ottawa.
Rio De Janeiro Is The Capital City Of Brazil
For nearly 200 years, Rio de Janeiro was the capital city of Brazil, and it’s still a cultural center of the country. But in 1960, the official capital city was changed from Rio to Brasilia. The city of Brasilia was a planned city, specifically built to be the capital.
It’s Always Raining In England
There’s no doubt that if you live in England, there’s more than a couple of days out of the year that you can expect to get wet, but it’s not as rainy as you think. For example, London gets about 100 rainy days a year, and that doesn’t even crack the top 10 list of rainiest cities.
Sumo Wrestling Must Be The Most Popular Sport In Japan
Yes, sumo is a popular sport in Japan, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only sport the population is interested in. Baseball is actually considered to be one of the top sports in Japan, along with soccer and tennis.
Greece Is Only Worth Visiting In The Summer
Summer is a beautiful time to visit Santorini, but did you know that skiing and snowboarding are popular pastimes in Greece? Some would argue that visiting Greece in the winter will actually give you a more authentic glimpse into Greek life.
The Egyptian Pyramids Are In The Middle Of Nowhere
When you see photos of the pyramids, they look to be in the middle of the desert, but a lot of that is the angle of the photo. The pyramids are a lot easier to visit and a lot closer to cities like Giza than you’d think.
South Africa Is Crime-Ridden And Dangerous
Traveling in South Africa does come with risks, but so does traveling anywhere. As long as you’re smart about it, paying a visit to a city like Cape Town will be well worth it.
Thailand Is All About Partying
If that’s the kind of experience you’re looking to have while visiting Thailand, there are ways to make that happen, but outside of city centers like Bangkok, there’s a lot more to do than recreate The Hangover 2.
You’ll Offend Everyone In Vietnam If You Don’t Learn Their Etiquette Before You Go
Vietnam is considered to be a reserved country with fairly intricate etiquette and expectations of how to interact with someone, so when traveling, tourists are often concerned about offending anyone.
While etiquette is important, locals in Vietnam are also very friendly and know that those visiting don’t know everything about the culture, so don’t let it deter you from visiting—be respectful and try to learn what you can!
Russians Are A Gloomy, Unfriendly People
When walking around a city like Moscow, you might feel like all the locals are serious and don’t seem terribly friendly, but that’s actually because of Russian culture. They’re a more private group of people and believe in being serious in public. Being too loud or seemingly emotional in public can be considered impolite.
Bullfighting Is Spain’s National Sport
Bullfighting isn’t even a sport, and it’s certainly not a nationally recognized activity. The national sport of Spain is fútbol, but you can expect to encounter a bullfighting ring or two during your trip.
Everyone In China Loves Foreigners
You’ve heard the stories from friends about that time they went on a backpacking trip through Asia and they were stopped by locals in Beijing to take a picture with them. It could happen while you’re there, but that doesn’t mean that every person who lives in China is going to love you automatically.
It’s Illegal For Americans To Visit Cuba
It used to be true that if Americans were looking to plan a vacation, they shouldn’t have Cuba high on their list, but that’s no longer true! If you’re looking to visit Havana and you’re an American citizen, there are a few hoops to jump through, but it’s legal and doable.
Mexico Is Always A Cheap Option For A Vacation
You can get great deals if you’re looking to travel to Mexico for a vacation, but don’t be surprised if your bills add up faster than you were expecting. If you go to the more tourist-populated areas, you’ll find that everything costs nearly as much as it would at home.
Every Caribbean Island Is The Same
You may think that it doesn’t matter which island you choose to spend your March break lounging on, but when choosing whether to visit Aruba, Jamaica, Bermuda, or the Bahamas, know that each island brings its own culture and unique aspects.
Everyone Who Lives In UAE Is Wealthy
There’s a misconception that everyone who lives in the United Arab Emirates is rich beyond our wildest dreams, but like many countries, there’s inequality among residents of the country. While there are some who are wealthy, Abu Dhabi and Dubai control more than 80% of the country’s wealth, leaving many areas of the country lacking.