Alaska is … green? Are you kidding me?
Yes, it’s true. Recently I took my first cruise to Alaska, only to discover that much of it is green, not covered in ice and snow. I was flabbergasted.
Maybe others know pretty much what to expect when arriving at their destination, but man, was I taken back. I had expected glorious white topography. Not a rain forest.
“You idiot,” some might say. “It’s summer.”
Sigh. Now I know.
It would be one thing if this was the first time this had happened to me. Sadly, my list below shows eight times I was caught off guard when arriving in a new place. Some surprises were bonuses; others were just plain weird. One day I’ll learn about this thing called the Internet and do more research.
Or maybe that surprised feeling is just the reason I love to travel!
8 Travel Surprises
1. Dominican Republic: I expected paradise. I found a handful of near-death experiences. (Santo Domingo is a very frightening place to be lost. See Drama in the DR: Lessons from a Series of Unfortunate Events for more on this topic.)
2. Chicago: I expected a city, not a beach. Bonus!
3. New York: I expected world-class shopping and dining. I smelled like kabobs and roasted nuts by the time I found either of these things.
4. Aruba: I expected tropical. I found a desert — except for the lawn-watering resorts.
5. Seattle: I expected Pearl Jam. I found sushi.
6. New Orleans: I don’t know what I expected, but not that smell. Bourbon Street at night puts the smelliest college parties to shame.
7. Boston: I expected chowdah. I found food trucks! (Don’t miss the SoWa food trucks in the South End throughout the non-frigid months.)
8. Vancouver: I expected outdoorsy attractions. I found crazy hockey fans.
As I came up with this list, I started to wonder how many other travelers have gone somewhere only to find out their expectations came from the ether. How many knew that the star-studded sidewalk in Hollywood would be lined with shady characters selling some really weird swag? How many expected to be able to buy a T-shirt while checking out the Sphinx? Share your story of mistaken expectations in the comments!
— written by Matt Leonard
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Top Fares From
Today's Top Travel Deals
Brought to you by ShermansTravel
Morocco: 9-Nt Guided Tour, Incl. Casablanca,...
Wisconsin Dells Water Park Resort w/Meals,...
Rome to Istanbul: Luxe, 11-Night Mediterranean...
Oceania Cruisescruise $3999+