“I did Europe this week”. Please stop saying this!!

I need to get this off my chest. Please bear with me! Its a small travel tip!

Europe has 50 countries and six dependent territories. The smallest country is Vatican City with an area of  just 0.44 sq km! The largest is Russia with 3,972,400 sq km in Europe. 743 million people live in Europe, more than double the population of the USA.

Yet I continue to hear a phrase that drives me crazy:

“Last vacation we did Europe” or  “last week we did Europe” or on “the weekend we did France” or “On Tuesday we did France and on Wednesday we did Switzerland. Today we are doing Austria”

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I have been up the Eiffel Tower five times in my life.

What about “we did Canada on Monday and Tuesday. This week we are doing the USA”? or “yesterday we did Washington and today we did New York”. 

My favourite: “Oh you are from Australia. We did Australia in 2014. It was one of the best weeks of our lives

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These are all actual comments I have heard again and again. It is a little insulting to a country, don’t you think?

How can you “do” France in a day? Really all you can do is go to Paris, climb the Eiffel Tower, visit the Mona Lisa, catch a metro train, take a photo in front of Notre Dame or Seine or Arc de Triomphe, grab a croissant or baguette and a glass of wine and kiss in a romantic spot! Paris has 130 Museums alone. I counted and I have been to 31 of them since my first visit to Paris in 1971.

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I have been to France at least 15 times since then and have spent several weeks of my life there but I do not yet feel I have “done” France. There are too many more regions to visit, more cheese to eat and more French words to mispronounce!

punting in cchOf the top 100 cities in Europe, I have been to 46 in the last 46 years. At the current rate, I will be dead before I can get to all 100.

I have lost track of all the times I have been to New York City and there are still vast swathes, I still want to visit.

Australia is a country the same area as the USA. I have flown across the continent, driven around my country and caught trains, buses and ferries for half a century (I am that old) and there are still major places I have never glimpsed!

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Likewise, a stop over in Tokyo or Singapore or Seoul does not give anyone the right to say they have “done Asia”. (there are 48 Asian countries).

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So can I implore you to stamp out the phrase: “I have done [insert city name] this week.” Replace it “we spent a day in Paris yesterday” or “last week, we visited New York for a day and Washington for a day.”

Thank you

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Comments

  1. Totally! It is what turns me into a travel snob and makes me insist I am a traveller, not a tourist (God forbid!). One of my relatives left me jaw-dropped a few years ago. She was going to Europe for the first time to take a cruise around the Baltic, and said they were flying first to London. I asked her how long they would be in London, and she said 2 days. I said “Oh, what a shame”, and she looked surprised and said “Why a shame?” and I said that it wouldn’t give her time to see much. She said “Oh 2 days is heaps, that’s all we’ll need to see London”! And the sad part was, she hadn’t changed her mind when she returned. I could spend one year in London and not see it all, never mind the rest of the UK. I’m inclined to think such people have very little real interest in either the places, the people or the culture, but just want to tick a list of as many places as possible (status?)

  2. Whilst I appreciate what you’re trying to say, people need to learn how to separate intent of what is being said vs what is actually saying. For example, when people get offended when they get a Merry Xmas, or Happy-whatever instead of Happy Holidays. At best it is pedantry of the worst kind, and at worst snobbishness manifest.

  3. I did my lover once. Doesn’t mean I own them.
    We all travel for different goals. To think one is a travel snob is a bit self aggrandizing in itself isn’t it? I mean it implies you and you alone know the real reason to travel.

    While I do not personally like the phrase “I did … ” it can mean different things to different people. I did Europe could mean I did see some things in Europe or I saw the things I wanted to see or many other variations.

    I remember Rick Steves saying something like don’t compare everything you know with something else being better or worse – its just different.

  4. Your an arrogant travel snob. Not every person can experience the world as you. Post something useful.

  5. I’ve visited all the State’s in the United States and all the Canadian provinces and territories. However, there are plenty of places and things to do that are still waiting to be accomplished.

    1. Taking the Alaskan Marine Highway in winter.
    2. Canadian Rockies in winter.
    3. Via Rail’s The Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver.
    4. Attending church services at the smallest Missouri Synod Lutheran Church in America.
    It seats 6 off US 89 in Montana.
    5. Drive coast to coast again without getting on a interstate highway.

    There are many others including somethings in my home state of Ohio.

  6. If someone did what they went to Paris to do, then they did Paris. If that upsets you, It’s your problem. People travel for different reasons and they need and want different depth in their experiences. Just because your Paris goal is different form someone else’s, it doesn’t make your experience better. It certainly doesn’t mean you are a better traveler. Just different. I too prefer more depth, but sometimes you take what you can get.

    Also, regarding someone doing a stopover in Tokyo and saying they “did Asia”, is not something I’ve ever heard anyone say. ever.

    One doesn’t have to visit every nook and cranny of a place to say they “did” it. You might. But others don’t. It is a completely individual assessment.

  7. I think the cruise mentality says heaps about a person’s travel style. To spend an 6-8 hour day “in port” at a place like Venice, Rome, Lisbon, Dublin, etc and feel like you’ve visited it, seems, well… about as touristy as one could get. A cruise offers all the comforts imaginable, without that pesky need to interface with a foreign population, right??

    I understand the rationale behind a quick visit vs. no visit at all, and that’s a quandary I face regularly, in my (non-cruising) travel. Invariably, I’ll opt for the visit. I’d rather have a stop over for 23 hours, just to lay eyes on a city or place, than no visit at all. I accept the fact that I will never, ever, see all the places that I’d like to see, so I have to see them as I can, where I can.

  8. I hear that kind of thing from the same people that will say to me at a family party, “I hear you like to do marathons. I try to do a marathon every weekend myself. My best time is 40 minutes.” I always bite my tongue but want to yell “A MARATHON IS 26 MILES/42km – it is not a 5k!” But I end up just smiling. 🙂
    People just get lost and loose with generalities sometimes because no one stops them. Good post on the travel part!

  9. Meh! June, what is with the travel snobbery? Even the cultured French travel authority, Jules Verne, said that you should go around the world in 80 days! That leaves less than a day’s visit for most countries. And yet the same French rushed to build the Concorde in the 1960s to cut the travel time down to less than 8 days. Today we can pull out our smartphone and visit the world by YouTube in about 8 minutes, which demands a longer attention span than many folk can bear.

  10. Jules Verne’s Mr Fogg never declared he had “done” anywhere! His goal was to prove modern transport could take you around the world in 80days. Feel free to follow his example but when you visit my city for a day, I don’t think its snobby for me to say you have not “done” it after one day. Using your you tube example, it would be like declaring you have seen a movie after watching 8 minutes of it

  11. Thank you! Good luck with the marathons ! When is your next one? I am sticking to half marathons as my maximum distance!

  12. Sorry if I sounded snobby! Please do not ever tell me you have done Paris if you have only spent a day or less there. It seems offensive to Parisians. Or if you visit my city. I believe my advice was useful and if you take it , you will find it useful too.

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