Americans have the tendency to expect the same level of comfort they enjoy at home when they are traveling abroad. Are these expectations reasonable? The answer is, probably not!
Cultural differences, climate and simple economics make such expectations unreasonable. For example, in the Philippines, a hot shower is only available in the priciest accommodations. It’s a tropical climate here so who wants a hot shower? Americans, that’s who! But is it a reasonable expectation?
The point I’m trying to make is simply this; if you expect all the comforts of home while traveling abroad, you are going to be disappointed. Your comforts do not necessarily parallel those of the culture prevalent in your travel destination.
I’m an American, and I’m tired of hearing the “putdowns” expressed by Americans returning from vacations abroad. Quit whining and accept that you are product of your culture just as Polynesians, Indonesians and Filipinos are products of theirs. Your culture isn’t necessarily better, it is simply different, and isn’t discovering those differences the point of traveling?
I, for one, am fascinated by the differences between the United States and other places in the world. We, as a people, need to begin accepting that not everyone can or even should live as we live here in the United States. In many cases, it’s just not practical (hot showers).
Travel continues to evolve in the free market, as consumer needs and demands change. Enter the vacation rental, a recent revolution here in the United States. For the American traveler seeking a travel experience that truly imparts the local flavor of the destination the vacation rental is the best choice. You get a genuine experience of place in living among the local people.
Of course, as these exotic destinations gain a fuller understanding of our culture, they begin to cater to our needs and expectations. I suppose that’s all right, but don’t we lose something in the process?
Bali is an excellent example of this maturation. Although Indonesia ranks 155 in GDP per capita ($ 4000.00 per person per year) among the nations of the world, it has managed to carve out a coveted niche in the travel industry. Almost 18% of the population lives below the poverty line (theirs not ours). Yet, Bali is one of the premier tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. This has happened over time, the maturation process I spoke about earlier. The proprietors of Bali’s villas and resorts have learned what Western travelers seek and they provide it, in spades! The unique combination of Western amenities and Eastern culture provides a vacation experience second to none.
Want to be pampered, served and fawned over. Head for Bali! Not only will you enjoy Western amenities, you’ll enjoy the services of a staff which includes cooks, housemaids, houseboys, masseuses, laundresses, gardeners and drivers.
In short, the only thing you’ll be whining about when you return stateside, is that you had to leave Bali.
If you are a Westerner, seeking all the comforts of home while abroad, and then some, Bali is definitely worth checking out. I’m confident you won’t come home whining!