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7 Billion People – What does this mean for Travel?

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World Population Growth 7 Billion

World Population Growth 7 Billion

No matter how unique we all think we are, realistically we are still just a number. In fact I am the 79,691,134,498 human-being on this planet according to the UN population statistics:

  • 4.8 billion were still alive before me.
  • 3.5 billion have since been born after me.
  • 1.4 billion have died since I was born.

The reason I know this is that the UN has a very cool website where you can input the day and location you were born and it will give you all the statistics on who has lived before you and after you. It outlines where people are being born and where they are moving too.

Since 1968, the population of our world has doubled. Doubled! That’s 3.5 billion people extra in just 40 years.

The majority of this rapid population growth is occurring in less developed countries. Countries that the majority of us like to travel to.

So with the population due to reach 7 BILLION PEOPLE today it raises a number of worrying questions for me.

What does this mean for travel?

Well one of the benefits of population growth is that every day our world gets smaller and it becomes easier to travel. New planes and routes to connect the growth areas means that places that were previously inaccessible can now be reached by any Joe Blogs with any tour company. For goodness sake you can even pay a huge sum of cash and basically be carried up Mount Everest!

World Population

However, Population Growth does raise a number of issues. The greatest one which I have noticed is that I feel that every location I travel to becomes more Westernised. For every kind of traveller this creates problem. Although we may not all be perpetual traveller’s trying to “find” oneself the majority of us DO travel to explore new areas and cultures that we don’t get at home.

So these unique and new destinations will no longer be authentic in 20, 10 or even 1 years time. What will travellers do? Will we just travel for rest and relaxation? I know some people travel to the same destination year on year and absolutely love it.

Personally I don’t see the appeal of visiting an English pub in a warm and sunny climate such as Ibiza. Who wants to just hang out with the same food, drinks and people that you get at home?

How will this growing population affect my future travel plans?

Unfortunately I find myself with more questions than answers.

Would love to get your feedback below about why you are travelling and what you think population growth means for travellers? Has over-population or changes to “authentic” destinations meant that you have changed your travel plans?

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Andrea

    October 31, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    Interesting observations! I agree with you – most cities looks very similar as a result of globalization. I was so surprised by what I saw this year travelling to South America, for example. Sections of Lima, Bogota, Santiago, Buenos Aires, etc. look like they could be plucked right out of the US.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      October 31, 2011 at 2:33 PM

      Great points Andrea. We have not travelled through South America much but it seems like Asian countries are trying to achieve a “Western” look sometimes. I guess that is why we try to find more and more remote places to visit, which then suffer (maybe suffer is too harsh) the same fate. Hopefully some of these places we all love to visit will retain their uniqueness when they realise that is why we travel there in the first place!

  2. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    October 31, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    I didn’t know that UN site existed. Kinda cool.

    Exportation of culture and modernism is inevitable. However, I try to remind myself when I get to a location that the people there (or at least many of them) want the changes. Who am I to judge whether or not they should eat at McDonalds or live in a modern 20-story building?

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      November 1, 2011 at 7:00 PM

      Yea I wasted a good half hour on the site finding out bits and pieces about who was around before and after me!
      I totally agree with you there, and I don’t have any problem with people potentially wanting to chase the dream of living in a new apartment etc. I just hope that the cultures and true tourist sites that we want to visit are retained as that is the reason why we travel there (and ultimately where a lot of income for these people comes from). As long as they recognise that then I think there is hope.
      And progress is always good, as generally it leads to better health, incomes and lives for most people. Fingers crossed we can all continue to live in relative harmony without exploitation.

  3. Zablon Mukuba

    November 1, 2011 at 8:25 AM

    we are many people

  4. Tobias

    November 9, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    Interesting and thought provoking post. I do agree that even cities in developing countries are starting to look alike. The number of Starbucks, mcdonalds and pizza hut’s in Manila, which i recently visited, makes the city look like it could be anywhere in Europe or North America.
    If you take a deep breath and go somewhat outside of your comfort zone though, there’s a lot of cultural differences to explore. And after all, that’s why we travel, right? 🙂

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      November 11, 2011 at 9:35 AM

      Definitely get what you mean Tobias. I understand why the development takes place and am glad that undeveloped countries are moving forward as well but I do love finding undeveloped areas. Just hope there are a few left in a few years time! Cheers
      Cole

  5. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler

    November 15, 2011 at 11:38 PM

    Interesting article. I guess I tend to travel to places that are extremely different from home, so I haven’t noticed this as much. I wonder what I will think when we head to South America next year.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      November 16, 2011 at 9:23 AM

      It was hard to try and put my thoughts in to words on this post as I understand the need for change and love that people are improving their lives. But imagine if all those places you travelled to that are so different started to sprout McDonald’s or Starbucks on every corner? Would you then think twice about going back? Cheers Cole

  6. Amy Moore

    November 17, 2011 at 2:44 AM

    I understand what you are saying, but I can’t agree with all of it. While some things may become homogenized (like finding a McDonalds in every larger city), people all across the world have national pride and will continue doing some things differently because of this. Look at places like Chinatown in NYC… the people there strive to live differently even though they are surrounded by Americans. Does it give you an “authentic” experience of China? Probably not… but can you truly have an authentic experience anyway?

    Also, I don’t feel you can point to population growth and say that it’s causing what you are feeling while traveling. Sure, travel is easier now than it used to be. Because there are more people in the world or could it be more accurately explained by better technology/business models/some third reason?

    I’m glad you wrote this post and gave me points to ponder. Looking forward to seeing your posts this winter from Egypt. Also, email me with your blog URL if you aren’t listed in our travel blog listing page already.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      November 17, 2011 at 8:06 PM

      Thanks for the insightful comments Amy. Definitely don’t mind you not agreeing with my points and don’t mind being put in my place! 🙂 Would rather have good discussions with people than believe everything I say haha.
      I agree totally that better technologies etc have made it easier to travel. I don’t necessarily agree that population growth is the reason behind it all, was just being quite general about the changes we have seen even just during our short 2 years of travel. I am all for people and communities living how they want to in their own societies, why should I, or anyone for that matter, tell them how to live their lives. It is great that a lot of countries are progressing forward and making all the changes. I guess I just would like to see some area retain their “authentic” feel as this is why we sometimes travel (if that makes sense). However, in saying that, I don’t want communities to “fake it” for tourists as that just degrades the whole experience in my eyes.
      Love that I gave you something to ponder and feel free to write a response as a guest post if you want?
      Will give you an email as we would love to feature on your guys travel blog as well!
      Cheers
      Cole

  7. Sebastian @ Off-The-Path.com

    November 17, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    Interesting article! You can definitely see the westernization in many places but you can still find places which haven’t been that affected by tourism. This sometimes means that you gotta go off the path 😉

  8. Laurel

    November 21, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Very thought provoking post. I hate the Westernization of the world, but wonder if that’s going to change as the new super powers are up and coming and rather quickly. I haven’t really thought about how it will impact my travel plans, except to keep finding those “hidden” places, no matter where I am.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      November 21, 2011 at 7:44 PM

      Hi Laurel,
      Interesting point about the new super powers. It will be very interesting to see what happens because places like China has a booming tourism industry at the moment and wonder how this will affect our travel.
      I think “hidden” places are different for every traveller!
      Cheers
      Cole

  9. James

    November 24, 2011 at 12:37 AM

    I think that this is a growing issue. I also feel that it is part of a larger problem that extends beyond travel. When i look at the world i see that there are very few places that are self sufficient and dont rely on importing goods. This global reliance on the importing of good from western foods to clothes, I feel, is based on the fact that it is extremely hard for specific areas to provide these things for themselves. They therefore have to import, and large corporations, such as Mc Donalds etc, have capitalised on this. As far as travel goes, I think places will start to become very similar because of this, and things that define cultures will gradually decrease. Obviously this will take time so for those saying there are still differences out there, these differences aren’t exactly increasing are they. As you said in the post that travel is becoming easier, this is the case, but for how long will this continue? How long will we be able to access global air travel for it all of our planes run of a fuel that is depleting and non renewable? There is a lot to think about!!

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      November 24, 2011 at 9:41 AM

      Many many good points thanks James. And there are definitely corporations out there that are capitalising on the needy (this has always been the case and always will be I believe until we all take notice that we are getting screwed by the 1%).
      It is interesting about the planes and fuel because companies like Virgin are already trialling biofuels to run their planes on so hopefully we are headed in this direction and can stop using polluting non-renewable products (this needs a new post by itself haha).
      Thanks

  10. Jarmo @ Arctic Nomad

    December 18, 2011 at 7:55 AM

    It is true that lot of places are becoming more “westernized”, but that is indeed progress like Stephanie and others said. And while you will find McDonalds almost everywhere, the culture and the attitude of people hasn’t changed as radically I don’t think (although I would be naive to say it hasn’t had any impact). I recently went to Philippines and while yes you have pizza hut and McDonalds and big malls and all that, the people still feel very different and they still are ridicilously friendly. I don’t think people change as quickly as we fear.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      December 18, 2011 at 1:13 PM

      Thanks for the insight Jarmo. Totally agree that by just having a Macca’s doesn’t make a culture “westernized” but it is always interesting to see them everywhere (plus handy for the loo’s). As I have said before I hope that every civilization does continue to progress but still hold true to their own beliefs and traditions. It’s so good to hear that about the Philippines as well. We really want to visit there in the next year or 2.

  11. Angel Collins

    December 19, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Wow!. You are a great observer. I totally agree with you. I didn’t realized that most countries are westernize already. I just came to that thought just now. Great point of view!. XD

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Adventure Travel

Tips for Planning Your Uluru Tour

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Located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the magnificent sandstone of Ayers Rock or Uluru stands tall at 1,142 feet above ground. The natural formation is widely known for being one of the most sacred places to the indigineous peoples in Australia. At the same time, it is also popular for attracting tourists from all over the world to the land down under.

If you want to visit Uluru in order to pay tribute to this wonder of nature, then doing so through the right tour is in your best interest. It’s not only because Uluru is located at least a few hours from civilization, but it also because such a tour allows you to enjoy the picturesque sights that come along the way within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

So what sights are there to see along the way and what other general tours suggestions you should keep in mind while visiting Uluru? To help you answer these and some other important questions, here are 5 top tips to keep in mind while visiting Uluru.

Don’t Climb the Monolith

First things first, while it is legal to climb atop Uluru, it is recommended that you do not attempt such an action in order to show your respect to the indigenous peoples.

It is a pretty easy rule to follow when you pay attention to the emotions of the indigenous tribes who have recommended time and again for people to not climb Uluru.

But that doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy the natural beauty that Uluru has to offer. In fact, you are encouraged to visit the sandstone and take in its natural glory by standing right beside the formation. That’s why 4WD tour is highly recommended. The tour guides would be able to tell you what you can and can not do.

Visit During Sunset

Ask anyone who has visited Uluru about the best time to see the formation, and you will instantly get the answer as “sunset.”

It’s because Uluru is not an ordinary monolith, but one that is formed through arkosic sandstone. This allows the rock to actually change its color according to the position of the sun. As a result, you can expect the formation to sport a different color depending upon what time of day you reach it.

At sunset, Uluru projects an amber glow that is surreal to take in, especially when you are seeing the formation in person for the very first time. That’s why, it is recommended that you time your trip in a way that allows you to experience this magnificent sight.

3. Take Your Time to Plan the Trip

Perhaps the best way to visit Uluru is through the nearby town of Alice Springs, which has various amenities and accommodation options for tourists who are making their way to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru can take around 5 hours, which is why it is recommended that you arrive at least a day before you are planning to tour Uluru.

This way, you can reach the national park while feeling fresh and rested. This also gives you time to plan longer trips to the park in order to enjoy all that it has to offer.

4. Take in the Sight of the Rock Art

Uluru is not just a wonder to look at by itself, but it also holds several little pieces of wonderful art within it.

The caves at the bottom of the formation hold several pieces of rock art that can only be found at Uluru. If you love learning about other cultures through their art, then this will be a must visit.

Just make sure that you take the time to learn about this art through a local tour guide or via the information provided within these exhibits. This ensures that you have an immersive and informative experience which you can remember for a long time.

5. Don’t Forget the Natural Attractions Around the Rock

Enjoying the breathtaking sight of Uluru sounds rewarding enough for a trip to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. But it’s not all that you can do during a tour of Uluru.

From seeing the red kangaroos and other marsupials to spending some time with the camels, and from seeing the one of a kind formations of Kata Tjuta to taking a walk by the Valley of the Winds, there’s so much to see and do around Uluru.

That is why, it is recommended that you take your time at the park and put aside at least two days to enjoy all of the unique activities that the area has to offer. It would give you a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life while also allowing you to make the most out of your long journey to the sandstone.

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Adventure Travel

Best Time to Visit Panama and Costa Rica

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The fact that Costa Rica and Panama are close makes both countries perfect for visiting. During your holiday there, it’s easy to travel back and forth between the two countries and enjoy all the wonders they have to offer. Keep in mind that the timing of your holiday will influence what sorts of sites you can visit and what activities you can make part of your plans. By understanding a little about what to expect, it’s easy to determine the best time of year to visit both countries, based on what you would like to do.

Learning More About the Dry and Rainy Seasons

If you’re the type who prefers the hustle and bustle that comes with holidays during the tourist season, plan on being in Costa Rica and Panama during what’s known as the dry season. Expect plenty of sunshine and warm weather during this part of the year. Many of your activities will be outdoors, although you will find a number of indoor sites that you will want to include in your plans.

The dry seasons in both countries overlap. The dry weather for both typically arrives during the first to the middle part of December. In Costa Rica, the dry season usually lingers until sometime in April. Panama enjoys a slightly shorter dry season, with it usually ending sometime in March.

Keep in mind that since this dry period is the height of the tourist season, the cost of visiting from December to April will be higher than at other times of the year. Even so, if your plans include spending a lot of time exploring the rain forests or soaking in the rays on one or more of the beautiful beaches, the dry season is the only time to consider.

Making the Most of the Dry Seasons

During the dry season in both nations, do expect the weather to be more humid and the day temperatures to be a little higher. There is some variance depending on which regions you plan on visiting. As a general rule, locations nearer the coast will include warmer weather and higher levels of humidity. By contrast, the more mountainous areas will offer slightly cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels.

During this time, do plan on enjoying the lush greenery found in the rain forests. During much of the dry season, the abundance of rain from what’s known as the rainy or green season ensures that the forests are at their best. Consider adding some variety to your holiday by spending time at the beach, soaking in the nightlife along the coast, and doing some shopping at many of the open air districts. This is also the perfect timing to enjoy some of the local cuisine while dining outside.

There are special events to celebrate during the dry season. President’s Day in Costa Rica occurs during this period. Along with locals, you can enjoy a number of celebrations, open-air festivals, and just about any type of entertainment that one can imagine.

Since the dry season does attract more tourists, it pays to book your lodgings in advance. Along with President’s Day, there’s also spring break and the Easter Season to consider. While you could look at different hotels and other properties near beaches, there are also hostels that make perfect places to sleep. After all, how much time do you plan on spending indoors when there’s so much to do?

Things to Do During the Rainy Seasons

In spite of the name, it isn’t always raining during the rainy or green season. Most days, there will be brief periods of sunshine that do allow you to spend some time at the beach and other outdoor venues. Do expect the evenings to be cooler. At times, the temperature may make wearing long sleeves or possibly a sweater a good idea.

Even if you’re out and about while it’s raining, there are plenty of things to see. Towns and cities in both nations offer indoor concerts, a number of restaurants catering to all sorts of tastes, and clubs and other settings for entertainment. You will find museums that will tell you more about the history of indigenous peoples and the complexity of their cultures.

What are some of the activities you can enjoy during this time of year? Both Costa Rica and Panama offer options to go horseback riding. Generally, this will happen during the morning when the sun is most likely to be out. Walking tours are also a great way to learn more about the culture and possibly find some interesting places that you will want to return to a little later. Don’t overlook the opportunity to get in some fishing when there’s a sunny morning coming your way. There are changes to engage in freshwater fishing as well as charter boats that will take you to some of the better places to enjoy salt-water fishing.

Coffee and rum tours are also something to consider during the rainy season. These tours allow you the opportunity to see different facilities and how they produce their products. As a bonus, you get to enjoy some taste-testing at many of the places that you visit along the tour. Some of the sites will also have bistros or restaurants included, allowing you to enjoy a nice meal or snack with your coffee or rum.

In terms of museums to visit, San Jose offers some of the most interesting museums in Costa Rica. Many of them are located in or adjacent to what’s known as the Central Market. It’s a great way to enjoy time indoors during the rainy afternoons and early evenings.

In Panama, check out the Panama Canal Museum in Casco Viejo. You can make use of headphones that offer the guided tour in multiple languages. If you happen to be proficient in Spanish, feel free to check out each exhibit on your own. You can also check out the Biodiversity Museum, which features exhibits on the over 1,000 species of animals and plants that are found in the country. Make the most of the discounts offered on Sundays. Retirees also get to enjoy discounts when visiting these museums.

Which season is the best time to visit Costa Rica and Panama? It’s really up to you. For those who prefer a slower pace and don’t mind rain during the afternoons and evenings, the raining season is ideal. Those who thrive on activity, sunshine, and plenty of tourist activities will enjoy going during the dry season. Whatever your choice, plan on coming back a second time. It’s rare for anyone to see everything they want to see during a single holiday.

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Adventure Travel

Most Underrated Travel Destinations

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Everyone knows about Paris and Rome and London but there are so many other beautiful travel destinations that are amazingly underrated. The fact that so many beautiful countries go unexplored by travelers is a tragedy. Not only because so many people are missing out on rich cultures and picturesque views, but also because a lot of these destinations tend to be a lot cheaper to travel to than popular cities. 

A majority of Americans, when asked about traveling abroad, will likely shake their head and say they can’t afford such trips. Many people deal with multiple monthly bills, such as mortgage or rent, student loans, and title loans, which are all stress inducing. 

But what a lot of people don’t know is that there are gorgeous, underrated foreign cities one can visit for a fraction of the price of touristy European cities. Forbes recently published a collection of the ten most underrated destinations you should consider visiting. 

Here are a few of them:

Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is known for its magnificent sights of Mount Ararat, historical monasteries, and its many striking temple ruins. Armenian cuisine is other worldly with classic dishes like rabbit stew, sautéed eggplant rolls, and lamb tartare. 

Telč, Czechia

Telč is a colorful town with Italian influences in Czechia. It boasts of Baroque-Renaissance architecture and has a castle of its own with exciting tunnels and passageways that you can explore underneath the town.

Santiago, Chile

Santiago is the capital of Chile and features gorgeous architecture from the neoclassical era. There are towering cathedrals and, of course, plenty of quality Chilean wine. Plus, the city of Santiago is a great place to kick off your exploration of Chile’s wine country. 

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Rotterdam is often ignored due to the popular neighboring city of Amsterdam, but it is a bastion of underground music and street art. The architecture is strikingly modern since the city was heavily bombed during World War II and thus had to be rebuilt from the ground up. The city is filled to the brim with amazing cuisine and museums.

Lagos, Nigeria

If you are looking for a big city destination, Lagos is a metropolis that has plenty to see and do so that you’ll never be bored. And whenever you need a break from the urban marketplaces, private beaches are just a short drive away.

Con Dao, Vietnam

Con Dao is a Southeast Asian island that makes an excellent beach destination with two resorts and tons of fascinating history. Once host to a brutal French prison, the island is also home to the tomb of the Vietnamese martyr Vo Thi Sau. 

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

This is one of the oldest cities in Uruguay dating back to the 17th century. The city has a vibrantly decorated historic quarter and a three-century-old convent. It’s also only a short trip away from the bigger city of Montevideo.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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