10 horribly lame excuses people make when you ask them to travel within Pakistan

Published: May 25, 2016
SHARES
Email

The good news is, there are hotels and most of the places are safe. So don't neglect the beauty of your country based on your own superstitions.

I have been travelling all across Pakistan for a few years now. It’s feasible for me to travel within the country considering my low budget and nominal income, as travelling within Pakistan compared to travelling abroad is cheaper, and believe it or not – it’s safe too.

My admirers appreciate my lifestyle as I explore the diversity and beauty of Pakistan. They express their desire on wanting to experience the same adventure, yet come up with excuses not to, and end up travelling abroad instead. Excuses like, my dog ate my homework! Not literally, but their excuses fall under the same calibre.

I usually hear them say,

“Oh I have been to Thailand twice and once to Malaysia and Turkey. I have also seen quite a few countries in Europe. But in Pakistan, I have just visited Lahore and Karachi, that too for work. Oh yes, I went to Islamabad once during my childhood.”

Really?

Here are the excuses that I have come across when I advise people to explore Pakistan:

1. “Halaat kharab hain” (The law and order situation of the country is disturbing)

These are the city dwellers. The halaat (situation) is their strongest excuse. They think something will happen to them if they travel within Pakistan. Of course, that is not their fault; the media makes them think that way, although the reality is pretty different. Everyone in the country faces the same problems as you do.

So what if your phone got snatched at gunpoint in Karachi? You still live in Karachi, right?

2. Leaving their comfort zone

“I don’t know if there are any good hotels there. I don’t know if I can find WiFi there. Can I check my emails while going to the base camp of K2?”

Do I need to say anything?

Stay at home!

3. Lack of proper infrastructure

“You know the roads, and domestic flights usually get cancelled. Hence isn’t it better to take an overnight flight to Bangkok than a road trip on the Karakoram highway?”

4. I don’t have the budget

Oh, so what about your last vacation to Thailand? You probably need half that amount to go to the base camp of K2.

I say, yes, you should travel to other countries, but don’t make excuses when it comes to exploring your own country.

Pakistan has unique diversity. There’s the coastal area of the south, the Sufi shrines in Sindh and Punjab, the green mountains of Kashmir, the high snow-capped peaks of Baltistan and so on. And the good news is that these places are safe with the availability of hotels. So don’t neglect the beauty of your country based on such superstitions.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that criminal activities do not exist in these places – they do. That being said, do you know the crime rate of Bangkok in specific, with reference to tourists? And what about the cities you live in?

5I would need a male escort

Women often use the excuse that they cannot travel alone in Pakistan. And how they are not viewed or treated the same as men etc.

But I beg to differ with this stereotypical stance. If you make reservations in rest houses in advance or join a group of travellers, you won’t be alone. You will be able to socialise with new people and discover the beauty of Pakistan without having to drag your brother everywhere you go. I do understand that it’s not easy, but it shouldn’t be an excuse to restrict yourselves. Having said that, I know a couple of Pakistani women who travel on their own. And yes, they are still alive and healthy.

6. I will get lost

Yes, you will, if you are a toddler. But if you know how to use the GPS, why would you get lost? And if you don’t know how to use that then perhaps ask around for directions? It really isn’t rocket science, guys.

7. I am too young to travel/ I am too old to travel

Too young to travel is the lamest excuse of them all. Are you planning to trek Nangaparbat when you start showing symptoms of arthritis? No! Seriously! Do it now when you have the strength, energy and enthusiasm to explore and enjoy all adventures!

And for those who say they are too old – unless you are bed ridden with half a dozen diseases dragging you to your eternal fate, this excuse too, is unacceptable. No one is too old to travel. If nothing else, just go sight-seeing.

8. It is difficult to travel with kids

Let’s get this straight. Kids are difficult to handle because they are kids. They can’t take care of themselves and constantly have to be looked after. Either you leave your kids with your parents or take them along and share the responsibility with your spouse. I would recommend that you take them along so they can also learn from the experience. I still remember my father taking us on road trips across Pakistan during our childhood, just so we could appreciate the country we live in. And they were some of the most memorable moments of my childhood.

9. I will get traveler’s tummy

Let me get on thing clear, the food you eat at home isn’t necessarily safer than the food abroad; yes it is more hygienic, but your body isn’t always accustomed to keeping down food that’s been cooked elsewhere. I encourage people to be open to sampling food, but also make sure you eat healthy. Know the difference between sampling and treating yourself.

10. I will have to pack a lot

No. You don’t have to. Just pack the basics and get going!

Here is what I take with me:

Can you think of more excuses? Then post them in the comments section and trust me, I will respond to each one of them.

Happy Travelling!

All photos by Danial Shah.

Do you use any of the excuses mentioned above?

     View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Danial Shah

Danial Shah

A freelance documentary and travel photographer and travel writer who travels around Pakistan for positive stories. He is the founder of travel blog iExplorePakistan.com. He is an activist of civil rights and social justice for all. He tweets as @DanialShah_ (twitter.com/danialshah_)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Omair Shahid

    very well said i have faced the same situation as you mentioned above
    my friends and family were like why are you going there nothing is there instead why not go to dubai, thailand,another problem is they are going fine but they wouldn’t even let you go alone saying you wont have fun or you will get bored.
    im glad i didn’t listen to them and explore the beautiful country we live in but unfortunately our people don’t appreciate thatRecommend

  • SuperNeo™

    First excuse no one in the world question, I know lot peoples here in US, they are scared to go back because of getting kidnapped fear. terrorism , Pakistan is always in news for bad reason
    for example recent killing of Mullau masood azar

    “Halaat kharab hain” (The law and order situation of the country is disturbing)Recommend

  • Azmat Ali

    So some people are adventurous and like to go out of their comfort zone (living in tents, without washroom facilities, without reasonable / decent hotels, etc.). All of the things one can do in Pakistan, can be done abroad, in much more comfort than the author probably seeks. For us “excusers”, these life comforts are a necessity and we do not wish to “rough it”. If we can experience more or less what Pakistan has, in a more commercialized setting, we’re ok with that. We also realize that the real experience is in roughing it, but that’s not for us.
    Let’s not denigrate those that are different. Based on my own life experiences, the author is the one “different” here, but I, and others I know, appreciate and look up to his “differences”, not consider him somehow lesser than us.Recommend

  • Umar Agha

    Actually, you can travel to Hunza, Gilgit, Skardu, Chitral, etc., and find 4+ star hotels (including 4 Serenas). You don’t have to camp out in tents to see and appreciate Pakistan’s beauty, especially in the North. Find a new excuse now!Recommend

  • Saj

    What would you say is the minimum age for children to go on some of these trips?Recommend

  • Saj

    Applying the same ‘trip abroad’ strategy… I looked for hotels on TripAdvisor.
    Naran has three with one solitary review between them.
    In Swat only the Serena has reviews, and good ones but that kind of luxury may not be for the budget traveler .
    Hunza has four with with ~100 reviews and 9 BnBs with 46 Reviews.
    Gilgit and Skardu fare better as well.
    ..
    I’m seriously planning a family trip north this summer and hope to find a feasible plan. Maybe I’ll blog (brag) about it.Recommend

  • Danial

    just met a group of climbers and travelers here in warsaw , one of them told me he has been saving since his college days just to see a glimpse of nanga parbat and K2. these guys have been planing since three months to get visas and bookings done to get to the country that holds biggest glaciers, highest mountains ranges and what more…. one of them is telling me if i can switch nationalities with him so that he could live all his life in northern pakistan. .And then here i saw your comment and i m confused whether should i cry or laugh. traveling abroad is cool and i know that europe and west Caucasian people fascinate pakistanis but what you dont know is you are sitting on a gold mine of tourism.Recommend

  • RAHEELA S.ZAFAR

    THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST BLOG I HAVE READ , MEANINGFUL AND PURPOSE FUL , UNLIKE THE CRAMP THAT APPEARS THESE DAYS IN ETBRecommend

  • Fahimuddin

    My mom/office is not allowing me to goRecommend

  • Mateen Zaman

    Northern areas of Pakistan are more awesome than European Alps,south American Andes and elsewhere ,these Karakurrams and Himalayas have a stunning beautyRecommend

  • Henna Arshad Shaykh

    A needed topic. Bravo! #ilikesRecommend