So you think you have everything sorted for your next trip? Let’s see if you can pass my list of “10 things I never do on a trip”
1.Not interacting with locals
Whenever you go somewhere and want the best advices on what to see (besides my blog of course), when to see it and how to organize your day, the best people to go to are locals. So ask away. However always keep in mind there are not-so-nice people out there who will try to scam you. Just stay aware of your surroundings. If you don’t feel comfortable with talking to strangers, ask among your friends and family if they know someone living on site. I have given many tips and addresses to visitors of Paris because we had someone in common!
2.Not adapting my behavior
Just do a little research on the culture of your next destination. Some things you might be doing in your country can be extremely rude in another. Let me give you an example: in France we kiss on the cheeks to say hello when gathering in an informal event. Do you know in how many countries it would be very rude of me to do the same? When I first started travelling it was kind of hard to get used to, so many awkward situations!
3.Not speaking the local language
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, I am not telling you to go learn an entirely new language for a 2 weeks trip somewhere. What I mean is I think it is always important to learn a few words so you can interact with the locals and it is just being polite really. It also shows you are actually interested in their culture, not just the cool beaches and paradise-like sceneries. A few words so you can say: hello, ask for your direction, say please and thank you.
4.Eating at tourist places
When visiting a museum or monuments I never eat in the first few meters surrounding the place. They are expensive, usually bad and very cliché. I try to search online beforehand for a selection of spots to try, I add them to my map so when I am hungry I know where to go. Of course you can check all my maps here!
5.Not going out
I get it the pool is nice, the hotel has every service you can dream of. But look at where you are staying I am sure there are tons of things to do and see! Also I know for some it can be scary to be in a foreign country. If you don’t want to go alone or don’t know where to start just ask the staff! Usually they are locals and will give you nice addresses to check out and they might even organize tours for clients. I usually stay at hostels for that (besides the cheap fare) they always have a program of events, and free or reduced guiding tours. Just go out!
Like I was saying I usually stay in hostels. They have a common kitchen, where you leave your food, fresh and dry. Please don’t be that jerk who steals food from others, thinking “what’s the harm?It’s just food” Well the harm is I bought food from the store because I did not want to spend it on a restaurant. That person basically just stole money from me. Same with the dorms don’t yell at 2:00am, turn on the lights when everybody is asleep or monopolize the only plug for your always-charged phone. Get your stuff organized. Be a good fellow traveller, be nice, help other if you see they are in need, interact with others and SMILE. Yes you are traveling it is a good thing so don’t forget to smile!
7.Doing everything I planned
You won’t have the time. You will get frustrated and tired. If you like to organize everything then make sure to leave space for nothing. You might want to walk around streets, have a drink at a terrace, read a book in the park, whatever, just some down time. It will also give you a few minutes to enjoy being abroad and look around you. Also you never know something might come up. That’s how I ended up at a punk/rock festival in the Slovenian mountains or ice-skating in a bar in Miami, you never know!
Easy one, bring what is necessary. If needed you can always wash your clothes over there. Your back will thank me. And you will gain so much time in the morning. Little reminder: your nice shoes won’t be used depending on where you go, think cobblestone streets.
9.Monopolizing the picture spot
I know the place looks nice you want that perfect Insta-worthy pic of you. But there are others who want to do exactly the same. So take 2 or 3 and if you don’t like them come back at a different time, early in the morning for example. It will also give you the opportunity to see the place in a different perspective.
10.Being completely unaware of reality
OK, travelling can be an amazing adventure but it can also become a nightmare very quickly. So check your administrative stuff before you go. I know boring stuff but you will be sooooo glad you did! Imagine you want to rent a car in a country and when you arrive to do so, you learn that you need an international driver’s license. Or you get hurt and realize you don’t have travel insurance or your insurance doesn’t cover everything. Doesn’t sound like a fun vacation after all! And of course keep all your information digitalized somewhere you can easily access it!