9 Terrible Travel Tips

Let's list all of the terrible, questionable and rather ill-informed advice we've all gotten from well meaning friends, family, and strangers, shall we?

  1. Don’t go to (insert place here), it’s too dangerous.

    • While people who say this sort of thing are just showing their concern for your well being, it’s rather foolish to assume that just because another culture is different than your own that it is inherently more dangerous, or that every negative thing shown on the news is reflective of an entire people. Remaining vigilant and doing your due diligence to research the political climate and cultures of where you intend to visit will take you far in remaining safe. If you find that you feel fearful of visiting anywhere in particular, then it would be best if you traveled elsewhere or just stayed home.

  2. Buy a selfie stick.

    • Just don’t.

  3. Do it while you’re young.

    • I’m not sure why people say this, but they do. It’s the sort of advice that isn’t really advice...it’s misinformation, misrepresentation, betrayal, even. Travel is for everyone. If you have the time, the means and an adventurous spirit, don’t let your age (or the words of ageists) discourage you.

  4. Plan everything OR don't plan anything.

    • There are certainly times when improvising while traveling is a great way to go, but some planning is usually in your best interest. At the very least, I always have all of the logistics planned out for my first day in any new city - from what modes of transportation are available (and pricing) to where I’ll be spending the night; having some peace of mind and the ability to decompress on day one helps me set the mood and get oriented.

  5. Don’t travel in peak season.

    • If you don’t mind dealing with crowds or spending more money, then go for it! Sometimes that’s how your schedule plays out and you gotta do what you gotta do.

  6. Don’t take tours.

    • Why not? Tours are a great way to get familiar with new areas and learn some history from knowledgeable guides - and it’s your trip, do what you want. However, don’t get sucked into the tourist trap of only visiting commercial areas; make time to experience the culture first hand and make friends with the locals.

  7. Take this pill.

    • Unless Morpheus has materialized before your eyes to offer you a life changing chemical cocktail, flooding your system with random stuff is probably not the best idea. You really shouldn’t be popping prescription pills all willy-nilly on the suggestion of a friend who claims it’ll help you relax on your flight. Unless that friend is a doctor, in which case, does he/she make house calls?

  8. Don’t eat street food.

    • Wrong! Eat ALL the street food. Okay, maybe not all of it, but food is such an essential part of any culture that it would be a shame to visit a country and not partake in the cuisine. Sure, not all street meat will agree with you, but imagine the stories you’ll have to tell about that one time you got sick from eating what you thought was a kebab! It’s on you to use common sense before you put anything in your mouth, but in the words of Andrew Zimmern, “if it looks good, eat it!”

  9. Don’t travel alone.

    • This one is usually reserved for the ladies, because misogyny. There are indeed some countries where it can be more challenging and risky to travel alone due to socio political issues, so be sure to do your research beforehand and make proper arrangements. It’s best to educate yourself on the cultural norms of any country before visiting and not take any risks while there that you wouldn’t take at home.

What other terrible travel tips have you come across?