Exploring like a seasoned traveler versus a first-timer can be the difference between the trip of a lifetime and a vacation gone wrong. Make the most of your valuable time in your destination by avoiding these travel faux pas.
1. Not knowing when to put down the camera
Aside from areas that explicitly say “no photos” (looking at you Sistine Chapel), a seasoned traveler knows when to take a picture and when to take in a moment.
2. Carrying your body weight in luggage
Struggling to lift your suitcase into a train or overhead bin SCREAMS tourist, and at the end of the day lugging around a fifty pound suitcase simply isn’t worth it. That is not the look you’re going for when trying to feel – and look – like a local as you explore a new city.
3. Being unaware of local customs
Speaking of fitting in with locals… do a little research on the culture and customs of your destination beforehand. Being respectful when visiting other areas is always important, but this can be crucial when visiting an area where a friendly thumbs-up can mean quite the opposite.
4. Sticking to the Google
Believe it or not, our fav search engine is not the best go-to for finding truly authentic restaurants or secret local spots. Sometimes the best trip advisor (see what we did there?) can be the concierge at your hotel, a driver, or even someone you met walking around. Don’t be afraid to ask your travel advisorfor ideas ahead of time or ask around for a great recommendation during your trip!
No more wearing short-shorts and a tank top in churches, or your flip flops and cargo shorts in a nice restaurant. Check to see if the sites you’re touring have a dress code before heading out for the day. Take notes from how the locals dress and aim for that. Leave your sweatpants and graphic tees at home to avoid the stereotypical American tourist look.
6. Trying to only communicate in English…
…and talking louder and louder when someone doesn’t understand. Yelling English at someone who doesn’t speak English won’t make them understand. Learn a few essential phrases in the native language – it’ll get your further than you realize (and the local will appreciate your efforts).
7. Standing in the middle of the sidewalk looking at a map.
- A) You’re blocking people’s paths
- B) You look like a prime target for pick-pockets, people asking for money, or people trying to peddle their wares.
- C) It’s really annoying for everyone involved.
Stand to the side to look at your map or phone. Still not sure? Go to a nearby shop and ask for help.
8. Staying cooped up in your hotel or resort
Yes it’s lovely and luxurious, but try to dedicate a little time to exploring the area around you. That’s how you truly experience a destination, after all! Get your travel advisor to plan a day tour into the jungle, an adventure to the countryside, a food tour, or some other excursion that matches your interests.
9. Being inflexible
When you travel, there are a lot of factors beyond control. Be willing to adjust your itinerary a little for an exciting experience you may have otherwise missed. And make sure to plan for free time, and don’t be afraid to change it up as you go.
10. Forgetting about organization
Don’t be the person who holds up the already seemingly endless line while you dig through your bag to find your tickets. Put together everything you need for the day, and leave other items in your room. You’ll feel more relaxed and less like a pack mule when your bag isn’t jam-packed.
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