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Posted by on Apr 3, 2011 | 24 comments

27 Ways to Ruin Your Travel Experience

Let’s face it.  A lot of people don’t have an idea of how to reap the maximum benefit of travel.  During my world wanderings, I have had to listen complains of almost every type.  What people do not understand is that their attitude has a lot to do with how they perceive the different parts of the world.  Travel can be an eye opener and a life changing action.  But before travel can teach you something, you have to open your mind, accept differences and go out of your comfort zone.  If you are willing to do what I mentioned in the previous line, congratulations, you are in the correct path to become a great traveler (or you already are).  And all good travelers want to get the most of every opportunity.  I’ll give you a hand.  Let’s start by mentioning sure ways to ruin your otherwise beautiful travel experience.

1. You stay most of your travel time in a hotel or resort because it is really dangerous to go out.

2. Expect everything to be just like home.

3. Complain about how you are seen as a dollar sign by locals. C’mon, if you go on a cruise, how many times the staff asks if you want a drink (like 30 times per hour)?  How much advertising propaganda do you receive weekly at home?

4. Forget about eating street food.

5. Go ahead and pack two 50 pounds suitcases and two heavy carry on bags.  If the airlines have certain rules, why not use the maximum allowance?

6. Anticipate eating every meal over a table.

7. Get pissed off because nobody around seems to speak or understand English.  How behind in time are these people? Don’t they know English is the most important language in the world? Yeah, right.

8. “Country X has the worst service in the world.  Can you believe I went to a restaurant and it took them 20 minutes to serve my meal?  Plus, they didn’t have some items offered in the menu”.  Blah, Blah, Blah.

Thanks God that there are McDonalds in China

9. Overlook being open to experiences.

10. When you get back home, talk about all the trash and stray dogs you saw during your time abroad.  Focus and focus on the negative aspects.  People get more interested in that way. 

11. Eat only at McDonalds and other well known fast food chains because the local food is contaminated, too spicy and/or prepared with unknown ingredients.

12. Think travel will fit your couch potato personality.  “I don’t really like to walk and I detest standing up for long periods of time”.  Oh my!!

13. Give your first world attitude to locals.

14. Get arrested.  Remember you are way more intelligent than local authorities.

15. Follow the strict itinerary you prepared beforehand.  Don’t leave anything to chance and forget about being spontaneous.

16. Travel half around the planet to later refuse going to an iconic place or sight because it is too expensive.  20 dollars to ascend to the top of the Shanghai World Trade Center? 40 bucks to enter Machu Pichhu?  Are you kidding me?  I am not going.

Local Ingredients Anyone?

17. Choose the wrong travel companion(s).

18. Lose the opportunity to bring home something characteristic of the place you are visiting.

19. Everything is going to happen as planned. Ha!!

20. Forget about using your common sense and following your hunches.

21. Don’t you ever think about befriending locals.  Nobody should know you are visiting.  Somebody may take advantage of you.

22. Insist on maintaining your beauty routine while abroad.  Do your nails every two days, follow your daily routine of toner, moisturizer, sunscreen, primer, base, concealer, shadow, liner mascara, lip liner, lipstick, blush and take the usual hour and a half to work on your hair.  Let’s see what happens under the 90 degrees weather.  Oh and don’t participate on activities that may ruin your blow dried hair.

23. Do whatever you want.  Forget about the people you are traveling with.

24. “The world is about to end.  My hotel room doesn’t have a TV”.

Tell all your friends about this encounter

25. Make fun of local traditions and ways of living.

26. Trash the place you are visiting.  If you visit a National Park, destroy some of the plants.  Make the place worst for others visiting in the future.

27. Complain, complain, complain.  You deserve the best.

Hopefully, you don’t think or do any of this.  Travel has taught me a lot.  While abroad, my desire is to practice actions that will provide me an excellent medium to absorb the local culture and surroundings.

Do you think these behaviors can ruin your travel experience?  What else would you add?

24 Comments

  1. Nice list you have there! Complain is the worst thing to do overseas. I don’t see why people want things to be like back at home. Come’on you didn’t go overseas so as to celebrate similarities. (although more often than not, I find a city just like the other city)

    I guess, for me, I’m guilty of cheesy socks and sometimes boring conversation with others XP

    Under planning too. Which link to #16. Sometimes I just want to go to some place but it become so expensive to travel to and fro. But I always tell myself, I will return next time with more cash.

    #23. I don’t know about that. For me, I got to have the flexibility to do whatever I want even if I travel. I love slow traveling, which doesn’t appeal to many people. I can just sit on top of a hill for an hour. So I always have the agreement on splitting prior to our travel. Breathing space. I appreciate that. No fun when you have to accommodate so much. Not my style (:

    • Hi Wing,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I agree with your comment about complaining.

      In terms of #16, I am not saying you should visit all the attractions or sights and spend lots of money. Or that you should spend way beyond your means just to see something. But if you are traveling to another country, I think you should consider visiting the things that are unique and not easy to find anywhere else. Like you say, sometimes the list of interesting sights and experiences is long and it is difficult to do everything. Most times, I end up not doing everything I want mostly because of time and money constraints. Like you, I think there will be another time.

      In terms of #23, I think you mentioned the magic word. You “agree” with your travel companion(s) to split and do some things on your own. In the list, I am referring to people who like to do whatever they want without considering others. For example, people who disappear and nobody seems to know where they went. Or people who know about a great experience and they don’t give others the option to particpate because he or she is not interested.

      I totally agree about how is not fun to accommodate a lot. That is why I choose wisely my travel companion(s).
      Ruth recently posted..Papillon Photos- Fuerte San Lorenzo- PanamaMy Profile

  2. I NEVER and I mean NEVER eat McDonalds here in the US. However, it is a bit of a comfort food OCCASIONALLY when I travel. I love the local cuisine but I actually had my best experience with a local because of McDonalds!
    Jeremy B recently posted..Can travel and March for Babies save a baby’s lifeMy Profile

    • I am with you. Sometimes, there is no option or you want to try something familiar. Sometimes I want to see if the fast food tastes similar to the one at home. It is also cool to try the local fast food chains. Would like to hear your nice McDonalds experience.
      Ruth recently posted..Thailand’s Blue Tiger- Day 7 Scene 3My Profile

  3. OK, I can’t help it – I have to add more comments to this. Thought I could stop at the one but I can’t.

    #5 Those people annoy me. There is NO WAY you need to pack that much stuff for a vacation. I don’t care who you are! I have a friend who travels as a videographer with all his equipment and he doesn’t pack that much!

    #12 One of the best things about traveling is all the exercise I get. I love walking and prefer that to public transportation sometimes.

    #19 Spontaneous and unexpected experiences are the best. It still bothers me when things don’t go as planned though.
    Jeremy B recently posted..Can travel and March for Babies save a baby’s lifeMy Profile

  4. Ha! 27 is a big number but I still couldn’t find anything here to disagree with, especially about the complaining and talking about trash and so on.

    Very funny, and quite spirited! Did somebody set you off?
    robin recently posted..K is BeautifulMy Profile

    • David,

      The typical thing is people insulting the police in another language (or talking in another language when stopped). For some reason, the officers don’t let you go that easily.

      My uncle was once stopped in the Dominican Republic. He started to speak in English to the officer. The officer told him he would give him two options. You start to speak Spanish right now or I’ll arrest you. Busted!! Guess which one my uncle choose.
      Ruth recently posted..Thailand’s Blue Tiger- Day 7 Scene 4My Profile

  5. I think you’ve got it all here, Ruth. I’ve seen a lot of these behaviors while traveling and once or twice :-) been the one at fault! I like #27 — complain, complain, complain. How often have I listened to people complaining while they should be savoring the travel experience they’re lucky enough to be having. Nothing’s perfect and we can be disappointed, but you can’t let those things ruin a trip. For everything that goes wrong, there can be more things that go right.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..A French Connection on the LESMy Profile

    • Cathy,

      I am with you. I recently went on a cruise and I liked very much my dinning companions. On day 2, they startedto complain and complain when the service was near perfect.
      Ruth recently posted..Thailand’s Blue Tiger- Day 7 Scene 3My Profile

  6. I can’t stand people who travel and want everything to be like it is back home. Why did you travel for then? Stay at home and spare us all.
    Great list, definitely experienced someone who has done them all.
    Caz Makepeace recently posted..Travel Photo – City Hall- Cape TownMy Profile

    • I wish they will stay home. You are right. Wow, do you know someone who has done all of them? And I thought I knew bad travelers

    • Lorna,

      It is true. I don’t know why people complain so much about this when marketing professionals are constantly studying people to learn how to sell them things. I took a marketing class and it is scary what some marketers do. Don’t know why people can’t learn to say no graciously.
      Ruth recently posted..Bloggers Advice on How to Add More Adventure to Your LifeMy Profile

  7. Agree with every single once of these, every time I feel myself starting to complain I take a deep breath and remind myself that I am lucky to be a guest in the country.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Nazca’s got nothing on ChileMy Profile

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