Do you know anybody who acts like a travel know-it-all? There is nothing worse than being amped up to go on your latest vacation only to have a personified rain-cloud dump a bunch of negative travel advice all over your parade. So what now? Do you listen? Or go anyways?
The most important part of receiving travel advice is to realize a couple of things:
- Any type of advice is rooted in caring. Someone cares enough about you that they want to impart some advice to make sure you stay safe.
- Fear can be either a huge motivator or a crutch that controls you and holds you back. How you feel about something depends on your comfort level around it. If you are experiencing a place or activity for the first time, there can be some nervousness or anxiety involved. Fear in moderation is a good thing if it keeps you from being complacent and helps keep you aware and critically thinking through all your decisions.
Without further ado let’s get on with it. We’ve called on some of the most hardcore travel bloggers to give us the worst travel advice they’ve ever been given…
“Supposed” Location Experts
1. “Don’t go to [Insert country name here]” -Mike from Bemused Backpacker
While some very horrific things have happened to tourists on vacation, the percentage is small and it is very situational. We would hope you would never go anywhere without doing a little bit of research first. We also won’t be discriminatory; almost every country in the world can be put on that list for one reason or another. The next time someone questions you, feel free to turn it around on them and say “Have you been there?” If the answer is “No” – it may not be a very informed opinion.
2. “Be careful when you are in… You’re going to get…” -Ruth from Exploramum (and Explorason)
Acts of violence are awful. They can happen anywhere though, even in your own country. It shouldn’t be a reason for not traveling. Instead, always take a full dose of common sense and apply it to every place you visit.
We’d been traveling for 5 years and 68 countries, and the USA was the only place we looked death in the face when a man pulled a gun on us.
3. “Don’t talk to strangers” – Michele from She Is Going Places
So I don’t know about you, but I don’t really know that many people in any new country I am visiting. Who am I supposed to talk to for the whole week then? I think it would actually be more dangerous not to talk to anyone to ask them for advice, directions or help if needed. Especially when at a hotel or resort, you would hope there was a vetting process for all employees. Of course if you Google enough things you can find bad news stories.
I think the fear behind this advice might be situations where you don’t just talk to the stranger but then decide to go somewhere with them. Considering we are constantly told about ‘stranger danger’ as children, it is easy to see how this fear can continue into adulthood. I would tweak this advice to say “be friendly to strangers, but always follow your common sense.”
4. “Don’t get lost” –Cathie from She Talks Travel
This goes without saying – nobody tries to get lost. With the modern technology of today, most travel bloggers have more resources than they know what to do with: maps, GPS, smart phone apps…and have done extensive planning on every place that we go to. If you find yourself reaching for that local map, make sure it’s to scale and that it’s actually of the place you are visiting.
5. “Don’t use public transport” – Hannah from Getting Stamped
Why not? Sometimes driving a car can be just as dangerous, especially in bigger cities where they have fatal accidents every year. Renting a car can be seen as safer, but if you aren’t used to road conditions or driving in traffic, this can be a poor choice as well. Public transportation is a safer option, especially in places like New York and Hong Kong.
Two of my favorite cities Bangkok and Hong Kong can have terrible traffic but both have great public transport. Public transportation often gets a bad rap, but in reality it’s practical and the most cost effective way to see a city. My #1 Hong Kong Travel tip is take the airport express train, it’ll have you in the heart of city in less than 25 minutes and at a fraction of a taxi price. On our first trip to Thailand we spent 3 days in Bangkok and only took public transport (buses, boats, subways) and some of our favorite memories were the random stops we got off while riding the bus. If you look in the picture you can spot Adam on the bus taking this photo!
6. “Don’t stay in hostels” – Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
Sure, there have been some crazy hostel experiences out there. But generally speaking, hostels have proved to be great places to meet like-minded travelers, to find company for a meal or a tour even when traveling solo, and to simply relax after a long day of commuting. Don’t fear the lower budget hostel.
7. “Book you accommodations last minute/on the fly”
This can be such a costly option. Recently I booked a trip that cost me $500 and a few days later another traveler paid $1500. Sure, you can sometimes get some awesome cruise or vacation deals last minute, but you have to be really, really flexible. When you have a choice, always book travel accommodations in advance and far enough out to get discounts so you can make your money stretch further (and go on more vacations!)
8. “Make sure you don’t bring any valuables (unless you are going to wealthy countries). If you do, lock your valuables in the safe at all times.” –Inma from A World To Travel
Where do we start with this one? First, how do you define a wealthy country? Secondly, why bring your valuables at all if you’re just going to have them locked in the safe at all times? The exception is perhaps your passport…but if it is going to create anxiety on your trip, leave those diamond sparklies at home and maybe reconsider having such expensive items that you have to spend so much time worrying about someone stealing them? That’s not what a vacation is for! It’s for relaxing.
9. “Don’t eat the street food or you’ll get sick” – Margherita from The Crowded Planet
If you don’t ever enjoy street food you might be missing out! The assumption that all food that is cooked outdoors is dirty and unsanitary is just not true. Although there are examples of everything, there is always a chance you might get food poisoning from restaurants in your own country. Some places of Milan and Malaysia, China, Cuba, and Brazil have amazing street food industries.
10. “We don’t need immunizations this time” –Carolynne from The Thirsty Tourist
Do the research…
Before going on our last cruise they recommended we get vaccinated for yellow fever. My Dad being my dad, said he didn’t want to spend the $130 pp to get the vaccination. He said he would rather stay on board the ship than get the shot. But Dad, what about all the other people getting off the ship? None of them are carriers?
Bottom line, if you are going to a destination, I’d recommend getting the appropriated recommended vaccinations. Better safe than sorry right?
11. “Save your money, you don’t need travel insurance” – Karen from Play Outside Gal
Famous last words. Did you hear about my trip to China? Travel insurance is there for you when you need it, and you can have peace of mind. Karen weighs in…
On two separate occasions I have been so sick abroad. I got mumps in Japan (despite getting all my shots!) and needed blood work. Another time I was ill in Thailand and needed to check into a tropical disease clinic in Japan. Thankfully insurance covered the clinic visits and the seven different types of medication I needed to take for 2 weeks afterwards. I was so glad I didn’t listen to not getting the travel insurance.
12. “Just Wait…” – Lauren from Wanderlust Movement
Don’t we all have stories like this? We always seem to be waiting for something. Waiting until flights are cheaper, you’ve saved more money, or waiting until someone can align their schedule to go with you. If you wait long enough, you might just be waiting forever to go on that dream vacation. Don’t let life and opportunities pass you by.
13. “They Will Wait For Us” – Jerome from Travel Boldly
Don’t ever assume that other countries are as polite and that they will wait for you.
I remember when traveling with a friend by train in Peru from Machu Picchu. The train had lurched to a halt in the station and we were traveling with a mountain of equipment. My friend implored me that we should hurry and begin offloading our multitude of bags off the train. I replied with the advice that we should let everyone else get off first, so we could then move down the aisle easier. After all, they wouldn’t being moving the train with us still on it. However, I was dead wrong! In the midst of moving our dozens of bags and camera cases off the train, it began to move and I ended up hauling bags and throwing them down the track until I hopped off. To this day when ever I offer travel advice to my friend he cheekily says, “What are they going to do, leave with us still on the train?” Never again.
14. “Just bring cash or traveler’s cheques” – Ivan from Mind The Travel
If you only bring dollar bills on your next trip, you might become a walking robbery target – especially if you are taking out a wad of bills and counting them out each time or if those dollar bills are in US currency as it is almost a universal currency. Credit cards and interact are mostly globally accepted and have security chips that make them the safer option. Anyone who tells you to carry traveler’s cheques may be from a different era entirely…do those even exist anymore?
15. “Change your currency when you get there”
This is not always the best idea. I’ve personally been a victim of bank fraud, credit card fraud, and have gotten ripped off at money exchange places. If possible, look into changing your currency at home before you go. If not? Try the hotel front desk before using any local ATM or INTERAC machines.
16. “It’s Okay Treat Yourself, You’re On Vacation”
Well you can, but be aware of all the currency fees, exchange rates and charges that may be waiting for you when you get home. A few souvenirs are a good thing, but don’t get carried away! Keep this advice in mind for booking excursions as well.
17. “Don’t worry, it’s free”-Lorie from She Talks Travel Facebook Group
Be wary of people trying to give you things for free while you are on vacation. While we agree, everything after the initial vacation booking SHOULD be free, they often aren’t. Special breakfasts often can lead to a two hour high pressure sales pitch for a time share. Trust me, once you’ve been tricked into attending these meetings, you’ll be very wary in the future no matter what country you are in.
18. “Only go to places in the guidebook” (don’t explore on your own) –Marissa from Darling Escapes
The best adventures come from exploring on your own. Of course be safe, but don’t be afraid to see and experience a place outside of a strict itinerary.
19. “Avoid The Tourist Traps”
But these are the best spots. Who doesn’t want a picture with the Eiffel Tower or Machu Picchu? How about posing on the Great Wall of China? Naw, we will continue going to the tourist traps. However, for the sake of our sanity we might not visit at peak hours and view them in the off seasons.
20. “Plan as you go.” –Chris from The Thirsty Tourist
I’ve had plenty of days like this with dear Chris along, and what do we end up doing? Not much. It can be a letdown to realize you spent all that time and money visiting a place, and when looking back at the pictures seeing evidence of missed opportunities.
21. “Try to see as much as possible…”
You’ll be exhausted and run down once you get home. There’s nothing worse than needing a vacation from your vacation. The solution? Don’t worry about cramming every little thing into your itinerary. Instead, if you love a place, plan to visit again!
Still with us? Phew that was a lot. We think that’s the whole encyclopedia of travel advice! Don’t forget to check out all these awesome bloggers by checking out the links beside their names. Know someone who needs some travel advice debunked? Be sure to share this with them!
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