Often times when we plan to go for a trip, all we look out for are the things to do while we travel. It is no surprise that most articles you’ll find on the internet are about things to do to stay safe while traveling, things to do before traveling abroad, things to do to pack light and things to do in that particular country. It is so hard to find articles about the things not to do when you travel yet they are also equally important. So today, we are going to jump out of the norm and focus on what not to do while traveling.
And even though some of these things might seem obvious, they are actually not and a little knowledge about them won’t hurt.
Things you should never do while traveling
1. Do not exchange money at the airports.
I actually thought this is a known thing until I saw almost all forex exchange offices at the airport full. Yes, I know they are also in business to make money but as a budget traveler, your goal is to cut down all unnecessary expenses.
Exchange rates are incredibly crazy at the airports since they assume you’ll need money as soon as you land in a new country. So the best way to beat this is by either exchanging money before you leave your country or wait until you reach the nearest city center to get the best rates.
2. Do not eat at restaurants near famous touristic places.
I kind of learned this the hard way! Sometimes the stomach never understands that restaurants at major tourist sites are abnormally expensive but your wallet will later testify.
On my trip to Egypt, after a very fun but exhausting tour of the Giza pyramids, all I wanted was to eat regardless of what I ate or from where. So I hopped into the first restaurant I could see which was just outside the Giza pyramids gate. At that time I didn’t even realize that the food was expensive since I didn’t know the real price until I went back to Cairo center and realized that the meal fee was almost 3x higher at the pyramids and actually less tasty.
So the lesson is not to never eat at restaurants near the famous touristic places unless you can’t contain it, it’s better to go to the nearest town where food is cheaper and probably tastier.
3. Do not think that you know better than anyone else.
Sometimes some tourists want to act like they know better than anyone else including the locals just because they think they made extensive research on the internet prior to their trip. Sometimes the best thing to do is to lay low, ask questions and learn instead of acting like you know everything. Even if you think you know everything, I bet there is something new you’ll learn by just being humble.
4. Do not overstay on your phone.
I admit I am like a phone junkie addicted to her phone! But when I travel, I try to minimize the number of times I am on my phone to enjoy the place I am at. ( There still more work to be done about this though)
I know we all want to stay connected to the world when we travel but how about putting the phone down for a second, socialize with the locals or other travelers, get out and do fun activities instead of being hooked onto the phone! You will have plenty of time to do that when you go back to your home country.
5. Do not be afraid to try out new foods
In my opinion, after visiting some of those cool touristic places, the next best thing to do is try out local foods. Don’t let the fear of getting sick or food poison stop you from trying out new foods that might actually turn out to be your favorite- well unless you’re allergic to something in particular.
6. Do not use sign languages that might be considered inappropriate in that country.
Sometimes having a bad experience in a particular country can start from something as small as using a sign language considered inappropriate in that area. However innocent a sign language might seem to you or back in your country, it might have a completely different meaning that might even be offensive. So before you travel abroad, find out some of the sign languages deemed offensive in that country or if possible just stay away from using sign languages.
7. Do not dress inappropriately.
Many times tourists have this idea of “they will understand that I am a tourist and they won’t care.” Even though in some places you might get that tourist pass, in some places you might just end up creating unwanted attention for yourself or even cat callings if it’s just too much. So do not dress inappropriately while you travel. The dress code differs from country to country, so research to see what is appropriate for that particular country because what’s considered appropriate for one country might not be for the other.
8. Do not compromise your safety for adventure.
Sometimes travelers go overboard for adventure not taking into account of their personal safety. The idea of getting the perfect photos and ticking items off the bucket list is drawing more tourists to the adventure side first instead of safety. So however much you want to have the best time of your life, do not compromise your safety. Read this post to find out how you can stay safe while traveling.
On top of that, you can also carry an anti-theft backpack to ensure the safety of your travel items. This anti-theft backpack is not only secure but also water-resistant to safeguard your essentials against rain.
9. Do not pack a lot of stuff
Some of the things you should never do while traveling is packing too much stuff. I think I am never going to stop advising travelers not to pack a lot. Packing too much stuff isn’t just inconveniencing while using public transport but it can also turn out to be costly in paying extra fees for your luggage. So try not to pack a lot of things, just pack what you will need not what you think you might need. The best way to help you pack light is by using packing cubes. These packing cubes from Amazon are the ones I recommend buying. You can also purchase a travel luggage scale to help you ensure you don’t exceed a certain weight while packing. You don’t need to buy something fancy, even this cheap one from Amazon will do the job perfectly well
Need more tips to pack light? Read this great article to find out how to pack light and hence traveling light.
Nevertheless, packing light doesn’t mean leaving behind the most important Travel items. Here are some of the things you should never leave home while traveling.
10. Do not be afraid to shift a little away from your itinerary.
I agree having a well written out itinerary keeps you organized but sometimes being spontaneous to enjoy the moment can be much better and more fun. Personally, I am not an organized junkie or perfectionist when it comes to planning, I just go with the flow. And the cases I was spontaneous, that’s when I had the best time while traveling.
So even if you’re a perfectionist planner, do not be afraid to be spontaneous, you might just have the experience of a lifetime by letting loose.
11. Do not try to see everything
Traveling should be a fun thing to do as you enjoy the attraction sites in-depth not racing from one place to another just to tick them off the bucket list. You should try to enjoy and have a great experience not get burned out doing so many things at the same time. The best way to do this is to be realistic about the time and money you have and what is achievable with that.
12. Do not expect everything to go your way.
I don’t mean to scare you but a little preparedness can help you here. Sometimes the unforeseen can happen, you might get mugged( i really hope it doesn’t happen), it might rain heavily and you need to cancel the activity planned out for the day or your flight might even get canceled. When traveling, such things should be expected but this shouldn’t stop you from having an amazing trip. Just dust yourself up and go have an adventure of a lifetime.
Also, be flexible in that if one activity is undoable due to things like weather, have something else lined up so that you don’t kill the entire day sleeping and sobbing about something that didn’t work out as planned.
13. Do not expect to use your credit /debit card everywhere
You will be so much disappointed if you travel thinking that you’ll be using a credit card for all your transactions. Yes, in some places this could be possible but if you’re traveling to places like Africa or even some parts of Europe, and Asia, having cash on you all the time will make your travels easier.
14. Do not get involved in politics
For the love of God! Stay away from politics. People have different ideologies when it comes to politics and the way people react to it is a totally different story. So instead of getting caught in the middle of the entire story, just ignore politics-related conversations unless you’re completely sure that it’s ok to talk about it in that country and that the person you’re talking with is open-minded.
15. Do not forget to be street smart
Frequent travelers know that the best way to have an amazing trip is to be street smart. Street theft and tourist traps are very common in major city centers around the world and the only way of not being a victim is by being a smart traveler.
Bargain as much as possible not to get ripped off just because you’re a tourist, wear your daypack from the front to avoid pickpockets, read about general tourists scams to be aware of them before you travel. All in all, don’t forget to be street smart as you enjoy your travels. And if you can, buy an anti-theft backpack instead of the normal ones to keep your essentials safe.
16. Do not discuss issues of race, gender, and minorities
Some of the other things you should not do while traveling is discussing issues of race, gender, and minorities. In some places like the US, these issues are as serious as politics and religion. So before you make your self comfortable and start talking about such topics, be aware of whom you’re talking with. Are they ok talking about such things or they’ll be offended by them?
It all goes back to knowing the person you’re talking to and whether such topics are ok to be discussed in that country. The best way to handle this is to first ask the person whether it’s ok for them instead of jumping right in because you want to keep the conversation going.
Now that you know all things not to do when you travel, it’s time to head out for an amazing adventure on the road. And if this post was really helpful to you, consider sharing it with others so that they also get the valuable information you got.
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More travel tips to help you travel better
- Important things to do before an international trip
- Biggest mistakes to avoid while traveling in Europe
- How to plan a trip from scratch
- Carry on essentials you need for a long flight
- How to survive a long flight in economy
- How to make friends while traveling solo
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