I was scrolling through the feed of a Facebook group I’m a part of and the topic of bad travel habits came up. Other than being a hilarious insight into some of the shenanigans people get up to while traveling, the discussion thread was also an eye-opener because I realized that I, too, have been guilty of some of the faux pas mentioned. We all know some of this oh-no-you-didn’t behavior isn’t optimal, so why do we insist on doing it?
Huh? What’s that? Do I hear some of you saying, “Because it feels so, so good?”
Riiiight. Tell you what, go through this list and then tell me in the comment section which ones ring true for you.
Ballin’ on a budget
Unless you’re making and/or banking six or seven figures a year (which many of us are not), you have no business throwing bills around like you do. I’m here to tell you from experience that the ‘you only live once (YOLO), so I’m going to treat myself like a king/queen’ mentality has limits. What’s more, all those over tip, over shop, and over indulge yourself tendencies? They add up. Plus, oooh chile, you better believe the credit card statements come back to haunt you when you get home!
Doing it for the ‘Gram
Okay, so I love Instagram just as much as the next person, but the excessive risk I see some people taking to get the perfect shot is plain nuts. There’s no need to dangle off the edge of a cliff to get a good view. And no, climbing to the top of the restricted area of a skyscraper will not make you famous for the right reasons. Neither is it cool. Please be wise. People are literally falling off buildings, buffs, ledges of waterfalls and more with tragic consequences. So, before you let the daredevil inside you slip out, rein it in one more minute and ask yourself this: is my life worth one photo?
I’m pretty sure that at some point in time, we’ve all seen passengers bogged down by outrageously, super-sized luggage on group trips, or had to wait behind someone at the check-in counter who was forced to deftly negotiate the terms of his/her extra weight fee. If you are a chronic over packer reading this now, don’t despair. First, invest in a sturdy carry-on bag. Then note the golden rule when packing is: when in doubt, leave it out. Think about what you might want to do at your destination; make a checklist of what you think you’ll need, not just want; plan to mix and match pieces; and roll, not fold your clothes.
Binge eating (and drinking)
There’s no denying that trying new foods is one of the highlights of travel, but a healthy desire to indulge in the local culinary scene is no excuse for around-the-clock drinking or eating of everything and anything in sight. For example, the gelato in Italy is unlike any I’ve tasted anywhere else in the world. However, having a gelato a day for five or 10 days straight might not be the best idea. Neither is snacking non-stop on salty or sweet foods on a lengthy plane ride or road trip.
All-inclusive newbies, I’m talking to you too! If it’s your first time rocking the leave-your-wallet-at-home lifestyle, you’ve got to ease yourself into the all-you-can-eat buffet lines and skip the bar stool and free drinks before noon. Having a queasy stomach (or the runs) on vacation isn’t the most desirable thing in the world. Trying too many foods all at once, or subscribing to the raise your glass, it’s five o’clock somewhere in the world mantra is a sure way to send you rushing back to your room.
Remember, it’s not about eating just to eat. We should be eating to tantalize our taste buds, broaden our palate, and enjoy different cultural dining experiences.
Not staying hydrated
Every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies depends on water to function properly, so drinking fluids is crucial to staying healthy – at home and abroad. While alcoholic beverages, beer, sodas and juices all have some water content, there is no substitute for plain H2O. Err on the side of caution, and buy bottled water if the tap water is deemed unsafe. Or go one step further and take a reusable water bottle so you can fill up regularly from trusted sources and reduce plastic waste.
Throwing caution to the wind
If you’re pretty street savvy and cautious in your home community, it makes no sense to throw caution completely out the window when you go into vacation mode. Yes, living a life completely dictated by reserve can be boring, but it’s best to take calculated risks. I’m sure I’m not the only one who remembers a childhood of grown folk saying, “It’s better to be safe than sorry,” over and over again. In fact, when being admonished back home in colorful expressions only a Jamaican would understand, it may have sounded more like, “Fire deh a mus-mus tail him tink a cool breeze.”
But I digress. If you wouldn’t hitchhike on your own highway or main road, don’t do it when you’re away. And of course, if you don’t walk around with flashy jewelry or display expensive phones and/or camera equipment when alone in public, don’t even think about it on foreign soil.
Now, I’m going to be nice and not talk about the armrest hogs on airplanes, incessant talkers (who can’t get the earplugs or book in hand hint), or persons who pull out pungent foods at the start of a long-haul flight.
Heyyy! All I’m sayin’ is …No. Just, no.
That is all. What other bad travel habits would you add to this list?