There are all kinds of sage travel advice floating around for you to take; share your location with a friend or family member in case of emergencies, safeguard your hotel room, be aware of your surroundings — the list goes on.
But very few people share the travel advice they’ve gotten that was, well…bad. That’s what this list is for. Though these comments usually come from someone who means well, they’re often not the wisest practices to employ on your adventures. So, without further ado, here are seven of the worst travel tips.
We aren’t saying to withdraw your life savings from the ATM and bring all those bills on your trip. But having a little cash with you while you’re traveling is a good idea, even if you don’t think you’ll use it. You never know when you might end up at a shop or restaurant that doesn’t carry cash, or worse: your bank gets suspicious of all your swiping in an unusual location and shuts off your card!
Don’t Go Alone
This advice is usually well-intentioned and shared with safety in mind. And to an extent, those offering this tidbit are correct: there is safety in numbers. But solo travel isn’t inherently dangerous, especially if you intentionally prioritize your safety. Besides, if you’re waiting for someone to travel with you, you might end up waiting forever. Go on the trip, even if you have to fly solo. Doing so puts you in control, allowing you to fill your itinerary with what you want when you want. Plus, navigating an unfamiliar city on your own pushes you out of your comfort zone and builds confidence — two plus points in the pro column, for sure!
Stay Away From Tourist-y Areas
Imagine going to Paris and skipping the Eiffel Tower or heading to NYC without setting foot in Times Square. Sounds crazy, right? That’s because it is. Tourist attractions like those are popular for a reason. Plus, they’re a crucial part of an area’s identity. You’re doing yourself a disservice by skipping out on tourist hotspots just because you want to avoid crowds or think you’re too cool to be seen anywhere except the locals’ favorite hidden gems.
Pack Everything You Could Possibly Need
Despite what your anxiety tells you, you don’t need 12 pairs of underwear for a three-day trip. And take that t-shirt that spent the last year crumpled in the back of a drawer out of your luggage; if you don’t wear it at home, you’re probably not going to wear it on vacation, either. Avoid the temptation to overpack by planning your outfits ahead of time (choose pieces based on where you’re going, what you’ll be doing, and what the weather is like!) and leaving the “just in case” items at home; if you need it, you can buy it there.
Don’t Plan Anything
We love spontaneity as much as the next guy, but throwing care to the wind and choosing to wing it on the road isn’t always the wisest move. You don’t need to plan every minute of your vacation to the T — rigid schedules can suck the fun out of a getaway in no time — but having a general expectation of how your days will look makes traveling slightly less stressful. Besides, winging it sometimes means missing out on things, especially those that require booking in advance.
Don’t Go to *Insert Destination Here*
You know that saying, “Different strokes for different folks?” It applies to travel, too! While your friend might’ve thought Yellowstone was blah, your trip to the national park might be your favorite outing of all time. Don’t let someone else’s thumbs-down review of a destination talk you out of visiting for yourself; your experience might be the polar opposite of theirs.
It Doesn’t Matter Where You Stay
“Your hotel isn’t important. It isn’t like you’ll be spending much time there anyway.” We’ve all probably heard this advice before, and part of it is true: nine times out of 10, you’ll be out and about more often than you’re at wherever you’ve decided to stay. But where you book matters. Don’t just settle for the first place you can find; hold out for the hotel, hostel, or Airbnb that makes you feel comfortable and safe. This is where you’ll be resting after a long day of adventuring, and if it’s not an environment you feel good about being in, you won’t get much relaxation done.
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