13 Things Not To Do When You Travel

Travel guides always tell you what you are supposed to do and see. What about the things not to do when you travel? In most cases, it is enough to just use our common sense to avoid uncomfortable situations, but research can help you to become a better traveler.

I’ve listed a few things not to do when you travel. Don’t worry just yet – you will still enjoy your travels!

things not to do when you travel - don't feed the wildlife#1 – Don’t feed the wildlife

Whenever you encounter wildlife such as a very tame monkey, please avoid feeding it your human-food. It may be tempting to give the animal your favorite cookie to make the perfect selfie. Don’t forget that this food is processed and is not the healthiest option to feed the wildlife.

You might think that giving food this one time won’t do any damage. Well, most likely you are not alone with that line of thought. Animals will get encouraged to seek up other humans if they know they will get (bad) human-food. They will start to depend on humans.

On your travels, encourages other to stay away from feeding the wildlife.

#2 – Don’t take photos of people without permission

Do you like if strangers take pictures of you while you, sunk in thoughts, write your parents on WhatsApp? The flashlight pops up and before you even realize it… well it’s too late.

In return, don’t just close-up images of every single person that might look interesting for your friends back home as if they agreed to being a model. Rather be nice and ask the person first if they allow you to take a picture. In most cases, people will agree and appreciate the approach you have taken. There are cultural differences as what image might be inappropriate/ rude in one country but totally acceptable in another.

things not to do when you travel - don't litter#3 – Don’t litter

It’s sad to even have to say this in 2017 but there are situations where you don’t need to act as a local as some might have told you to do. Throwing away litter is only acceptable if it ends up inside a trash bin.

If the locals throw it in the ocean, well.. Let them do it but don’t copy this behaviour. Instead, minimize your amount of waste produced to act respectful and less harmful to the environment than we do now.

#4 – Don’t share your opinion

You left your hometown, maybe for the first time, to go abroad, watch a few documentaries about the country that you are going visit and you think you are an expert now. You know what to expect, how life will be, until you realize it’s nothing like you would have thought.

Don’t take this moment to openly voice your opinion with the locals. Yes, there are moments where you will not agree with the politics, how the police works, the healthcare situation. Take these moments to reflect and keep your opinions to yourself.

Rather share these experience with your friends and family than talking down a country that you are visiting with the locals.

#5 – Don’t think that you have the jail free card

You cannot just assume that the things that are legal in your home country are legal in the country abroad. Do you research to understand the magnitude of certain offences. Running down the streets with a beer in your hand might be perfectly normal in Germany, but the same act is illegal in most states in America.

Few Muslim countries in the world prohibit physical contact in public with the opposite sex. Eating a chewing in gum in Singapore has serious consequences.

Buying Buddhist souvenirs in Thailand and leaving the country with it has serious consequences too. The list goes on and on. Just research and be on the safe side.

#6 – Be aware of differences in body language

What do you think a “thumb up’ signs means? For most our readers it will be that everything is ‘okay’, ‘perfect’ or ‘understood’. It has a positive association. Did you know that in few other countries the same hand gestures means to stick your thumb in somebody’s a**? Not really a great association. Understand the means of communication used abroad to not fall into trap.

body languages - know the differences

#7 – Don’t assume that everyone will understand English

You might not believe but I have seen people who visited a country half way across the globe and were upset that nobody speaks their language. They were trying to speak louder and slower in hope that the other person will maybe start to understand what they are saying. Don’t just expect everyone to understand your language. Take a reverse look at it.

Let’s say you are a waiter/waitress at your local restaurant in your hometown and suddenly the other person will just talk in a foreign language with you. You will be staggered. When going abroad, learn a few basic words & sentences to get along. It will not only make your life a little bit easier but you will also gain the respect of the locals as it shows that you are making an effort.

#8 – Don’t expect kitchens to cook just for you

Are you a vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, pescatarian, no gluten type of guy or sugar-free only? You have to consider some level of difficulty to find the food for you. Vegetarian food in Asia can be vegetables only but prepared with a meat-based cooking fat. Tap-water is not safe to drink in most countries in the world so stick to bottled water.

If you have any food allergies, be extra careful when abroad as the same standards as back in your home country might not applied to the production facilities. Cross-contamination exists.

#9 – Don’t disrespect the people

Visiting a tribe or a poorest area of a city is just downright inappropriate. At the end of the day, these people are people and not being put on public view for your enjoyment. How would it make your feel if you see a tourist group looking at a group of homeless people in your hometown, taking pictures and giggling around? Not that great, I assume.

You will always have to make ethical travel choices! Here are a few more things not to do when you travel! It will make your life much easier and you will save a few bucks here and there.

things not to do when you travel - don't exchange money at the airports#10 – Don’t exchange money at the airport

Please don’t! Foreign exchanges booths at the airports will try their best to offer you the worst exchange rates possible. Might as well light your money on fire. If possible use the ATM’s as they have the best exchanges rates.

Only exchange cash for emergency or the absolute necessary expenses (Taxi to your hotel, quick snacks, etc). Exchange your cash at the bank offices downtown for better rates and fewer fees. Remember though that a debit/credit card will still offer you the best rates.

The icing on the cake would be to get a debit/credit card without any foreign transaction. Look for reputable online-only banks as they can offer you the best options.

#11 – Don’t avoid travel insurances

We all hope that nothing will happens to us. We are careful in our way of approach and therefore see a travel insurance as an unnecessary expense. To be fair, you never what travel will let you experience. One day you are scuba diving, the next day bungee-jumping.

You can always break a finger/leg, get ill badly or lose your equipment. If something happens to you and you don’t have an insurance, it can cost you 1000’s of dollar. For many, this would mean to end the travel journey and fly back home. Travel insurances protect you for both medical and non-medical emergencies.

#12 – Don’t (always) take the taxis

Unless you are traveling in a group and you can split the fare, avoid taxis. In a few countries, they are not only to scam tourist, but in general, they are quite expensive. Use the public transportation as much as you can

#13 – Don’t book your trip too early

As exciting as planning out your trip can be and make it a reality as soon as possible – just don’t. Be smart and wait for the deals. Airplane tickets can be cheapest around 3 or 4 months before your planned departure. Everyone else will be overpaying.

I hope you can be a better traveler and find more rewarding travel experiences with these little tips & tricks. Check out SimOptions if you are still looking for a way to connect to the internet abroad. We offer SIM Cards for 50+ countries! Click here to see the products.