10 Things Not to Do While Traveling


Mumbai, 2013

  1. Don’t speak English (speak the local language)
  2. Don’t eat McDonalds or drink Starbucks (explore local food)
  3. Don’t travel with check-in luggage (keep everything to a small carry-on)
  4. Don’t keep to yourself (make new friends in the streets)
  5. Don’t try to see everything (it is better to see fewer places more thoroughly)
  6. Don’t travel without water
  7. Don’t be addicted to your devices (fast from social media)
  8. Don’t forget to keep a daily journal
  9. Don’t stay at an expensive hotel (use more money for experiences)
  10. Don’t go with a plan; explore, get lost, and be a flaneur

And of course– don’t listen to me. What else don’t you do while traveling? Add to this list in the comments below!

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  • Geir

    Don’t speak English? Works well in Turkmenistan. :) The rest? Of course, very sound advice.

  • A Almulla

    Although people are friendly in general …
    1) Look up local customs before heading to a new place
    2) Ask whats culturally acceptable when you get there

    What the law says is fine to do doesn’t mean culturally its acceptable.
    As for getting “social media” addicted, get a line for your cellphone but avoid the internet option.

  • http://www.HofmanPhotos.com JH

    A few others:

    – Understand when you need to ask permission to take a photo (especially with children).
    – If you’re planning to go deep into the dark alleys – get a “fixer” (local who speaks the language and knows how to get out of trouble).
    – Don’t dress like a tourist. Blend.
    – Use a gear bag that doesn’t look like a gear bag.
    – Sit on a bench and let the photos come to you instead of you going to find the photos.
    – Watch the weather. Sometimes it changes fast in some location so you need to be aware.
    – Restaurants, shops & markets are my “go-to” locations in small towns.
    – Check your settings & battery levels BEFORE you leave the hotel room.
    – Don’t pay people for photos.

  • http://brandonballwegphotography.com Brandon Ballweg

    Good point about speaking the local language – you will have a much more enriching and fulfilling experience if you put a little effort into this. At least know the simple phrases like please, thank you, excuse me, etc. Which brings me to this point:

    -Prepare well in advance! You know that little thumb grip or camera strap that you love so much? These things can be hard to keep track of so give yourself a few days in advance to start packing and you won’t forget stuff like this. In my opinion, once you get to your destination the planning goes out the window – get lost, explore, and have fun.

  • http://backyardtramp.com Benny Wu

    1. Don’t be afraid to leave the “central tourist district”. Figure out the local transport system (rent a bicycle or scooter), go for a ride, get off at random stops and discover new areas to explore and return to.
    2. Don’t eat at the familiar and comfortable places, keep an eye out for eateries packed with locals and give it a whirl. (almost always on side, side, side, side, side streets)
    3. Don’t get attached to any of your belongs. At some point, things will get lost, stolen or destroyed and that’s okay. Great experiences are still there, waiting for you to discover them. Besides, travel mishaps always make for the best stories.

  • Polly Rusyn

    Don’t forget to pack your sense of humour as well as your sense of adventure (and your camera of course!) :-)

  • tavis

    Great list Eric! I would also add:
    1-Stay in a Hostel to meet other travelers.
    2-Break bread or get drunk with the locals.
    3-Get to locations very early to beat the crowds.

    Keep up the fun articles man!

  • Bryan Haywood

    Speaking a different language is easier said than done. Doesn’t mean I don’t think you shouldn’t try. Also, Couch surfing is a great way to save money and you will be staying with a native but just be careful.

  • pincherio

    Don’t follow blindly what others tell you to do. Consider their opinions but, in the end, you have the final say. Do what will make you enjoy your trip, not what will make others enjoy their trip.

  • http://www.simbius26.blogspot.com/ Brian Hinesley

    Dig the shot eric!