Travellers seem to come as 2 types of people. Those who embrace travel and get involved in the environment they go to, and those who probably should have stayed home. There are the people who will try that new fandangled food even though they’re a bit wary of it, and then the people who complain that the McDonald’s in x town isn’t as good as the one at home.
On my recent holiday I thought about some things travellers can do to make the most of their holidays.
- Figure out what side of the footpath people walk on. Or what side of the escalator people stand on. You’re not at home now Toto, and locals can get annoyed with travellers who can’t be bothered noticing that different rules apply. There’s a reason Londoners don’t spend a lot of time on Oxford Street and New Yorkers steer clear of Times Square. It’s the same in many major tourist destinations, lots of people not thinking. It’s not that hard, if you can do it at home, you can do it on holiday.
- Never compare. A long time ago, I think this was the best piece of travel advice I ever received. If you spend your whole holiday comparing where you are to where you live or to where you’ve been, you’re not making the most it… And you will probably sound like a douche. Appreciate what you’re seeing and doing for what it is…or if nothing can ever beat home…don’t go anywhere.
- Malls are not tourist destinations. Sure on my last trip I spent a significant amount of time at a mall, but I also saw the town I was visiting. A mall is a mall is a mall. You’re enclosed in a false environment with shops that you probably have at home. Did you really pay all that money for your holiday to see something that you have at home? See the local markets, walk to high streets, find the laneways, there is always something better to see.
- Do you really need to barter? I’ve not been to Indonesia, India, Vietnam or any of those places where you hear holiday makers saying things like ‘Oh you know, you’re supposed to barter, the locals love that.’ Really? Do they? Those locals who probably earn just a few dollars a day, love it when you try to bargain down the price of a tee-shirt from the equivalent of $5.00 to $4.00. If you can afford to travel in the first place, chances are that $1.00 you saved is not going to make any difference in your day, but it could well do in someone else’s. In my opinion, a good traveller should think about the lives of the locals in the place they’re visiting and act appropriately.
- Explore. This sounds obvious, and if you’re on an adventure holiday there’s every chance that will happen. However, if you’re visiting somewhere you’ve been to before or if you’re visiting a big city or someplace that has tourist attractions on tap, sometimes it’s easy to forget there are other things to see. Check out guided walking tours of places for some background information you may not have known. Throw away your street map and go for a walk. Enjoy the journey instead of just the destination.