How to Avoid Being a Travel Moron

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Written by: Helen Winter

Some of them we’re guilty of doing, others we’re guilty of not stopping before it was too late. Regardless of country, scenery or cultural value, there’s always that one tourist who just can’t help committing an unsightly travel fail. Be sure to read this guide to avoid being that one tourist!

Don’t expect everyone to speak English

We’ve all seen it, and if you haven’t seen it, you’re probably the one doing it. The ultimate cringe moment is when some know-it-all in the restaurant thinks that by speaking slower and louder in English to a non-English speaker will suffice as adequate translation.

Don’t complain about the quality of cheap hotels

It happens to us all. You boast about how you managed to get four nights in a notoriously expensive city for only £160 for two people…and then you complain when you arrive and the room is tiny and your ‘double’ bed is two single beds pushed together. True story.

Don’t choose where to eat based on free WiFi

Most of us can hold our hands up to this. If that little dome of curved lines isn’t on the doors of a restaurant or cafe then it’s on to the next place. I mean, how else are we supposed to show everyone on Twitter what an #incredible time we’re having on our #gapyear?

Don’t pose in front of religious monuments

*Insert groan here* The awkward repositioning of camera and view finder to pick that perfect position where your hand looks really big, and the sacred statue looks really tiny, creating an undoubtedly hilarious photo. Ha… Ha… No. Just stop it.

Don’t ignore local customs

In Buddhist temples a woman should step out of the way of an approaching monk, in Brazil the ‘okay’ hand gesture is offensive, and both men and women should cover up before visiting a temple or cathedral, no matter how hot it is. Do your research before you leave and save yourself from committing an awkward travel faux pas.

Don’t wear flip flops on a hike

Not as an unusual sight as you’d think. So many inexperienced hikers think they can take on epically ambitious treks in flip flops and the simple answer is no, you can’t. You’ll just find yourself with bleeding feet, agonising blisters and nowhere to go but up or down…

Don’t join an over-enthusiatic walking tour

Walking tours are a great way to learn about the city you’re in and meet some new people, but just remember to think of the pedestrians. Whilst you’re snapping famous buildings, the locals around you are going about their day to day life. Literally around you. Walking tours are notorious for blocking entire pavements and entrances. Try as much as you can – even though you might not convince the whole group – to stay aware of this. Also, don’t wear matching bandanas!

Don’t eat at an international fast food chain

Finding tourists in a fast food chain is one depressing sight. Why go all the way to France to sit in a Starbucks instead of a quaint coffee shop, or visit Japan and forgo sushi for McDonalds? The local food is likely to be cheaper and taste a lot better!

So, have we missed any? Let us know your most toe-curling travel fails in the comments below!

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