10 Rubbish Travel Tips you Should Ignore

10-rubbish-travel-tips-you-should-ignoreWe’ve all been there. You’re bursting with excitement about your next big trip and you can’t help but tell the world and his wife all about it. But the world’s wife has A LOT of opinions. And she likes to share.

You brace yourself for the onslaught of travel hints and tips that will be fired your way.  Some of these tit bits will be genuinely insightful and prove to be invaluable… others, well, are guaranteed to be absolute garbage and should be ignored.

How ever will you manage to tiptoe your way around the rubbish travel tips and dig out the gems? Hopefully I can make things a bit clearer here and help you to put the world’s wife back in her box when needs be.

 

1. Don’t bother booking anything in advance – just go with the flow

Don’t get me wrong here – I’m as much a fan of spontaneity as the next backpacking Joe. Travel without a plan often leads you to the best places and the best stories. However, not booking accommodation for your first night (or 2) in a new place is just darn right silly.

You mark my words, you make a habit of doing this and you will spend hours lugging your backpack down questionable streets, sleeping on the floor of train stations or not sleeping at all.

Give yourself a break. Know where you’re heading to when you first arrive in a new place. Remove that initial bit of stress and give yourself time to explore and settle in. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

 

2. Ooo don’t go there you lunatic – it’s not safe.

It’s a sad fact that many people believe if they venture out of their home country or decide to explore a lesser-known land – they will not make it out alive. The news is full of horror stories every single day (notice how little good/happy/positive news makes it onto our screens these days?) – so it’s not difficult to see how these preconceptions come about. Ok, there may be places in the world at any one time that are more dangerous than others and it would be wise to avoid anywhere that poses real risk… but the fact is, there are areas like this everywhere… even in countries which are deemed ‘safe’.

This is where travel blogs come into their own. Want to visit somewhere but not sure if it is fake-dangerous or real-dangerous….You can almost guarantee that a blogger will be travelling that very place at any one time. Do some googling, read some reviews by real travel loving people and come to your own informed decision about whether or not you are willing to ‘risk’ travelling to that place.

 

3. Don’t leave home without a travel towel and a pac safe.

Those travel towels are rancid. Like seriously seriously disgusting. Yes they sound like a great idea at the time… they fold up really small, dry in no time… blah blah blah. But no sales person will level with you about the horrendous STINK they give off. GOOD LORD it is bad.

Trust me on this, no fellow traveller will want to be your friend when you smell like wet dog. If you wish to test this theory… before you leave, wash your car with a leather shammy, leave it to stew in its own filth for a few days… then shower with your garden hose (a good representation of your average hostel shower) and dry yourself with the stagnant shammy.

Don't use a travel towel

And don’t get me started on a pac safe. They weigh a tonne. And the bottom line: If some knobhead wants to steal your belongings, a little bit of metal mesh won’t stop them.

 

4. Under no circumstances eat the street food.

This is a really common tip that people with weak stomachs just love to dish out. Everybody seems to know someone who has had a dodgy belly after eating street food. Therefore, obviously all street food everywhere, ever is guaranteed to make you sick. Right? Oh no my friend.

A lot of street food is damn right delicious. Yes you may be risking a bit of a dodgy belly… but by not eating the local food, you’re missing out on experiencing a huge part of the culture of the place.

Best case scenario: You uncover some local delicacy that becomes a staple meal for your time in the country (and save a lot of money in the process!)

Worst case scenario: You spend a few extra pounds on Imodium and emerge a few pounds lighter with a good story to tell.

 

5. Don’t talk to strangers.

Well this is just silly. The world is full of strangers. And every single one of them has the potential to be a friend you just haven’t met yet. If you close up your mind to this extent, you may as well live in a hole. Get out, smile, be friendly to people you don’t yet know and get to know them. When you travel, strangers don’t stay strangers for long!

 

6. Don’t travel solo if you’re female.

Don’t travel on your own if you’re female/don’t go out without company etc. etc. are all variations on this truly RUBBISH travel tip. These people are living in the dark ages. I, like so many other travel loving women, have backpacked solo and loved every minute of it.

As long as you exercise some common sense; don’t walk around on your own at night in dangerous neighbourhoods, don’t flash your iPhone or expensive jewellery etc, etc… you’ll be fine.  You’ll also most likely discover that travelling solo is one of the most enriching things you’ve ever done.

 

7. Take an entire pharmacy in your backpack.

Newsflash. Other countries have shops too. If you run out of tampons or paracetamol, you’re not going to die. Unless you are literally in the arse end of nowhere, you will be able to find what you need. And if you are, then just be a teenie weenie bit organised and stock up en route.

 

8. You can get by without knowing any [insert language of choice here] in [insert destination here]

This may be true. But who wants to be the ignorant traveller who makes no effort? Just being able to smile and say the basics: ‘hello‘, ‘goodbye‘, ‘thank you‘ in the native language really does go a long way. It will enrich your experience, open doors and maybe even lead to friendships. Don’t be lazy… memorise some words.

 

9. Don’t Couchsurf, you might get axe murdered.

I got this one a lot before my first solo trip… and I can understand it to some extent. At the end of the day you’re rocking up at a strangers house and voluntarily lowering your guard as you slip into unconsciousness in their home. (If you’ve never heard of Couchsurfing then stop right there and check out my Quick Guide here.)

This would be a dangerous prospect if it wasn’t for the layers of security available through the Couchsurfing website. From reviews and photographs, through the profile descriptions and very comprehensive ‘vouched for’ system, there are many ways to ‘vet’ a host before you choose to surf their couch.

Just be sensible and I guarantee you will love Couchsurfing as much as I did. It may well change the way you travel forever.

 

10. Don’t travel now, it will look bad on your CV.

This is the worst advice of all. Who is this person to say that travel is less valuable than staring at a screen for 9 hours a day or serving dirty burgers at a generic fast food chain that rhymes with DacMonalds?

Yes, some companies may frown upon a gap in your CV. But sod them. If they don’t understand the benefits of travel; how it can teach, enrich and challenge… then they are probably not the type of company a travel loving person wants to work for anyway.

I could rant about this one for a fair while… in fact I already have touched on the subject in my ‘Is ‘Career’ a Dirty Word?’ post if you fancy it!

 

What is the most rubbish travel tip you’ve ever heard? It’s time to name and shame…

 

  • http://www.theglobetrottingteacher.com Jackie | Globetrotting Teacher

    Hi Gabby. Great tips and so true! The “it’s too dangerous” is especially frustrating when you know the people saying it know nothing about the so-called “dangerous” place. Every time a post smashes a myth like this, another person is inspired to travel. Well-done!

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Thanks so much Jackie! Yes the ‘too dangerous’ one is particularly frustrating. These are the people who will miss out on so many incredibly beautiful places because they are too afraid to step out of their comfort zone. Us lot are the lucky ones – we’re ready to take the leap :). So pleased you enjoyed it! 🙂

      Gabby

  • Abbi from Life in a rucksack ✈

    Great post guys! I heard so many of these tips before I went travelling by myself. I didn’t take a pac safe, I talked to strangers, I went to places where I was told were dangerous, and after a motorbike accident in Vietnam, I ended up being able to find a pharmacy and hospital where I could get supplies! Bottom line is: Don’t listen to these people telling you that travel isn’t safe etc (as they probably haven’t travelled) and just GO!

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Thanks Abbi – so pleased you enjoyed the post and so pleased you also rebelled against the rubbish travel advice! I did in fact make the mistake of taking a pac safe… it ended up abandoned after my second stop… I won’t be making that mistake again.

      Just checked out your blog and love it… I think you and I are very similar humans :). Look forward to following your travels in the UK and Europe :).

      Gabby

      • Abbi from Life in a rucksack ✈

        Hi Gabby – yeah, there are so many people out there that just have no concept of the World, and their beliefs are based on what they read in the Daily Mail! As I told my parents before I left – bad things can happen on your doorstep.

        Thanks for your comment on my blog.

        All the best with your travels. Looking forward to reading more adventures! 🙂

  • http://valisemag.com Valerie

    Love these tips… that nobody should follow! 🙂 Great way to convince people to go their own way — most travel advice should be taken with a grain of salt.

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Pleased you liked the rubbish tips Valerie! 🙂 Going your own way is so important when you travel… everyone has a different opinion about every place in the world, if you listen to everyone’s opinions, you’d never go anywhere!! 🙂

      Gabby

  • Dannielle

    Oh god, travel towels! The thought of them makes my skin crawl now!

    Loved this post!

    http://www.whileimyoungandskinny.com xx

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Haha they are a hideous invention… definitely a good concept, but in reality they are just horrible. Definitely a gap in the market for a non stinky, travel towel! Really pleased you liked the post. Will be sure to stop by you blog in a bit for a gander 🙂

      Gabby

  • http://www.loveandroad.com Love and Road

    Love the post!!!

    I just discovered I’m a lunatic, my CV looks really bad right now, and I´m probably dead inside for eating too much street food!! 😀

    Great tips not to follow guys, especially the one about accommodation. We always book one or two nights in a new destination, just to be on the safe side and then we look for another better or cheaper place 😀

    All the best,
    Nat

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      So pleased you enjoyed it Nat – thanks so much for this fab comment. Haha well in that case we can all be lunatics together! 😉

      Yeah the accommodation one is key. I know it’s not always possible if you’re on a really spontaneous trip, but being a little bit organised when you can is always a good plan!

      Will be sure to stop by your blog again soon – it’s becoming a favourite of mine :).

      Gabby

  • http://www.vetaretus-6.de vetaretus-6

    This is so true! OMG I LOVE this post! :’D Seriously people who don’t try out street food have missed out big time!

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Thank you so so much! Really pleased you like it. Absolutely, street food is one of the (many) great things about travelling – you’re so right…. miss out on that and you miss out on so much! Cheers for stopping by 🙂

      Gabby

  • http://www.tracietravels.com Tracie Howe

    Oh yes, I’ve heard most of these before. Many of which come from people who never go anywhere. Great tips!

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Absolutely Tracie. These people need to spend less time ‘advising’ and more time travelling! Thanks for the comment :).

  • Chris Nash

    Oh, you’ve touched on so many of my pet hates!

    Street food is often the best (we’ve been sick from food only once in the past 12 months)!

    Don’t book? Good luck in Europe or the US in summer.

    We’ve met so many Americans shit scared of Mexico, or English scared of Honduras. News flash. Use common sense and most places are fine.

    Great post!

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Haha so pleased you agree that they’re rubbish Chris! What’s the most rubbish bit of ‘advice’ you’ve ever been offered?? Thanks for stopping by :).

  • Natalie Tanner

    LOL! I love this straight shooting post! I think a trip would be sorely lacking if you avoid the street food! That stuff is just awesome! Thanks for the great post!
    Natalie, The Educational Tourist

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Thanks Natalie 🙂 – Oh yes, food is always high on my agenda, especially when travelling ;). Really pleased you enjoyed the post! Gabby

  • Trudi E. Crookshanks

    I absolutely love this! When I am in other places, I usually want to try their food. I want to travel to learn.

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Thanks Trudi 🙂 – Trying the food is a definite must… you’d miss out on so much if you don’t :). Thanks for stopping by!

  • Kacherelle Brown

    I love this post Gabby 🙂 You have got me so giddy to Couchsurf, I host but haven’t been hosted yet. Woop exciting times. Do you have any tips? Going to be couch surfing in China and India. 🙂

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Oh Kacherelle I can’t recommend Couchsurfing highly enough. Surfing other people’s homes gave me some of the best memories I have of my travels. I’m just working on a few posts about Couchsurfing at the moment actually so stay tuned!

      Quick tips for now though would be to put a lot of effort into your requests. Mine always resembled essays after I’d engaged with what they’d written on their profile and chatted on about why I wanted to meet them – But I always got a response! (Usually a ‘yes’)… and choose carefully – check references/verifications/profile info/couch info etc. If you do all of that, then Couchsurfing is as safe as houses and you’re sure to have an incredible experience. Can’t wait to follow your adventures in China and India.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂 – Love your blog btw!

  • http://www.mummytravels.com Cathy Winston

    Great tips – totally agree with them. The other one which annoys me is from people who do travel saying, oh you should have gone to xxx 10/20 years ago, it was much better then. Well, let me break out my time machine!

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Haha this made me laugh Cathy. So true… I get that one a lot also! Most of the people who say that probably haven’t revisited the place since 10/20 years ago either ;). Thanks for reading 🙂

      • http://www.mummytravels.com Cathy Winston

        Very true!

      • http://www.taylorheartstravel.com/ Taylor Hearts Travel

        And this one – great point!

    • http://www.taylorheartstravel.com/ Taylor Hearts Travel

      Totally agree with this one!

  • http://www.touristingaround.blogspot.pt Marta Grilo

    I just love this post. Because it’s true! I can truly relate with most of the things in your post. I’ve always wanted to do couchsurfing but I’ve never done yet. Maybe cause that opportunity didn’t came out, but I definitely wanna do it!

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Pleased you enjoyed it Marta :). Ooooo you must try Couchsurfing when you get a chance. Honestly, it’s the best decision I ever made – you’ll love it! Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Gabby

  • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

    Hey Rocio – thanks so much for the lovely comment! Absolutely, wandering around with a backpack at goodness knows what hour of the night trying to find somewhere to stay just isn’t my idea of fun. Good to know about the diarrhoea pills, i’ll be sure to stock up when i’m next in Egypt or Thailand ;).

    Ah my apologies – perhaps I should have written more of an explanation about the pac safe! Yeah… they are totally useless and a waste of weight and space. You’re right – a little lock and a bit of common sense will do the trick!

    Travelling is absolutely about stepping outside your comfort zone. That’s what’s so addictive about it :). Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • http://www.mccooltravel.com charlesmccool

    I have a t-shirt that says, “The only rule is there are no rules.”

    #1 has merit if you KNOW you will be in a destination for at least one night. For my travel purposes (road trip exploring), I do not know where I will end up and thus rarely book lodging. I do not want to be restricted by being somewhere at a certain time.

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Couldn’t agree more – rules too often kill spontaneity and adventure. Every trip is different… when I hitchhiked through Europe, we had no clue where we’d be sleeping each night – and that was one of the best parts of the trip! If you are in a situation though where you know ahead of time that you will be arriving in a town on a certain day… booking ahead can save a lot of stress. Thanks for stopping by Charles :).

      Gabby

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  • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

    So sorry Dearbh, somehow I managed to miss this comment! Really pleased you like the post…. and I totally agree! Some people are just so sheltered that they can’t fathom why on earth a female would want to explore the world alone. So they feel the need to constantly question if you’ve ‘thought it through’. I wonder if they’ve ‘thought through’ the implications of staying in one place and not exploring the world? 😉 Just checking out your blog – love it!

    Gabby

    • http://www.lifeofdearbh.com Dearbhaile

      Exactly! If I need advice, I’ll ask for it! Thanks for having a look, love your blog too, so much inspiration! 🙂 x

      • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

        Absolutely! Perhaps we should make a forehead sticker that says that for all travellers to wear in public before they leave ;). Ah fab news – so pleased it inspires you. 🙂

        Gabby

  • http://gemmajaneadventures.com Gemma @ gemmajaneadventures

    Great tips, all so true! Sometimes booking up stuff in advance is necessary, I would definitely always book up the first couple of nights at the start of a trip, just to get my bearings/ get over jetlag, but some events should also be booked in advance, like spending easter in Antigua, Guatemala to join in the festivities!

    • http://www.theglobewanderers.com TheGlobeWanderers

      Hi Gemma – thanks so much for stopping by :). Pleased you agree with all of the tips. That’s a great point also, it would be terrible to rock up somewhere and realise you can’t do the things you wanted to do due to a lack of planning. Thanks for that 🙂 – And Easter in Antigua is DEFINITELY on my list.

      Gabby

  • http://abrokenbackpack.com A Broken Backpack

    Hahaha!! Oh god. I love it.

  • Carlotta

    LOL! This is so true, especially the ‘it’s not safe’part. We grow up thinking that every other country is dangerous and the news doesn’t help in changing this idea. I wish that people saying this would actually go travel and see for themselves how wrong is this idea. And the pharmacy? My mom would always try to convince me to take the impossible with me!

  • Lauren @ atipsygypsylife.com

    Ah this whole entire article! I’m well aware people speak English in most of the world but it also doesn’t hurt to throw out a little ARIGATO in Tokyo hehe… and “strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet” is what my globe-trotting grandmother always told me.

    L

  • Lauren @ atipsygypsylife.com

    SO true… It’s like listen bro I have taken into consideration and I can open a can of whoop A whenever I need 😉