What to Avoid When You Travel

Traveling is the best.  But sometimes after long flights, longer bus rides and lumpy hostel beds you find that it doesn’t bring out the best in you.  In fact, it turns you into a big, old jerk.   Suddenly you’re the one yelling “Doesn’t anyone speak English in the god forsaken place?!” and smashing the souvenirs you bought yesterday.  It’s not pretty.

Fortunately for you would-be-jerks you have an even bigger jerk friend right here to help steer you away from seeing red.  After my fair share of poor behavior and day after regrets, I can confidently say that there’s hope even for the jerkiest of us jerks.

The trick to avoid throwing away your name is to avoid the things that irritate you.  I mean really irritate you, especially when you’re tired, hungry and feeling overwhelmed in a new place.  Do yourself a favor and keep your distance from the things that will inevitably erk you over the edge and into the giant void of a-hole.

Things to Avoid When Traveling

The overly opinionated

It’s great to have opinions.  It’s great to learn from others’ opinions.  But not when your tummy is rumbling from last night’s extra hot curry.  There is a time and place for strong stances, and that place is not when your top priority is finding a bathroom.  Follow the advice of Miss Manners and excuse yourself from conversations that centre on touchy subjects until you’re feeling a bit less touchy.

Crowds

Avoid whenever possible

Although you’d love to have the Sistine Chapel all to yourself, the reality of traveling is that others also came to see it.  Crowds are a thorn in every traveler’s well worn sandal.  You’ll have to deal with them at some point if you really want to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece.   But on hot days when you can feel the grumpiness settling in, avoid the crowds and give yourself some space.  It’s better to spend a few extra hours relaxing in your hotel room than having a public meltdown that even the Pope will hear about later.

Political debates

As you travel you will meet people with different political beliefs.  Often it’s interesting to hear what they have to say.  But you have to be in the right mood to listen to what may seem ridiculous or even insulting and then respond politely.  Don’t get sucked in to these political debates when you’re already starting to feeling testy after you missed your bus ride.  Rather claim apathy than wind up being the one pounding on the table later on.

The very slow and old

There’s a lot we can learn from the elderly.  Often they have interesting stories and words of wisdom to impart to the younger generation.  But sometimes they’re, well, old.  When you’re rushing to catch your plane or stressing to fit a million tourist sites in one day, it’s best not to engage in tales of the Great Depression with the local senior citizens.  After all, you don’t want to be the rude one interrupting them halfway through to grab a taxi.  Wait until you have a few minutes, or hours, to dedicate to hearing tales of years gone by.

The very loud and young

Aren’t children lovely?  Aren’t they fun and energetic?  Yes, and sometimes, when you’re struggling to overcome your travel-induced headache, they’re just plain annoying.  Recognize moments where you need a break from hustle and noise and step away from the children.

Your travel partner

Take a break from each other before things get to this point.

Even your best friend or spouse can get on your nerves after a while.  Love and friendship are tested hard after being stuck in a miniature train compartment for 14 hours.  It’s ok to take a break from your travel partner.  Rather a few hours break than a permanent break up once the trip is over.  Serial travelers, Jillian and Danny of I Should Log Off, understand that absence does make the heart grow founder and recommend giving yourself some space from your partner every five hours.  If it works for them, it can work for you.  Discuss the realities of traveling together ahead of time and be sure to each bring your own i-pod.

Unibrows

I love you, Frida, but your unibrow...

Maybe it’s just me, but unibrows are annoying.  Like make me crazy want to pluck a stranger’s eyebrows annoying.  They just stare at you like some never ending hairy alien thing across a perfectly nice human face.  Whatever your inexplicable pet peeve is, steer clear and look away when your feet hurt after a hard day of traveling.

Traffic

ugh

Amazingly traffic is just as annoying overseas as it is at home, especially when eats in to your already-too-short stint in a new place.  As much as you can, try and schedule jaunts across town at times when traffic is light.  If you’re staying in a new city remember that they have rush hour, too.  Beat the rush by exploring whole areas at a time.  That way you can park the car for the day and make your away around on foot.

By recognizing your own limits and annoyances you can avoid unpleasant travel situations.  What are some things that irritate you when you travel?

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2 responses to “What to Avoid When You Travel”

  1. Allison says :

    Unibrows…really?

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