Traveling is one of the greatest pleasures in life, and many people bask in the incomparable experience that travel bestows upon them. While there are things that travel allows you to do, there are also other things not to do to better enjoy your journey.
Here are some of the things to avoid so you get the most out of your trip to your dream destinations.
1. Getting wasted
Immersing yourself in the local culture by visiting the local pubs, bars, or clubs is a good way to know a destination. Drinking cultures vary from country to country, and it is very interesting to compare these cultures after your travels. However, restricting yourself to just visiting watering holes is a complete waste of an experience—you can easily get wasted at home! Those days that you spent in your hotel or hostel nursing a nasty hangover and not seeing the local attractions and landmarks does not really count as a pleasurable travel experience. Neither does getting so high that you can barely remember the trip itself. Do not waste your money or time with things that you can easily do at home.
2. Refusing to visit holy sites
Okay, we understand that you might not be completely sold with the idea of religion, but holy sites such as temples, mosques, or churches make up a good chunk of a destination’s culture and identity. Some might claim that seeing one church is like seeing everything anyway, but if you do not want to learn more about the place that you are visiting, then why go there at all?
3. Refusing to visit museums and historical sites
Some people might balk at the idea of visiting museums (“oh, it’s just a couple of uninteresting exhibits anyway”), but history is an essential part of every culture. Traveling is all about widening your horizons and gaining deeper insight about our beautiful world, and refusing to visit a “pile of rubble” is also a rejection of a certain culture’s identity.
4. Getting on organized tours
These days, booking your own flight and designing your own travel itinerary is so much easier. There are also plenty of travel guides available both in bookstores and the Internet. Booking your trip through a travel agent is not only a waste of money, but also forfeiting your chance for a wonderful experience. When you go on your own itinerary, you can be sure that you see the places you want to see and get the experience that is worth your money.
5. Being culturally insensitive
Western culture is not the only culture in the world. Given this fact, it is best to be sensitive to the culture of the country you are visiting. Do not wear immodest clothing (shorts, tank tops, open-toed shoes, etc.) to a conservative country, and most especially in holy sites. Dressing more conservatively does not mean that you are completely agreeing with their restrictive standards—it means that you are not culturally ignorant.
6. Eating at a chain restaurant all the time
Food is one of the most important parts of a culture, and spending all your meal times at a McDonald’s is just sad.
7. Speaking only to other tourists
Yes, they probably speak English, but do spend some time talking to the locals for a more memorable trip, where you learned a lot and made new friends from different cultures.