What are some mistakes people make when traveling? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Janet Hsieh, TV Host, Fun Taiwan, Actress, Author:
- Not being flexible with your schedule, your itinerary, the people you may encounter on your trip, which kind of accommodations you'll stay in, what kind of foods you want to try, etc., etc., etc.
- Not being curious enough. What's the point of visiting a new country if all you do is eat at McDonald's? Or stay at large international hotels? Don't just stick to the tourist trail. EXPLORE!
- Not making an effort to talk to locals. Start up a conversation. Ask for directions. Get a suggestion for a local restaurant. Ask a local to take a picture for you (maybe even get in the picture with you!).
- Looking at the world through your phone screen or your camera lens. Some moments really need to be experienced with your eyes, your ears, your nose, your skin.
- Overposting - live in the moment! Stop feeling the need to document and share every single moment of your trip with people you've never met on social media.
- But, on that note, also try and remember to back up that phone or that SD card if you do happen to take a few pictures of your trip. It's a terrible feeling to lose special memories that you've captured on your phone/camera because you lost your phone or it got stolen or you accidentally dropped it into the toilet (you know you've done it before!)
- Not being aware of cultural sensitivities, norms, or customs. It's respectful to learn a little bit about the country where you'll be visiting and it may also save you a lot of headache and trouble (and maybe even danger) while you're there.
- Overpacking. You can wear your clothes twice. You can hand wash your underwear if you run out. Most places sell whatever it is that you may need suddenly, and plus, it's kind of fun to go shopping locally and see what products or clothes locals use and wear. (Come on - who doesn't like a little bit of shopping when they travel?)
- Sticking to only one "type" of traveling. Change it up a bit. If you normally travel with a tour group, try solo travel. If you only backpack, try splurging and treat yourself to a 5-star hotel spa treatment. If you only travel over weekends, try volunteering for a month in a foreign country. If you only ever visit cities, try going on an adventure trip, etc.
- Expecting that everybody will accept credit card. Cash still goes a long way in many parts of the world. And do you really want to miss out on trying that delicious mango shaved ice on a hot, hot day because you don't have the equivalent of a few dollars in cash and only have a credit card? I think not!
- Not being smart. Don't leave valuables out in the open. Don't get silly drunk with strangers if you know you have nobody to take care of you. Don't walk down that alley that is just a wee bit too dark for your liking. Don't forget to bring your passport. Don't get your flight dates wrong. Don't forget to check if you need a visa to get into a country. Don't forget to put on sunblock. Etc. etc. Just be smart.