13 Ways You're Being an Annoying Traveler
Someone had to say it.
There is nothing more wondrous than travel. That said, there are a lot of times when traveling is a royal pain—and in most cases, the unfortunate event involves a run-in with one of these worst offenders. In the context of air travel alone, there's a colorful cast of characters: the grumpy airline attendant, the guy who takes his socks off mid-flight, and the folks who think showing up to the airport in their pajamas is an innocuous sartorial choice (hint: it's not). But chances are, while you're busy pointing fingers, you're guilty of committing a few sins yourself. So, in the spirit of making the world of travel a little less irksome, here are 13 ways you (yes, you!) are guilty of being an annoying traveler.
Trying to exclusively converse in a foreign language after studying it on Duolingo for a day
If you've ever tried to order a meal in Paris after a day or two of "brushing up" on your high school French via Duolingo, you know first-hand how kindly the locals take to you "speaking" their language. Best case scenario: you successfully utter a few words that bring you exponentially more satisfaction than the person on the receiving end. Worst case scenario: you end up offending someone's mother (true story!)
Boasting about the number of countries you've been to
We hate to break it to you, but no one cares about the number of countries you've visited. The spirit of travel is defined by curiosity and awe—not arrogance or conceit. And when you brag about all the cool travel experiences you've had, it doesn't make people want to ask you all about it; it makes them want to punch you in the face.
Being an obnoxious selfie-taker
By all means, do it for the 'Gram. Just don't spoil the holiday-going experience for others—or worse, risk your or anyone else's personal safety—just for the sake of acquiring a photo that, let's face it, looks identical to the 10,000 other selfies stored on your phone.
Showing up to the airport looking like a slob
We get it, traveling is uncomfortable. Economy seats are tight, and cabin air pressure can cause limbs to swell to hulk-like proportions. That being said, there is no excuse to show up to the airport wearing the same slovenly-looking sweat pant and T-shirt combo you fell asleep in last night. Do better, people: if you must, buy a pair of jeggings.
Comparing everything to home
We're sure your city is nice. We bet it has many great things going for it. But there's a time and place to boast about your hometown, and it's not when you're standing on the Great Wall of China, taking in Impressionist masterpieces at the Louvre, or soaking up views of Rio de Janeiro from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Traveling is an opportunity to broaden your horizons—take advantage!
Refusing to try different foods
Mac and cheese is delicious, on that we can all agree. But when you're on holiday in Italy, for example, and given the option to eat something as indulgent as linguini alle vongole, we will judge you HARD if you ask the chef to recreate America's favorite meal-in-a-box. One of the best ways to learn about a destination is through its food, so step outside your comfort zone and expand your palette, folks!
Overpacking your carry-on
Baggage fees and restrictions can be maddening, especially when you're trying to fly on a dime. But that does not make it OK to somehow fold, roll, and origami every item in your closet so that it somehow fits in your carry-on and backpack—only to have it explode the moment a TSA agent unzips it for inspection, holding up everyone else in the line. If you need to bring 10 pairs of shoes on your next vacation, do everyone a favor and check a bag.
Taking your socks off on an airplane
Contrary to what you might think, no, your feet do not smell like daisies, especially after you've trudged around the airport in the same sneakers you've had since your high school track and field days. So please, for the love of god, keep your toes where they belong: snug inside your stench-suppressing cotton socks and, ideally, confined to your footwear.
Talking back to flight attendants
Imagine all the daily indignities the average waitress endures. Now multiply that by 10 and you have a day in the life of a flight attendant. The responsibilities of the "waitresses of the sky" include but are not limited to stowing heavy luggage, ensuring you're adhering to proper safety measures, taking drink orders, and calming crying babies, all at 35,000 feet. So please, next time you feel the urge to be snappy or refuse to switch your phone into airplane mode, just don't. That is all.
Not leaving your hotel room
If you've already made it halfway across the world, do yourself a favor and explore beyond your hotel room once you've arrived. The real excitement lies in venturing into the unknown, and nine out of 10 times, the food is better at that hole-in-the-wall spot down the street. (Only exception: if you've balled out on an over-the-water bungalow in the Maldives or some other lavish, once-in-a-lifetime stay.)
There's a time and a place to organize your calendar so that you're optimizing each and every second of the day—and it's called being at work. Do not try to do the same when you're on vacation. It will positively kill all feelings of spontaneity and drive your fellow travelers up the wall.
Traveling while sick
If you're feeling under the weather, do your fellow air travelers a favor and, please, stay at home. Airplanes are germ magnets in the first place, and the last thing any holiday-bound traveler deserves is to come down with the chest cold you've been recovering from for the past 3 weeks.
Offending the locals
Being exposed to other languages, cultures, and customs is a beautiful thing. It's a rare opportunity to open your eyes to the world and reflect on your own beliefs and convictions. What it is NOT: an opportunity to mock, ridicule, or poke fun at people whose ways of being are different from your own. We are all different, and there is beauty in difference. Don't ever forget it.
And for more tips on being a better traveler, don't do any of these 23 Things That Totally Horrify Flight Attendants.