How not to be a good traveler

Even a traveler who is constantly on the road makes mistakes sometimes. Mistakes are avoidable if you know exactly what not to do. Note that #2 is definitely unforgiving, so don’t ever try to.

We can never be perfect, but we definitely can try not to pick wrong choices.

1. Underestimating what you are getting into and what you actually are prepared for

In my case, I had underestimated Yosemite National Park, when I thought I can just go there without planning on which part of the park I should go, to see places I wanted to see. I had no idea that all those things are so far away from where we started. It was already 2pm on that day and we made our move from a place that was 4 hours away from all the attractions in Yosemite which is in the valley. On the map, those places look so near, I even underestimated that. Improper planning leads to unnecessary drive and exhaustion. I totaled an excruciating 8 hours of tiresome drive, for 3 minutes of just this photo, and putting my partner’s life at risk.

As a result, I only got to see this spot for 3 minutes because the sun was going down. Was it worthy? We still had 3 hours on the road to our final destination that day, including driving in the dark on dangerous, winding road. I got nothing but this photo and yes I was so mad at myself. I definitely learnt my lessons.

As a result, I only got to see this spot for 3 minutes because the sun was going down. Was it worthy? We still had 3 hours on the road to our final destination that day, including driving in the dark on dangerous, winding road. I got nothing but this photo and yes I was so mad at myself. I admit, I definitely learnt my lessons.

Other things you might be doing while traveling, like going to the zoo, museum, souvenirs shopping or going for a stroll on a beach don’t necessarily require concrete planning. Never ever venture out there not having any idea of what you are getting into. It might costs you your life.

2. Offending everyone by not respecting rules, customs and traditions

In the light of recent earthquake in Sabah, my home state that kills at least 16 climbers, just weeks after a group of tourist climbers posing naked on top of the mountain, also 2 tourists who got arrested and later deported for showing their rears at Angkor Wat, Cambodia, everyone of us here wants or at least thought of being THAT cool traveler, doing things differently than the others, competing to become trendsetters thus becoming popular without realizing that you are dragging unassuming people along with you. There’s nothing wrong in being different but what you do is a reflection of who you are. It is true that earthquakes in Sabah or Nepal weren’t caused by those irresponsible acts. No matter what the reasons are, locals in Sabah are angry because these supposed more-civilized nations & experienced travelers should’ve forehandedly studied cultures of the places they’re going to and that most definitely include thoroughly understanding traditions, respecting the differences in rules and not hesitating to follow the customs. Not a second you are allowed to think that the rules of one foreign place aren’t applied to you just because you’re just visiting. Just visiting is also not an excuse to misbehave. You may get naked in your own backyard because that’s your space, then what makes you think that you should get naked in other’s backyard?Β Oh, it’s just a mountain and that’s just another temple, no big deal, right? If you think it is okay to just get naked, showing parts of your body that you aren’t supposed to and offending millions of people, you are definitely on your way to become a NOT good traveler. You should see that coming, people do really get what they deserve, especially if they’ve done something offensive and punishable by law.


NAKED TOURISM IS NOT FOR ALL PLACES IN THE WORLD. What seems cool to you might be offensive to others.
-Photo courtesy of The Star

3. Relying too much on online resources

Not all itineraries made by others will suit you and your travel needs. That is why it is important to construct your own. One’s experience at one place might be different than another. This would actually leads to disappointment, when you didn’t get what you expected to get at first place. Before spending my summer 2 years ago in Venice, Italy, I’ve read lots of wonderful things about Venice and so I just went there, winging it, thinking I too will be having great times like others but in the end, I was disappointed. I didn’t get the experience that I wanted in Venice, because I was relying too much on whatever information I read online without further research. Laziness cannot be forgiven. If you put extra efforts into it, you’ll get more of good things, not only for you but also beneficial to others.

4. Being a complainer that you are

Bad habits are hard to break. Sometimes when you travel, you have to leave them at home, whether you like it or not. Home means all the comforts you can get. Outside home, you forgot that foreign places aren’t designed for you. Then you started complaining about non-existing restaurants that serve rice and why that city must have at least one restaurant that serves your favorite food otherwise you won’t survive. You complain about the sidewalks that aren’t comfortable enough to walk on but locals seem to be walking fine on those. These, and tonnes of other complaints that you sometimes listed for your own amusement, later passing it to friends, simply making your own conclusions of how bad that particular country is and why your friends too, shouldn’t go there. Next time you travel, try not to complain. The purpose of traveling to foreign places is to experience different kind of living situations of others. If you just want the comfort, stay at home. Don’t even bother discovering new places.

So what do you think you did wrong during your last travel?

9 thoughts on “How not to be a good traveler

  1. Refer to no.4. Yes….i always complaining and make comparison about other country and my country especially facilities, government, people and many more.

  2. The funniest complaint is staying in 3-4* hotel but expected the 5* or resorts’ treatment.. Some even complaining about food selection when the food cost is only $10 😏😁😝

  3. Ahhhh, I have travelled once with a person doing #4, 24/7 during our 1 week holiday. It was an excruciating pain I tell you. These are good advices, Hannah! Thanks a lot! Reminds me to always read more and do lots of research beforehand (which I actually love doing, but sometimes lazy hehe)

  4. Mine is no 1. Travelling with kids — I underestimated the winter in London with my 2 boys. They got sick and I wasn’t ready for their crankiness abroad. We ended up spending most of time indoors and had to forgo most of the things planned in the itinerary. But hey, that was one memorable travel adventure! I became a better mommy-traveller for the next trips.

  5. Excellent list !!
    To add more to point no 3. Relying too much on online resources.
    So true !! Sometimes we tend to “over” followed what the other people has done to the state that we miss out on the real meaning of travelling. I did know some that just follow 100% of other’s itinerary like where to eat/to stay/each attraction/what to buy…which is NOT to say bad….just really sad. But of course to each its own.

    • I think sometimes to test the facts you just have to get out there and see yourself. Downside of internet to say, but if we know how to utilize it, we won’t be making mistakes that much. Not bad but sad, true.

  6. Totally agree with #2 & #4. To being rude is unacceptable. Complaining to much also is a kind of rude. Obviously both are unacceptable.

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