Ahh, Travel. The things you do to us. Bringing out new and beautiful characteristics from corners of our hearts and minds that we never knew existed. Forcing us to look at the world differently. Morphing us into better people with each new destination. Giving us a special kind of education we’d never get in a classroom, and a true understanding of our place in this world.
For that, we participants are forever grateful.
However, Travel, you’re not always as enchanting or happy-go-lucky as we dream you will be when we book or flights and pack our bags. Sometimes, the process of you comes with some nasty situations, conversations or predicaments, and you unleash a beast in us that we never knew existed. Bringing out our utmost worst and mortifying traits; all for a taste of that life-long “I wanna see the world” goal that we will always chalk up as worth it.
Because, well, it ALWAYS is worth it, even if we break a few commandments along the way.
We encounter these sinful traits out on the road, whether it be through someone we’ve met, or even within our own minds, habits, and flaws. And they can get messy, questionable, unfixable, and even unbearably shameful.
Either way, here’s how to spot a sinful traveler, and some crucial advice on how to avoid becoming one.
7. Traveling to Boast
“Haha! It’s snowing back in Toronto! Sucks to suck!” the boastful traveller typically exclaims after a quick phone scroll. “Hurry and take a picture of me in the ocean so I can post it to Facebook!”
They’ll caption it with a sarcastic, “Heard the weather is fabulous in Toronto right now! LOL!” or “Today’s office…”
In other words, these travelers often travel just for the sake of saying, “Look at me! I’m in Jamaica and you’re sitting in a cubicle. I’m better than you!”
These same types of people will encounter other travelers on the road or in hostels, eager to brag about the “remote” Thai island they went to, that was just completely “un-touched by tourism”, and won’t hesitate to tell you that you missed out for only going to silly, crowded Phuket.
“Phuket? Haha, oh wow! So touristy!” they’ll laugh like they’re some sort of Christopher Columbus phenomenon. You’ll be left feeling as if your trip to Thailand was just one big waste of time for skipping this “remote” island.
Overall, the Boastful Traveler is an asshole.
Advice for the Boastful Traveler –
Travel isn’t about being better than everyone else, it’s about bettering one’s self. Travel is about merging your curiosity with a new understanding, resulting in becoming a more tolerant, sophisticated, educated version of yourself. Spend too much time and effort trying to address the entire world on social media or brag about where you’ve been, and you won’t have time to notice that nobody’s listening or cares.
6. Traveling for Love
You can often spot the Lust-seeking Traveler in a hostel bathroom doing her make up for the Tinder date she’s about to go on.
As you brush your teeth of the strange $2 meal you just had at some food vendor a few blocks away that may or may not have been a former house pet, you can’t help but wonder if the poor girl thinks she’s actually about to experience Eat, Pray, Love 2.0, or if she looks forward to making a phone call to her parents that she’s eloping with a guy from Argentina and is never coming home.
She’ll reassure you, “Well, ya never know!” but later you’ll find her buzzed in the hostel’s common area, swiping on Tinder again because her date wasn’t the knight in wanderlust armor that she secretly wished.
She’ll claim that she’s just looking for some harmless fun, and that she knows nothing will come of the fling, due to the fact they’re both from different corners of the globe. But yet, she persists… swiping, searching, dating, flinging, sulking, and then departing solo.
Advice for The Lust-seeking Traveler –
Put down the sappy travel novels, pull down your eye mask when the couple next to you on the airplane cozies up with one another, remember your common sense (like how wearing makeup and doing your hair in a country that hits 95 degrees by 9:30am is pointless), and overall, STOP TRYING SO HARD. Real love comes when/where you least expect it, not when you force it.
5. Traveling for Numbers
Pathetically, there are people who travel just for the sake of putting how many countries they’ve been to in their Instagram bio. These same people will sit around hostel common areas and ask other travelers how many countries they’ve been to, just to compare the number to their own.
Counting Travelers will go literally anywhere, just to keep up the diversity of their portfolio. And then will say things like “Well, I’ve been to X counties but more if you count Antarctica/Easter Island/Greenland, which isn’t technically a country…” Blah blah blah.
If you were to ask the Counting Traveler how to say something in the local language of a country they’ve been to, or ask what they ate there, chances are they can’t, or they won’t remember. They were too busy buzzing through to speak with the locals or to stop and try the local food. But yet these destination tickers somehow still consider themselves to be “cultured” because they’ve collected endless passport stamps.
They can often be found at the destination’s famous tourist spot, setting up a tripod to take some whimsical looking picture of themselves for Instagram…all, of course, for the number of likes it will get or followers they think they’ll receive.
Advice for the Counting Traveler –
Remember not to treat travel as a game of Pokemon. Numbers aren’t impressive; knowledge of what you learned in those countries is impressive. Instead of telling others how many countries you have visited, tell us how greatly you have explored them. Tell us about the locals you met and what they like to do for fun, or what they like to eat. Tell us their stance on the political issues going on in their nation. Tell us what new foods you tried, what bizarre bugs you were bitten by; but please don’t tell us how many countries you have been to, because rattling off numbers doesn’t mean you’re well-traveled, it means you’re a tourist.
4. Traveling with Disrespect
They’re sunburnt, they’re drunk, they wear inappropriate clothing, take photos where signs say, “Please No Photos”, and chug beer on the streets before noon.
Typically holding a passport from a privileged country like America, Australia or England, the Disrespectful Traveler will leave a mark so rude that locals never forget, making it impossibly hard for the next group of travelers to reverse it.
They also don’t hold back when it comes to disrespecting other travelers they meet by saying things like, “You’re from China? Is it true people shit in the streets there?” or “Germany? Are you a Nazi?”
Most of the time, the lack of respect is infused by alcohol, or because it’s their first time away from home. But either way, traveling with disrespect is not a sin to be taken lightly. Period.
Advice for the Disrespectful Traveler –
Take a look around. Does it look like your home to you? Or even Disney’s Epcot? No…? It doesn’t? Then stop acting like it.
3. Traveling with Greed
The Greedy Traveler can’t stop and won’t stop until they’ve covered every inch of the earth and will hack every credit card company for their frequent flyer miles to get there.
They’re obsessed, really. The travel bug has not only bitten them, but it has latched on tight and is sucking them dry. They hop from country to country, attraction to attraction, not for the numbers or for the bragging rights, but just to fulfill their need for adrenaline or get their high.
Trip Advisor holds their hand along the way, telling them the best things to see, eat, and do, and they attempt to do each and every one, not resting until each box is ticked.
When they leave a country, they insist they will be back to lavish in gluttony once more; but of course they never will, because the next exotic destination with a cheaper exchange rate is calling their name, and they’re off on the next hacked flight, dreaming about the souvenirs they will cram into their already bulging suitcase.
Advice for the Greedy Traveler –
There will always be an area you never explored, a restaurant you never tried, a hike you never went on, a secret beach you couldn’t find, someone you never got the chance to meet, something you never got the chance to see, etc. So get OFF the hop-on, hop-off bus for good, stop trying to cram everything in, and set out for a walk to see what you can discover for yourself, not what Trip Advisor is telling you to see.
2. Traveling with Anger
No matter how many years they’ve been roaming the globe, The Angry Traveler still can’t seem to keep his/her cool when things go wrong. Maybe a train breaks down, or a hostel completely fills up, or their flight gets delayed, or they’ve been ripped off by a vendor, or their bunkmate won’t stop snoring, etc. They act as if everyone is out to get them, hurt them, to uninvite them to their dinner parties, to judge their body and destroy their family. It’s anger to the highest degree.
You can often spot these pissed-off frolickers being escorted out of a hotel for throwing a phone at a front desk clerk, or refusing to pay a dinner bill because the waitress couldn’t speak English and got the order wrong.
Overall, The Angry Traveler’s biggest problem is thinking that they shouldn’t have a problem.
Advice for the Angry Traveler –
Keep your expectations low. So low you can’t even see ‘em! That way, when your flight leaves on time, or someone helping you actually speaks English, or you score a cozy hostel bed, you can rejoice at how smoothly things went. Hell, even crack open a beer on that flight to celebrate! And always remember, unlike most of your friends back home sitting in a desk at their 9-5 job, you have nowhere to be and no one to answer to. What’s the big hurry or fuss about? It is what it is, and you’ll arrive at your destination when you’re meant to get there.
1. Traveling In a Bubble
They go to the same place year-after-year for their summer holiday. Typically no more than 3 hours away from their home. They make comments about other countries/customs/religions as if they’ve been to that destination themselves numerous times, when they really haven’t even left their own country….ever….
They are ignorant to life outside their bubble and deep down, they like it that way, but will still state how they’d just LOVE to see the world, but don’t have the time, the money, or this or that.
They can be heard saying things such as, “I’ve got a 9-5’er. I’ve got student loans. I’ve got rent. I’ve got no money. I’ve got an expired passport.” Completely ignorant to the fact that the only thing they need for a trip is curiosity. But of course, how would they know that? They never go anywhere…
Advice for the Not So Well-Traveled Traveler –
If you want something bad enough, go out and get it. Stop sitting in America, stating how much you’d love to travel. GO FREAKING TRAVEL! This doesn’t have to mean an epic, around the world quest for one’s self. Just a quick trip outside of your own borders will do. The benefits are too many and the risks too unbearable to ignore that siren call of travel.
For more from Emma, check out Happy, Safe and Solo