Traveling is a beautiful and enriching experience. In most cases, traveling is a win-win for both tourists and locals. However, in some unfortunate situations, traveling can become a real nuisance when you meet the most annoying of travelers, or worse, when you are one.
In the case of traveling by plane, there is a large spectrum of characters one can have the misfortune of meeting: the sulky flight attendant, the chatty old lady, the gross guy who clips his fingernails on the plane, and so on.
But before you start judging others, make sure you’re not making some mistakes of your own that turn you into an annoying traveler. In hopes of sticking to a beautiful traveling experience and not turning it into an absolute nightmare, here are 12 ways you might be an obnoxious travel companion.
Ways You Might Be An Awful Traveler:
Trying to speak in a foreign language after practicing on Duolingo for a day
Brushing up on your high school French and practicing a few basic words on Duolingo does not make you a fluent French speaker. You might feel better about yourself, but on the receiving end, the locals won’t think too nicely of your poor attempts to pronounce “croissant” with a French accent. Not to mention you might end up saying some offending words!
Bragging about the number of countries you’ve visited
Sorry to disappoint you, but no one really wants to hear about the numerous countries you’ve been to. Most people like to travel and have been to many beautiful and interesting places. That’s the beauty of traveling. Not the bragging part.
When you boast about all the impressive places you’ve visited, it doesn’t make other people curious to find out more. It just makes them want to run for the hills so that they don’t have to hear you brag.
Taking selfies all the time
We are all familiar with the mirage of Instagram. Let’s face it, we’ve all posted certain things on social media, sharing experiences with our virtual friends. This is the world we live in. However, there’s a fine line between normal posts and obsessive, obnoxious ones that take up all the space on one’s feed.
Not the mention that obsessing over selfies can become really annoying and tiresome for other people in your group. Don’t be that person that takes 5,000 identical selfies and spends most of their trip with their phone in their hands, ignoring real life events. Or worse, endanger yourself for the “perfect” photo.
Showing up to the airport in your “pajamas”
We can all agree that traveling can be uncomfortable, especially in the case of long-hour flights. Economy seats are rigid and the space is tight, you have to sit in the same position for hours, causing your feet to swell, your neck to hurt etc. So, it’s only natural that you want to wear as comfortable clothes as possible.
However, as uncomfortable as traveling can get, that’s no reason to show up looking like a slob. The ketchup-stained T-shirt from last night’s dinner and the slouchy trousers you’ve constantly worn around the house are not suitable airport attires. Surely you can do better than that!
Comparing everything to home
So, you’re proud of your hometown. That’s very nice of you. But the place you live does not have to be the reference for all the other cities and places you visit. Not when you’re standing on the Great Wall of China and think your town has more solid constructions. Nor when you visit Paris and say that coffee at your local coffee shop tastes better.
Traveling should be about exploring new places, discovering new cultures, and trying different cuisines without prejudices and futile comparisons. Enjoy your trip without comparing everything!
Not trying local foods
Yes, mac and cheese are a staple food in the United States. But there are other foods and flavors out there that can impress your palate in unimaginable ways. When traveling, try to be a bit more open to trying new foods, even if you haven’t heard of them before. In fact, that’s the idea!
For example, if you’re in Italy, try the linguini instead of asking for an American burger. One of the most effective ways to discover a country and its culture is through its cuisine. Don’t be an annoying traveler and refuse to try local dishes!
No one likes luggage restrictions and paying luggage fees, particularly when you’re traveling on a budget. But there are few things more annoying than overpacking your carry-on only to “explode” when verified by a TSA agent. You can only imagine the queue and irritation you’re causing to both airport employees and other travelers who have to wait because of you.
If you really want to shove your entire wardrobe in a suitcase, at least check a bigger bag instead of a carry-on. That way, you’ll not end up being the one everyone hates on the plane!
Taking your socks off on an airplane
This is a real class act. If you think your feet smell like daises, prepare to be shocked. There’s no such thing as a nice smell when it comes to feet. Especially not when you’re wearing the same old sneakers you’ve been wearing since high school. And no, no one wants to see your socks, no matter how cute and fluffy they might be.
Do your yourself and the other travelers a favor and keep your shoes on. You should know that refusing to do so might get you evicted from the plane, as per various air company rules.
Talking back to airline attendants
Being a flight attendant is not that easy, no matter how glamorized this job has been. They have to stow heavy baggage, see that everyone complies with the safety instructions, take food and drink orders, and deal with crying babies and disgruntled passengers, all with a smile on their faces.
If you are not in the best of moods, please, don’t take it on the flight attendant for asking you to turn to airplane mode. Their job is to keep you safe and comfortable during the flight, but not at the cost of their own sanity.
Staying inside your hotel room
Some days you might not feel like walking around town and checking all the buildings, monuments and whatnot out there. But since you’re already halfway across the world, it would really be a shame to spend your entire trip locked up in your hotel room, binging on Netflix and ordering room service.
The real adventure is outside. Sure, you can explore the immediate surroundings on some days but don’t hesitate to expand your perimeter and discover new places even if they’re further away from your hotel. You won’t regret it, scout’s honor.
Traveling when you’re sick
If you’re not in the best of conditions, health-wise, you might want to stay put and avoid traveling by plane. Airplanes are not the best places to be spreading your germs, not that any other place is. But given the tight space in airplanes, it’s best that you stay at home until you get well. The last thing other travelers want is to start their holidays with a cold picked up from you while flying.
Offending the locals
Discovering other cultures, languages and people is an awesome experience. It’s something you should take advantage of every chance you get. On the other hand, it’s not an opportunity to make fun, laugh, and mock other people for having different customs and beliefs than you do. After all, that’s the beauty of it all: that people are different and there’s always something we can learn from one another.