Travel Mistakes To Avoid - Part 2

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1. Shopping

Fakes........oh hum

Customs in most countries will now confiscate that cute Chanel clutch or beach bag that you bargained so hard for, so why bother. In some countries you may even be fined for supporting such illegal activity.  If your friends know that you have been to Thailand and you come back sporting a gorgeous Hermes shoulder bag, they will all know in an instant that it is fake, so don't be a passé wanna be. Instead, buy a locally handcrafted one that is an original and actually supports the economy of the country you are visiting.  If you have discerning taste, you might just start a new fashion trend.

Travel Mistakes To Avoid - The Wise Traveller - Shopping

Bargain hunter or cheapskate?

Yes it is fun bargaining, but please know when you have stepped over the line of decent tourist haggling and into the realms of taking advantage of the locals.  It is easy to lose perspective of just how little a Thai baht or an Estonian Kroon is, when compared to your own currency.

The commandments of overseas shopping -

  • Do be aware of what you can bring back into your own country; custom queues can often be long and tiresome at the end of your holiday when declaring that huge wooden bowl that you just had to have.
  • Research what the country is known for, such as jade from Myanmar and focus on those items.
  • Do not buy an expensive item that you have not researched prior to leaving home.
  • If you like an item, buy it on the spot, as chances are you will not find your way back to the same shop or find it cheaper or in the same colour in the next shop.
  • Remember whatever you buy, you have to carry for the remainder of your trip.  That big Turkish rug won't fit in your backpack.

There is always international shipping at a price, if you just have to have the ceramic hand painted dinner set from Italy.

2. Wasting Precious Holiday Time

No one is going to look at your ten million "selfie" photographs when you return.  Unless you are a professional photographer, don't waste your time taking fifty pics of that one gorgeous sunset, actually sit and enjoy it without a lens between you and reality. Tempted to endure a time-share spiel in exchange for a freebie day trip?  Don't bother, as it won't be worth it, especially if you are not really interested in the real estate market.

Travel Mistakes To Avoid - The Wise Traveller - Travel Pictures

Jumping ad nauseum from one place to another with only a few days in each destination is not the way to see or experience a country.  You end up spending too much time waiting for flights, buses or trains, rather than sipping a latte in a cute little cafe or wondering aimlessly down alleyways of undiscovered treasures.  The less time spent traveling, the more time for relaxing.

3. Do Go Native When Eating

Street food and local restaurants are a must do.  The rules for choosing where to eat are basic and simple.  To pick the establishment/food cart look for: -

Busy and high turnover (this ensures fresh produce)

Travel Mistakes To Avoid - The Wise Traveller - Local Food

If the locals are eating there, then try it

If it is full of tourists, then it will be over priced and nothing like the "real" food of the country's cuisine

Be adventurous and try something new, if you don't like it, spit it out

Don’t expect western food of the same calibre when in a non western country

Eat near fresh local produce markets as they definitely do have access to "fresh" food• Eat local specialties as they know how to cook them

4. Stay Informed

If your destination is one fraught with the occasional hurricane, tsunami, civil unrest, transport strikes or any other equally unpleasant events, please check regularly on your government's travel site that you should have registered on before you left home.

Travel Mistakes To Avoid - The Wise Traveller - Learn common phrases

5. Mother Tongue

Shock, horror - the whole world does not speak English!  Most travel books have a section of useful phrases in the local lingo at the back of them. At least learn how to say hello and thank you so that you do not appear to be an arrogant westerner. In my travels, I have found that charades is a universal game of international language.

6. Getting Lucky

Over friendly locals attempting to pick you up in a bar are normally doing so for a reason that will benefit them and definitely not you.  Even a never ending supply of condoms will not save you from some of the honey traps that can have devastating consequences, not only to your health but to your wallet as well.  Always err on the side of caution.

Ladies keep your knees crossed and for the guys, keep your apparatus safely tucked away.

The biggest no no of all time; never carry "anything" for anyone at any time. If it is contraband, it will be a set up with the local authorities to exhort money from you.