Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Travelers

It’s easy to offer advice on how to be a better, more well-rounded traveler. But here are some fine points to note when trying to be an overall ineffective traveler.

1. Dream trip fantasies – TV and movies are usually excellent predictors of reality. Choose your favorite film and base your travel expectations on that completely. TV doesn’t lie and if everything seems perfect and wonderful on celluloid, then it almost certainly is in real life. Also, put so much pressure on yourself to have that dream trip that it becomes all-consuming, to the point where the actual trip can in no way live up to your expectations. Now that’s what I call winning.

2. Mortgage your home – Ignore all of the great travel deals and bargains available and instead pay full price for your travel adventure. Paying full freight will ensure that you don’t get to do nearly as much while on your trip and it’s doubtful you’ll be able to afford another vacation anytime soon. This doesn’t only include airfare and hotels, but it also extends to the trip itself. Seek out the most expensive restaurants, preferably near major tourist sites, and break the bank on a mediocre meal. The worst thing you could possibly do is find a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, removed from the major tourist areas. The only advantage to these hidden treasures are less expensive but superior food.

3. Distrust new food – Things are bad enough when you’re away from home, everything is strange, different and unfamiliar. There is no reason to add to your discomfort by trying new foods that look alien with equally bizarre names. Instead of stopping by a fast food chain just once or twice on your trip, be sure to eat at McDonald’s or KFC for every meal. That way you won’t have to experience local cuisine and you can pretend that you never left home.

4. Refuse to tolerate – One of the most important qualities of an ineffective traveler is the refusal to deal with any sort of adversity. No matter how much you plan, the unexpected will always occur on a trip, usually to great annoyance. When confronted with a missed train or a hotel that is less than inspiring, be sure to get very angry and loud and make your displeasure known to as many people as possible. Rather than learn from the experience, instead vow to never leave home again.

5. Thinking inside the box – Before you leave home, memorize your travel guide and don’t even consider deviating from its suggestions. Throughout your sprint through town, be sure to tick off each item on the list and get upset when something isn’t seen or done. Ideally you won’t have to think from the moment you arrive until the moment you leave. Whatever you do, don’t explore on your own, it’s probably dangerous and boring anyway.

Four Seasons Manele Bay
Four Seasons Manele Bay, Lana’i

6. The world is your resort – Whether we like it or not, whenever we travel we are citizen ambassadors. If we travel within our own country, then we are the unofficial representatives of our region and internationally, we become the de facto ambassadors for our nation. This is a unique opportunity to build cultural ties and change misconceptions people may possess, both for the traveler as well as the local denizens. Rather than accept this responsibility with any level of sobriety, instead treat everyone as if they were your employees. I call this resort mentality, when travelers consider everyone with the same consideration of a pool boy and expect them to be on demand for their needs. Being short tempered and rude are necessary accompaniments to this attitude, which is sure to make a strong impression on everyone the traveler meets.

7. Stay home – The world is a scary place and a quick scan of the day’s news should be more than enough to convince you to just stay home. There’s no reason to take the chance that your plane might crash,  boat sink or hotel explode. There’s very little possibility that your home will crash, sink or explode (unless you’re using one of those turkey fryers)  – so why leave? The only benefit is that you might experience places you never dreamed existed; meet people who will change your life forever and lead a happier, healthier life. Pshaw to that, plant yourself on the couch and watch the Travel Channel I say.

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

16 Responses

  1. Jessica

    Bahahahhahahahha!!
    Awesome.

    Reply
  2. Aisleen

    Love this post! I actually couldn’t believe the amount of people who had remortgaged their house to travel – not such a good idea now they are ‘back to reality’. And the not trying new foods thing – what’s the point of leaving home if you’re not going to embrace everything about your new surroundings? Another thing that constantly surprised me about some people we met on our travels was just how much they whinged or moaned about everything – rather than being thankful for the amazing opportunities they have been given! Now for the “how to be an extremely effective traveller” post!… 🙂

    Reply
  3. Eurotrip Tips

    Satire sure does suits you well! 😉

    Reply
  4. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    Heck yeah to this whole list! Especially the trying new food point; why in the world would you go to a new country and refuse to eat anything that you’ve never tried before? It baffles me.

    Reply
  5. Matt Long

    Thanks for all the great comments. I’m glad you didn’t mind the satire. 🙂

    Reply
    • Ann

      Thanks for brightening my day and making me smile! I know exactly what you mean, having met loads of people like that on my travels.

      Reply
  6. Andrew

    1. cracks me up! While I was in Vietnam I met a father & son who’d watched the BBC’s Top Gear Vietnam special and decided to buy old bikes in Hanoi and ride to Saigon. Neither had travelled much or ever ridden (or repaired!) a motorcycle before. I’m an experienced motorcycle rider and have ridden all over the world and out of all the countries I’ve ridden in, the traffic & driving in Vietnam scared me to point where I decided not to ride there any more. I hope they had a good trip, but it was probably terrifying to them.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Ha, I would love to know how they did. We watched that episode and it looked miserable. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Rebecca McCormick

    Almost bit my tongue off, laughing! And about the picture: FS Manele Bay is one of our favorite resorts. The golf course’s oceanside holes are stunningly beautiful, too. Ahhh….

    Reply
  8. Susan

    Love this! Have met way too many people that are truly, truly ineffective travelers. I know they have a list to check off but they really should just stay home so as not to annoy those of us that choose to embrace the world through travel.

    Reply
  9. Jeremy Branham

    I would like to say that I don’t do any of these. However, I am sure I am guilty of being intolerant at times and having my expectations too high. I would NEVER do #2 though – goes against all financial instinct that I have! 🙂

    Reply
  10. TheDealMommy

    And my favorite…when looking for a place to eat, make sure the menu is in English. Those foreigners don’t know anything about proper food;)

    Reply
  11. Antonio

    Well said. I think we all should restrain from just consuming the things to see, there is really little satisfaction in running around, snapping photos and not reaching out to people and their environment and culture. Getting some intimacy with the places you visit requires some time and patience and, possibly, a friend or a guide to help you better understand. Like in slow food, we could talk about slow travel (except, maybe, for the transportation part, but even that…).

    Reply
  12. The Travel Fool

    Ha Ha great post. Unfortunately in my youth I committed a few of these sins. But then I was in the Military and taking quick 2-4 day tours. I learned quickly that in order to really experience the area and enjoy myself I had to escape the norm and explore the area on my own. Took me a while but I figured it out.

    Reply
  13. Heather

    Americans are best at #4. Be REALLY loud about your displeasure at being inconvenienced, or by things that don’t work as they do in the US. Because people LOVE being yelled at and dressed down in OUR language. Duh! You’re a guest in another country. Shouldn’t you adapt to pretty much anything your trip throws at you?!? You chose to be there, BTW. Now deal, and shut up about it, because being loud and obnoxious makes our overseas reputation even worse.

    Reply

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