Guide to Being a Shitty Traveler
I’m not about hating on other travel methods. To each their own. Work exchange, hotel, volunteer, hostel, you do you. But there are certain rules even I knew before my first trip. And a fellow traveler I spent my first week with at my work exchange proved that not everyone knows the rules.
So, using REAL examples of what this ass did, I’m going to inform any would-be or current travelers how you too can be a shitty traveler! It’s easier than you think! (We’ll call our shining example Mr. Douche.)
**Read with a HEAVY dose of sarcasm. Enjoy!
1. Remember: You Are Unique!
Travelers are all unique. I think one is a travel blogger, one has been to 15 countries, one volunteers, but no one is the same! As a traveler, it’s important to remind everyone you meet in your travels how special and unique you are. You’re guaranteed to be the first of your kind that they’ve met. And they’ll love to hear all your stories. If there is a silent moment, be sure to brag some more! They’ll eat it up. It’s okay if you exaggerate a little. Who’s to know?
Mr. Douche: “No one does what I do! (Travel blogs) It’s amazing. Never been done before.”
2. Privilege Doesn’t Exist
Anyone can quit their job and travel! You might have daddy’s money or worked your ass off. You might have some work on the road or saved for months or years. It’s so easy! Real bills, health problems, obligations, and children don’t exist if you love to travel! Don’t let anyone convince you about “privilege.” That’s just an excuse! Be sure to tell people that anyone can drop everything and travel. It’s sure to inspire them. Especially if you earned money from a career anyone can get, like modeling.
Mr. Douche: “I want to inspire the *** people (of native country) that they can do anything. They don’t dream. I want to prove anything is possible. Just do it. Don’t make excuses. Money is just money, you can always get more. When I was a model in Paris…”
3. Be Mindful of Your Space
If you can take more, take more! If you travel with others, take up extra room with an arm or leg or even a jacket. This will ensure the best view for you.
Mr. Douche: Leans over in the car to take up the entire middle with his arm so he can watch the road, or take pictures, as we drive.
4. Don’t Bring A Selfie Stick
If you’re planning on taking a ton of selfies and you’re a solo traveler, don’t worry about packing a selfie-stick. Just ask people around you! They’ll be happy to take several shots. And if you’re lucky, follow them and ask the same people. This is why staying with a local or a host is great. They’ll be with you for most outings so they can easily take your picture at any moment. Go ahead and do several poses. They don’t mind! You’re giving them a great opportunity! Packing a tripod and remote is a pain. Put the burden on someone else. Your bag will thank you.
5. Heavy on The Bragging
Please, if you visit another country, just talk about yourself. You’re not there to learn about the people, the country, and THEIR way of life and history. They want to learn about YOU. Bless them with your tales, your skills. Wow them! There is no line between talking about your interests and laying out a rap-sheet fishing for wide eyes. But be careful about your bragging, because they may ask you for evidence.
Mr. Douche regaled us with his “accomplishments” incessantly. From “I studied jujitsu in the first school in Paris, under the first white master. Now I go to Japan to study. I studied martial arts my whole life. It’s so good for the mind and the body. They don’t let just anybody study there. Because my master is who he is, I get special permission…” and “I taught police as well. I was in a *** film. I nearly did international salsa competition. Learning languages is easy! If I decide to learn I will.” During the week he was in Taiwan, he didn’t look up even one Chinese word, despite telling the hosts repeatedly how he studied last night and learned more and how easy it is. I know this because he didn’t know the word “good” (hao) and still wasn’t pronouncing “thank you” (xiexie) correctly (pronunced with a sh sound, and he said with an s sound). The most basic of google searches would have provided this information. So either he was deluded or a compulsive liar. He then spent an ENTIRE meal talking about how easy language learning was and how he would learn Chinese so fast.
6. Be Fashionably Late (Always)
If you have plans to meet up with someone in your travels, or are fortunate to have someone hosting you, don’t be so strict with your time. They are happy you’re here, it’s okay to make them wait. This is especially true if your hair needs to look just right or you are shopping for some clothes. They’ll be happy you arrived looking your best, rather than upset you were late.
Mr. Douche had us wait an hour for dinner (because he was shopping) and 20 minutes for an excursion (so he could shower despite knowing in advance the time to meet). In addition to being at least 5-10 minutes late daily for breakfast and dinner.
7. Don’t Get Involved
When it comes to traveling, only the pictures matter. This saves time and money, and saves you from participating in silly local traditions or learning history. Also, this is a great way to avoid work. Participate in a work exchange, but don’t do the work. This way you can still say you participated and you’ll have pictures to show. Find excuses to get you out of work, have them prepared in advance. If you can’t take a photo of it, it’s really not worth it. Photo traveling is just as good and are the most brag worthy.
Mr. Douche liked the photos of him “praying” in the temple, but didn’t actually pray, buy a wish plaque, light intense, or any other traditional actions performed at a temple. Just the photo and immediately left.
8. Bless People with Your Presence
If you stay in a hostel or with a host, or even in a hotel, remember you aren’t the only one. So be sure to not let the others forget either. This can be very easy, like playing your favorite music loud, talking on your phone late into the night (also loud), leaving the toilet seat up (great if in a shared -sex dorm!), leaving lights on, and slamming doors. Don’t let anyone forget you’re there. Be a bit messy, like leaving toothpaste in the sink. Really smear it around too. Bonus if it’s blue so they’ll know it’s your toothpaste. If you go with locals on errands, it’s fine to wander off on your own. They won’t leave you, don’t worry. Take photos, film videos, it’s fine. And if you really want to make an impression, be sure to be in the shot of other travelers’ photos. You’ll see the camera go up, so always just be in the way. You can act aloof, but they’ll find it a real treat when they look at their shots and you’re in all of them.
Mr Douche did everything I mentioned. He heartily endorses this list!
9. Be THAT Foreigner
Traditional clothing is the perfect thing to show others how interesting and well-traveled you are. It’s a quick and easy way to show your interest in a culture, without having to know the culture. And get the Chinese writing tattoos, it’s okay if you don’t know any Chinese, or even if you’ve been to an Asian-speaking country. It shows how unique and cultured you are. Buddha tattoos are also heartily endorsed, even if you don’t know Buddhist teachings. It’s okay if you spent only a couple days in Vietnam, buy the traditional shirt only a few people wear. You’ll impress people in the next country and it will give you a conversation starter to brag about the tip. Win-win!
Mr. Douche did all of them, so again, these have his seal of approval.
10. Don’t Research Your Country
English is spoken everywhere and credit cards are accepted everywhere. Don’t worry about finding out what countries accept what. You’ll be fine. Don’t bother learning a few phrases, they’ll accomodate your English. It’s much easier.
Mr. Douche: *nods in approval*
11. Take What You Want
See something you like, make it yours. If you find a souvenir of interest but don’t want to pay full pricce, just tell the merchant you don’t have more. This is where you not speaking the language comes in handy. They can’t argue if they can’t communicate. You can save a lot of money this way. Trips to the ATM are annoying. Show the merchant how much you like their goods, they’ll be eager to please and you can just pay them what you want. Haggle-free country? No problem, just say you don’t have it. It’s fine. They love to please tourists. They’re lucky to have the money you spent at all. This is a perk of traveling. At home, if you don’t have enough, you don’t buy the item. But while you’re traveling, these rules don’t apply.
Mr. Douche: “I’m sorry, it’s all I have.” Puts necklace on, hands her money, shorted 100NTD, and puts our poor host in a horrible position. Then proceeds to talk away, not giving the poor vendor a chance. I should also note that he was wearing an Armani t-shirt. So it wasn’t for lack of money. It was laziness in going to an ATM and entitlement.
12. Fake Interest
Thrill locals by telling them how much you love their country. Inform them how much research you’ve done, it’s okay if you haven’t. You’re sure to impress them, and that’s what’s important! They may offer to take you to places after hearing your interest, but it’s fine to decline. They’ll still think you’re interested in culture, because you said you were. You don’t need to prove it by going to temples, villages, or participating in traditions.
Mr. Douche: “I love Taiwan. I researched so much before I came. I love it.” Meanwhile, didn’t know about Boba Tea (what Taiwan is famous for and is loved around the world), Anping (the first city in Taiwan), or the opinion of Taiwanese food (best in Asia according to most bloggers). When they offered to take him to museums, he refused them all. When they offered to take him to small villages, he refused. Night market, refused. I’m sure this confused my hosts as much as it confused me.
13. Be Stingy
It’s a whopping $1.66USD for a half hour bus ride in Taiwan. It’s about the same for entrance to many museums, boat rides, etc. in Taiwan. How could the locals expect you to pay this? Don’t they know you’d rather buy extra long charging cables, clothes, and fake glasses with your money? Don’t waste your money on the local economy, doing so-called “enriching or educational” activities. These countries are just grabbing for your money. A selfie out front is good enough. Museums are over-rated anyway.
Mr. Douche (wearing Armani t-shirts and a fancy watch) refused museums, tours, and other educational activities because “Everything costs a little, it adds up. I’d rather not. It’s too expensive.” It was too expensive to spend a total of $7 to see 4 attractions. He was headed to Singapore and Japan after Taiwan. Two notoriously expensive countries.
14. Claim to Know Everything
You’ve traveled to 45 countries. So you only spent a day, or maybe a week there. Who’s to know? You’re the expert now! If anyone mentions a country you’ve been to, you are the authority. Speak with certainty. They’ll be dazzled with your knowledge. If you’ve been there a day, you’ve been there for years.
Mr. Douche (upon us visiting Taiwan’s Costco and me wondering out loud “What other countries have Costco.”) “I’ve been everywhere, this store is nowhere. I think only US and Taiwan.” (Quick Google search reveals Costco has locations (often over 10 per country) in Canada, Mexico, UK, Japan, South Korea and Australia, with a couple in Spain (where claimed to travel all over for years), Iceland, and even France (where he claims to have lived). It is the 2nd largest retailer in the WORLD, after Walmart.
That should do it. You’re now ready to be a terrible tourist, traveler, and guest! Some of these will take time to master. But if you’re as dedicated as Mr. Douche, you’ll be making eyes roll, robbing locals, and getting a big head in no time.
Have you run into horrible travelers/tourists on your adventures? What was the most incredulous thing you witnessed? Have you called someone out? Tell me your cringy traveler moments!