10 tips to be a terrible traveller


Before I begin, I’ve got to tell you that I’m not a perfect traveller in any way. I often overpack. Sometimes I cave and order a room service burger instead of going out. I’ve turned up in new cities and known nothing about the local culture or the things to see and do.

I’ve also got to admit that I hate any blog posts that give off the ‘I’m a better traveller than you’ kinda vibe. These usually come from the kind of people who don’t consider you a real traveller unless you live out of a backpack and never spend more than $5 on accommodation. (If you’ve spent any time in hostels, you’ll probably know what I mean!)

But with each trip I take I feel like I’m slowly becoming a better traveller. But if you want to be a really terrible traveller, keep reading to find out how…


#1. Don’t eat the local food

Who wants to try local delicacies when you can get pizza and chips and burgers everywhere in the world.

Top tip to be an even worse traveller

If you want to be a really terrible traveller, look over at what local people are eating and loudly declare, ‘Ewww, that looks gross! Have you seen what he’s eating!’

Portuguese meal

Looks gross, don’t eat anything like this!

#2. Take photos of everyone without asking

Believe it or not, just because you’re in a different country it doesn’t give you the licence to take photos of anyone and everyone you see. Would you walk down the street in your hometown and take photo of people without their permission?

Top tip to be an even worse traveller

Take photos of kids without their or their parent’s permission and then post them all over your social media channels. I’m pretty sure this is illegal in the UK!?


#3. Don’t learn any local phrases

Everyone can speak English, right? And if they don’t speak English you can just talk really loudly and really slowly and then they’ll definitely understand!


#4. Be the idiot on the plane

You know the guy, the one who stands up as soon as the plane lands and pushes to the front to get off first. The guy who gets to the immigration desk and can’t find his passport. The guy who gets to the front of the security queue and has a bag full of water. The guy who stands so close to the luggage carousel that no one else can see if their bag is coming.


#5. Don’t do any research

You’ll wing it when you get there so don’t worry about researching. Researching is for losers. You definitely won’t come home and realise you missed the main attractions and spent two days getting lost and walking in circles.

Camping in the Sahara desert

If you go to Morocco, don’t try anything exciting like camping in the Sahara!

#6. Pack every item of clothing you own

You’ve paid for that luggage allowance, make sure you use it by taking virtually everything you own. If your bag still isn’t full, pop the kitchen sink in there too, you never know when that bad boy will come in handy.

Top tip to be an even worse traveller

Make sure your bag is overweight and when you check it in argue with the staff and refuse to pay their ridiculous fees. We all know you’re going to have to pay the fee eventually but kicking up a big fuss and pretending it’s not your fault will give you some extra Terrible Traveller Points.


#7. Dress as inappropriately as possible

Who cares if the local people find it shocking if you visit their place of worship in short shorts and a low cut top. You’ve worked hard to get perky butt cheeks so make sure everyone can see them! And your cleavage? Well, you’re not going to have cleavage like that forever to get those puppies out.


#8. Don’t put your phone down. EVER.

Smartphones are possibly the best invention ever so make sure you never put yours down while you’re travelling. Everywhere has wifi now so make sure you use it! Keep your shoulders hunched and your head bent over your phone. Only look up if you’re taking a selfie – because we all know the best selfie shots are taken from up high.

Top tip to be an even worse traveller

This rule especially applies when you’re in restaurants and bars. Nothing says, ‘Don’t talk to me!’ like someone glued to their phone.


#9. Act like you’re superior

Act like you’re better than every single person you come across. Air stewards? Pffft, you’re better than them. Hotel staff? Yep, you’re definitely better than them. Waiters? Yes, definitely far superior. Tour guides? They know nothing anyway so make sure you always talk over them and giggle throughout their talks.

Top tip to be an even worse traveller

Visit slums to look at all the poor people.


#10. Don’t try anything new

Why would you want to try anything new? Especially when you’re in a new and interesting place. Stick to what you know and always stay in your comfort zone. Things are scary outside of your comfort zone!



Do you have any more ideas about how to be a terrible traveller?


Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a professional blogger and has travelled around the world in search of stylish adventure travel.Monica has recently had a baby and is now determined to prove that travelling with a baby is possible!

SHOWHIDE Comments (30)
  1. Ahahah that reminds me of that guy who spent a month in a hostel in South Korea only eating Mc Donald’s and glued to his laptop! Way to enjoy the countryside!! XD

    Great post!!!

    1. Oh I totally agree. I usually fly into Manchester airport where it takes SO LONG to get through immigration so I understand why people want to get off quickly to beat the queue. Like you say, it’s the people who are rude and push people out of the way that bugs me.

  2. I love this list! I had a girl on a trip with me in Thailand and I realized she was actually scared of the local food. However, we ended up at a lovely homestay with the most amazing meals and she told me she was afraid she was only going to eat KFC &Co. I was so happy for her that she changed her mind. Eating different foods really isn’t in everybody’s DNA it seems.
    Regarding #9 I would have to disagree though. I have done township tours before and while some tours definitely treat it like a human zoo, I’d sincerely hope nobody goes there to feel superior or better about themselves!

    1. I’ve been on a township tour in South Africa too and it just made me feel really uncomfortable. The people certainly weren’t unhappy or unhealthy but it just made me feel weird when my tour group was stopping to take photos of these ramshackle houses.

  3. I love this list! Although this would apply to basically each of your entries, I might also add ‘expect that other places should be more like where you live’. I work at a boutique hostel in England, and I can’t believe how many travellers come here and expect to have all of the amenities and entitlements that they enjoy at home. Can’t count how many times I’ve heard people complain that this 17th century building doesn’t have a lift, or that their room didn’t come with a bath and double sink in their room, or that we don’t carry X brand of beer. I mean, you come to England for a reason, you choose to stay in a historical building for a reason, and you pay £12 a night for a reason. And it’s not to feel like you’re at home is it? Or have I been doing it all wrong?

    1. Hahaha. It’s funny that people expect so much when they’re paying £12 for a room. I can image you’d get some divas in there who refuse to carry their bags up the stairs – it’s probably because they’ve got the kitchen sink in there.

  4. I’ve got another tip for being a terrible traveller:


    Mostly because the destination is nothing like what you thought it would be, or even completely different and new to anything you’ve ever known.

    Isn’t that the whole point of travel, to be challenged with experiences unlike what you’ve known?! Open mind, or go home. x

    Jasiminne: Posh, Broke, & Bored

  5. Regarding #4 – the one I hate is the typical Italian (and I am Italian) that is always ready to start clapping his/her hands to applause the pilot for having landed without crashing! First time you laugh about it, the next time you can’t bear it anymore ;D
    I had fun reading this post(:

    xx from Brighton
    Cate ? kate/idoscope

    1. I didn’t know that was an Italian thing! I’ve seen a lot of Americans do it. It scares me when people clap the pilot, as though they’d expected them to crash and are just so pleased to have landed safely! I get it but it never crosses my mind that we wouldn’t land safely and suddenly I’m thinking about it.

  6. This is such a fun and REAL list. Ay yi yi, I’ve traveled with people before with superiority complexes and it for sure makes you a terrible travel PARTNER too. It just blows my freaking mind when people will pull the “EW that is disgusting!” or “What a weird thing to do??” around different cultures. It just makes me want to bash my head against a wall. Ha!

    Cheers to being better travelers. 🙂

  7. Hate the ‘I’m a better traveler than you’ hostel-shaming-know-it-alls. Eurgh.

    One thing that winds me about the ‘The Plane Guy’ is also how pushy they are to get ON the plane. It’s like, Hey dude, we’ve all got tickets, with assigned seat numbers, what is the point in rushing up to queue and push past people???

    Love this post 🙂

    x tink jayne x

  8. This is hysterical! With numbers 1, 3, 5, 8 & 10, you kind of have to wonder why these people decided to travel in the first place. You’ve spent all of that money to do something as amazing and as enriching as travelling, and you’re wasting it by doing these behaviours instead. It boggles my mind haha.

  9. I agree with them all ! I still remember being in the Amazon, in a little lodge, miles from absolutely anywhere, and a group of British people behaving incredibly badly. The staff at the lodge work extremely hard from early morning till late at night, doing about five different jobs each. One of them, a lovely young man, was completely castigated by a British man who wanted tomato sauce(ketchup) on his food. He made the young man so sad. It was horrible.

  10. Haha! So true and so funny. We all know someone who travels this way. What is mortifying is when you get stuck traveling with someone like this. I have been so embarrassed by some people I have traveled with and I vowed to really know my travel companions before going through that again.

  11. Oh, this is so perfect! You made us laugh :-). Love this – don’t eat the local food. For us, the more different and interesting the food, the better. (We don’t mean like fried grasshoppers. We mean like Turkish mezzes and spicy Thai red duck curry.) We certainly don’t want to eat American hamburgers in Turkey or Thailand or Tahiti! Great post…

  12. Haha, funny post! 🙂 Number 4 is definitely a pet peeve of mine. It seems that everyone has this stupid habit of wanting to get out first and you know what? It only slows the proces down! I’m also someone who loves trying out new food and learning new things so when people say ‘Hey, let’s go to McDonalds’, it makes me cringe! Luckily, according to my friends, I’m really good at enjoying the little things in life and seeing beauty in everything, so I should be good at NOT following most of these tips as well 🙂
    xx Lien

  13. Great list! I enjoy seeing pictures of locals in foreign places but always wonder if they asked for permission. The portraits with stories are usually more powerful and you can probably assume that the photographer talked to the person to learn their story and ask permission.

  14. Amazing post! Love the idea to reverse the topic.
    When traveling with my brother I always tend to get annoyed, since he just wants to eat at the same fast food places that are the same everywhere in the world.
    I mean food and eating habits are such an important part to get to know a country while traveling, how could you not want to explore the local cuisine?

    And to the phone point. I would add all the people with their selfie sticks, just trying to get a great shot for their social media instead of taking in the view with their own eyes and being in the moment. It makes me really sad sometimes, cause they miss out on so much.

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The Travel Hack

The Travel Hack is a blog about stylish adventure travel and affordable luxury.

We believe luxurious travel can be affordable and isn't just for the rich. Follow along with our worldwide adventures as we share our trips and tips for incredible travel experiences on a modest budget.