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How To Avoid Becoming A Jerk When You Travel

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When we envision a particular ‘jerk’ for this opinion piece, we picture a combo of Chris Brown tweeting about airline service, Ryan Lochte’s disregard for the law and general decency, and to err away from claims of sexism, Mariah Carey’s world tour demands for only white roses in her room. There you have it — the ideal jerk of a traveller. But unlucky for us, we know a few more. If you think you might be one, or know of someone who is, admittance is the first step. The second? Action.

1. When meeting other travellers…

What a jerk would do: Assume everyone wants to know where they’ve been (who they’ve been with), and how you “muuuust try this place out” the next time you’re in the south of France. In some cases, they brag about their time in Australia and may carry a mild Aussie accent.

What you should do: Listen, laugh, ask questions, laugh politely some more if needed. You could learn a thing or two about a place, and likewise. Plus, you can always unexpectedly meet some really cool cats on the road who end up becoming the best of Facebook buddies.

2. When visiting places of worship…

What a jerk would do: Dress inappropriately (“What? It’s hot!”). Next-level jerks do things like climb up structures and strip down for the sake of a picture — it happened a handful of times in Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, urging the implementation of stricter rules.

What you should do: Dress modestly to show your respect for all cultures and religion. Be aware of the history behind these places and show responsibility for preserving them. It’s not exactly a holy place, but did you know that tourists have been making keepsake of bricks from The Great Wall of China? Much of it is now missing!

3. When at the beach… 

What a jerk would do: Boss around the wait staff so you never have to be without a beer in hand. And if your order for a club sandwich takes more than 10 minutes, they’ve got another thing coming. You really don’t care that the kitchen is far away from the beach, or that it’s peak season.

What you should do: Slap on some sunscreen, turn on your Spotify, and lounge. Take full advantage of the opportunity to disconnect from the outside world (namely, the office) and breathe in the salty ocean air.

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4. When visiting an impoverished nation… 

What a jerk would do: Whine excessively and compare everything to the way they do things back at home. And, say things like “If they’d just…. the country would be much better”.

What you should do: Be curious, not crass. Appreciate your travels and the different experiences the world has to offer. Travel is not a competition between countries. If it is, you might want to rethink your reasons for travelling.

5. When scrolling through Facebook…

What a jerk would do: Comment on pictures or posts from other travellers giving them useless opinions on how you’ve (obviously) been there, and the service was just horrible. “The missus and I much preferred the three-starred Michelin down the road. Ask for Jean Paul, he’s an old friend”.

What you should do: Just ‘like’ a post unless your opinion is asked for.

6. When making a reservation… 

What a jerk would do: These reservations were just an option to you, but how would you know what you’d feel like doing once you got there? The spa, the restaurant, the tour — no deposit, no obligation. Bonus jerk points if it’s a restaurant reservation in Niseko you’re flaking on, these eateries are tiny and many have only ten tables that require a booking months in advance.

What you should do: Unless the jet lag has sunk in with a vengeance, or you’re really not up for it, call in advance to release your spot. If you can hash out a rough itinerary before your trip, do so.

7. When you don’t like the food…

What a jerk would do: The steak is too tough. The eggs are runny. The gravy is too thick. You’ll just die if you take a bite. So you insist the chef to make you something new, and be sure to give them a few cooking pointers.

Make it right: Unless the food is truly horrible or unsanitary, never waste it. If you did pay a sum to dine somewhere fancy and was looking forward to the experience, write a TripAdvisor review. You’ll be doing another jerk traveller a favour with your honesty.

This story was originally published on Wanderluxe by The Luxe Nomad.

Zafigo republished this story in full with permission from the author to hopefully bring the story and the author to a larger audience, simply because good authors and stories should be read by as many people as possible! If you are keen on Zafigo republishing your stories that will be of interest and useful to women travellers especially in Asia and the Middle East, please get in touch with us at [email protected].

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Dream a little, travel a lot. That’s our philosophy. We’re full-time nomads with a passport in one hand and laptop in the other, traversing the globe to find the best hideaways, eateries, and local scenes. And on our luxury villa and apartment booking portal TheLuxeNomad.com, you'll know you're always up for your best trip yet (with the best rates).

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