As a traveller I meet a lot of people. And meeting people is always the highlight of my trips. Personally, no matter how beautiful the place is, it becomes forgettable without meeting awesome people on the way. And there are also not-so-awesome places that becomes unforgettable because of the people you meet. But with meeting fun people comes meeting people that you don’t simply get along with because of certain things they do…or say. It’s not that I hate them but they just say things that make me question their existence. Just kidding! So here are my major travel pet peeves.
1. Tourist vs Travellers Debate
We heard it all the time, we saw it in memes and has been a subject of discussions among so called “travel experts”. Apparently, there are categories for people who like selfies, visiting landmarks and eating at McDonald’s aka tourists vs people who like to “bask” in the moment, speak the local language and sleep on rat-infected accommodations to immerse oneself in local culture aka “travellers”. With the latter being more aggressive.
I get it. You sound cool when you can pronounce sawadee ka with perfect Thai accent and wearing your elephant pants make you look like a local. But since when we should dictate someone’s way to travel? I personally hate it. I sometimes cover several countries in short period of time and stay in nice hotels when I want it but also do slow travel, hang out with locals, visit ethnic tribes to study their way of living and stay in hostels. But my travel expert friend called me out for visiting a country for just a couple of days by asking me “are you a traveller or are you a tourist?” Like being a tourist is a bad thing and being a traveller is the hip thing. He thinks staying in bug-infested room and asking random strangers to let you in for the night are much cooler things that real travellers do whatever that means. Things that personally I won’t do because you know my safety is more important than being “cool” and because there’s no way I would sleep in bug-infested room when I can afford to stay in nicer places.
So what about letting people enjoy their way of travel whether it’s “touristy” or “real traveller’s” stuff? What’s with label anyway?
2. Counting vs Not Counting Layover Countries
Ever heard of people dictate (yes they shove it on your throat) that you should not count layovers as a country you have been to. Because you only have been there for few hours. Therefore you haven’t seen the place in real sense. Even if you stepped outside of the airport, eat local food, talk to locals, seen some things – nope you’ve never been in that country. It will ruin their experience because they stayed longer and they think it’s unfair to them you count your less than 48 hours layover when they don’t count theirs. Yes, totally unfair to them.
So why not let people count their own numbers the way they want it? It’s not as if it’s a crime. And if that makes them happy, let them be.
3. The America vs US
People get annoyed by Americans addressing themselves as “from America” because you know America is a continent divided into to two, one is the North and the other one is the South. And so therefore Americans should say US and not America. Yes, you get an instant lecture in geography on your own country by experts. And as if it’s not enough, it will be followed by discussion which one is the proper term for Americans since it’s United States of America so therefore Americans should call themselves United Statesians of America or United State Americans – whatever you prefer as long as it’s not American. Because you know, in Brazil, they call themselves Brazilians, in Chile with Chileans etc etc and they are also Americans (coming from South America) but then don’t claim to be Americans.
What about this? Let people call themselves whatever they want and let them claim wherever in the world they’re from. For sure they know better what to call themselves and where they can identify from.
4. Staying In vs Staying Out
Although it’s not as bad as the first three, I heard travellers complain about how someone love to stay in rather than go out. I get this. You spend money, you fly far away and you want to sleep inside the comfort of your hotel? Then why travel?
Well, what about minding your own business? Some people have their own level of comfort. Also you don’t know what’s their exact situation. When I’m travelling for too long, I miss a routine. So from time to time I would soak in my hotel room and watch movies to recuperate from all the walking and from all the stuff that “real” travellers do all day. There are other people that would prepare a staycation from time to time because you don’t know how stressful life is for some back home. Besides, as long as they are not asking you to pay for their trip, so what’s the deal?
5. Taking Pictures vs Be In The Moment
I love being in the moment more than anything else. For me, it’s a time to commune with nature. But I also love taking pictures and taking memories with me; whether it’s a silly selfie or landscape photography. So I won’t judge people who take too many pictures or people not wanting to take any. Some people need solid reminder of the places they’ve been to and others want to keep it in their hearts. Whatever floats your boat.
And yes, learn to mind your own boat.
This is not in any way to insult those travellers who fall in this spectrum but since when travelling has become a competition? And since when it becomes about the “cool things”? Do we have a travel coolness congress somewhere we don’t know about?
A lot of people travel for different reasons and on different ways. If you are going to judge them for the way they travel, then the point of travel fails you. And that is to expand your horizon and open yourself to the culture and ways of others and to accept that everyone is different and they will want different things from you no matter what you think.
My advice? Do you.