If you hang out a lot in hostels, you see a huge variety of young people from all different walks of life. Some are already seasoned travelers, and some are still on their first trip. The truth is, while most of the people you meet as a young traveler are amazing, there are certain traits that can absolutely ruin an otherwise life-changing experience. Whether you see them in yourself or in other people, these are 11 traits that we could all learn to do without.
1. Lack of curiosity
Maybe this traveler doesn’t want to extend beyond their comfort zone, maybe they don’t care about anything that’s different than what they know…but they’re missing out on a whole unopened world! And if this traveler does finally arrive in a destination unknown, they will retreat to familiar patterns and safety. It’s hard, but by throwing caution to the wind the rewards will be that much greater.
David Sim on Flickr
Many things will take time when you are traveling. Especially traveling to a country where work takes place at a different pace than your own. Learn to relax when a train is late, and instead of feeling sorry for yourself take the time to appreciate the place that you’re in.
Just as honesty is an important trait to have in normal life, so is it while in a foreign country. People everywhere respect honesty and forwardness, and even if the truth hurts, it hurts less than the consequence of being untrue.
Mallix on Flickr
It’s not always fun and games and sometimes your trip can start to feel like work. Some travelers just throw in the towel and decide that they are going to spend the day in bed instead. While it’s OK to take your time to slow down and enjoy the experience, don’t let a moment of tiredness let you miss out on any potentially amazing experiences.
5. Cultural Disinterest
If you go to a place completely foreign from your own and fail to even explore what makes that destination unique, you might as well have stayed home. Take some time to learn from a local, and try to figure out why they do things differently. An ounce of genuine curiosity can be rewarded with an unbelievable amount of goodwill.
shankar on Flickr
6. Being disrespectful
In the same vein as cultural interest, don’t start your traveling life by demeaning the lifestyle of a cultural different than yours. Maybe it’s dirtier than you’re used to, or maybe they eat food in a totally different manner, or any of the other millions of ways in which cultures are different but that doesn’t mean your way of doing things is automatically better. Take some time to learn and understand why things are different than how you expected.
7. Staying Uninformed
With the unbelievable power of the internet, there is no excuse to not have a basic understanding of the destination you are traveling to. Life pro tip – read a country’s Wikipedia page before visiting. You’ll get a nice overview of their history, culture, and current problems before even setting foot in their country.
8.Too much complaining
Sometimes we are so lucky to have the opportunity to travel at all that we lose perspective on how truly unique and special it is. It’s easy to say that your bed in the hotel is lumpy or the food you had for breakfast wasn’t up to par, but instead of dwelling and complaining learn to chalk them up to useful experiences and move on.
Photo: hradcanska on Flickr
Don’t automatically assume that your way of thinking is superior. Maybe someone has input that you haven’t considered yet. Instead of blindly believing that you’re right, consider the opinions of everyone you meet and leave room in your brain for change.
10. Being too rigid
Things will go wrong on your trip. That is a fact. I don’t think there has ever been a “perfect” trip in history. Learn to roll with the punches and to think on your feet. Remember, “Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God” – Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle
11. Having no sense of humor
Probably one of the most important things anyone can learn. Appreciate the nuances of your trip and learn to take joy in even the mistakes. With a sense of humor you can learn to tackle anything that comes your way, and you’ll have a much better time doing it.
Sarankot Pokhara on Flickr
Cover Photo on Flickr