One of the best things about travel is meeting so many new people. But, much like in other areas of life, it’s a statistical probability that some of them are going to be awful.
There’s nothing worse than realising 5 minutes into the conversation that your new hostel room-mate is a complete and utter dick. Or feeling the drop in your stomach as you realise the woman shouting loudly at the bus driver in English is going to be seated next to you for 8 long hours.
I find one thing that helps is to mentally write my hilarious dinner party anecdotes about those plonkers while they’re talking. It helps immensely.
Of course, you’re not going to get along with everyone; that’s okay provided you’re being a good person. Really that should just be your life motto, don’t be a dick.
It’s not hard to be a nice person. Just:
Learn a bit of the language
It always baffles me how people fail to even learn how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in the local tongue. If you’re terrible at languages there’s always an app on your phone, or even write down a few phrases phonetically to keep in your wallet. The locals might have a giggle at your pronunciation but I promise they’ll be laughing with you.
Research and respect the local customs
I’ve never rolled my eyes harder than I did when I overheard someone complaining about closures and delays during the Balinese new year celebrations. What would you say if someone complained that shops weren’t open on Christmas day? Check ahead when you’re planning a trip and if you do come up against delays simply take them on the chin, and appreciate the experience!
Don’t haggle over less than a dollar
If you do, you’re being a dick. Stop it. Stop it now. It’s freaking dollar. You’ve gone haggling mad.
True story: we once overheard a German lady arguing furiously about a perceived mistake on her bill. Some stealthy eavesdropping revealed the difference was 10 cents. Dick.
In many countries it’s deeply offensive to walk around in beach attire when you’re not on the beach. Dodgy tan lines are worth not offending a whole village. Check with your accommodation about rules and, if in doubt, don’t get the girls out.
Respect your fellow travellers
Whether that’s keeping quiet when you stumble in at 2am, not hogging the shared computers, or just being polite. Build up your travel karma. It will come round eventually, trust me.
Everyone loves the person that interjects into the stories of others with how they did a similar trip themselves, only better. Oh no wait – we hate those people! It’s fine to offer advice and tell your own stories in a conversation, but don’t start a game of one upmanship. Eventually, there’ll be someone who can beat your stories and then won’t you feel silly?
Don’t be a snob
Just because you’re on a super budget 12 month trip doesn’t mean you’re a better person than the person who’s taking a tour using annual leave. Everyone has their own way to see the world, and no way is better than another – just better for that individual.
What do you think? Have you come across some dicks while you’ve been travelling. or, perish the though, have you been one of the bad guys?