Recently on Reddit, u/jolros asked the r/Travel community “What common piece of travel advice do you purposefully ignore?” They came through with some pretty eye-opening responses!
“Sometimes, when you are short on time, a bus tour to Pompeii or the Acropolis is better than planning it yourself. It’s great to be a cool and savvy world traveler, but occasionally, it is actually fine to do the tour thing.”
“+1 on organized excursions. Honestly, having someone explain to you the history and cultural significance of a site is better than me googling it as I try to line up trains to get back to my Airbnb/hostel/hotel.”
“A common piece of advice on here is to stay in hostels and, if you say you don’t like hostels, people will insist that you should just get a private room in a hostel to experience ‘the best of both worlds.’ I happily ignore that advice while enjoying my fluffy robe and nice sheets in my hotel room.”
“‘Don’t eat street food.’ Oh, I eat it. I love booking food tours for my first day in a new place: not only does that give me the lay of the land, but a local tells me about the food I should eat, how to figure out where is safe, and gives me many suggestions! The one time I got food poisoning in Mexico was from a high-end restaurant catering to tourists. But I’ve never had an issue with the elotes, tamales, or salteñas stands.”
“Trying to find something that is super secret and no other tourist has gone to. With the internet, good things generally get written up about and discussed.”
“You should be seeking ‘authentic’ experiences, to ‘live like the locals’…No matter what I do, I am not going to truly ‘live like a local’ as a temporary visitor, so putting a bunch of effort into trying to do that has never made sense to me. I do the things I’m interested in doing. If those things are what local people do, so be it. I’m not too concerned, so long as the things I’m doing aren’t harming anyone.”
“For me it’s the HoHo (Hop on/Hop off) bus. Most advice I’ve seen is anti-HoHo, but I’ve used them particularly on Day 1, the day of arrival or morning after, to get a lay of the land and chill. Then I get about my plan.”
“It’s not really against travel advice, but I remember telling my parents about how cool it was to go to a Chinese restaurant while living in Rome, and they scoffed at the idea. I’m in Italy, I should be having Italian food! But seeing Chinese food through the lens of Italy was really cool and interesting. So now I always try to hit up different culture restaurants from the places I visit.”
“I ignore advice about those shoulder bags with steel (or whatever) straps that can’t be cut through. I just keep valuables in my pockets (the same way I do at home) or in my money belt. The shoulder bag or crossover bag is just for stuff like my map, mitts, etc.”
“I used to look for badly-reviewed hotels. You can find the truth in bad reviews. For example, a hotel where you can’t find a chair at the pool and the music from the night club thumps until 4 a.m. sounded delightful when I was a young, single man.”
“‘Try to mingle with locals and ask questions.’ Rick, please they are busy with their lives.”
“On this site, I’ve seen a couple of people say it’s pointless to take pictures with you in them, since you ‘know what you look like.’ To me that’s ridiculous. As you grow, you will get older and look different, and it can be fun to look back and think ‘I remember that shirt,’ or, ‘Look how hot it was, I was all sweaty,’ or whatever. Also, if you just go and take a picture of the Eiffel tower or whatever without you in it, you could just download a much better photo someone else took. On a similar vein, I’ve seen a couple things about Photoshopping crowds out, which I also think is silly. If crowds are part of the experience, they should be captured so I can better remember my trip later, warts and all.”
“Anytime anyone suggests animal tourism of any kind. I’m sure there’s some animal tourism that is responsibly run, but the vast majority seems to be abusive in some way or another. This is especially true when it comes to wildlife, but even animal tourism with domesticated animals can be problematic.”
“The obvious exception would be safaris that ensure that these animals avoid extinction, and where they basically get to live freely as they would in nature.”
“‘Just get lost in the back alleys’ or ‘Spend the afternoon exploring the neighborhood.’ I mean, I get what they are saying, but I’m not gonna just wander around aimlessly. I like to research cool neighborhoods and at least make a plan to try and walk through some of those alleys/streets multiple times on different routes on my way to somewhere. If you spend enough time in a city walking around, you’ll naturally find a lot of cool streets and shops.”
“‘Skip X.’ Absolutely not. Go and see for yourself.”
“Heard that about Stonehenge on Askreddit threads several times, went to see it myself, and had a blast. At least give the place a try (unless it’s something super unremarkable, unsafe or otherwise bad).”
“Pack what you need to be happy, look good, and feel good, and just check a bag. People have this obsession about packing so little and I’ve found I’m better off just being prepared with more outfits instead of not enough. You never know what occasions or weather will crop up.”
“I’ve been told many times that the itineraries of my trips are too packed and you can’t really ‘get the feel’ of a city/country/etc if you are jumping from location to location. While I agree with that to an extent, as someone who can only do international trips occasionally, I think it is fine to try to pack as much into a trip as possible, knowing that you might not be able to take another trip in the near future. Is four countries in 10 days a lot? Yes, but I would rather exhaust myself seeing everything I can while I’m young(ish) than limit myself to one location per trip. Along these same lines, I hate when I read that ‘You can’t do [X country] in one week. You need at least two or three.’ That just isn’t realistic to a lot of people. Just do what you can. A week is better than nothing.”
“The advice is to stay in charming 500-year-old hotels. Nope. Yeah, they’re charming and neat, but there’s always a problem or inconvenience. Floors creak, bathrooms and/or plumbing is problematic, heating pipes bang all night, your bedroom window looks out over a parking lot, Wi-Fi doesn’t work….these are all problems I’ve had at charming old hotels.”
Have you heard any travel tips that you think are bogus? Share with us in the comments below!
Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.