Do the Don’ts
When you travel there are always people giving you “advice”. From your fellow travellers to online articles and travel magazines, an inescapable avalanche of goodwill. In one corner you’ve got the promoters telling you where to go and what to do (sometimes adamantly), you would swear they were on commission (ps some are). As for the other corner, you got the Naysayers plundering you into submission, possibly scaremongering you into changing your flights home (do not go with air china though they are horrendous – so I have heard , or been TOLD x earache)
In some cases the advice and tips may be helpful. However it can and will curb your “experience”. Certain rules are there to be broken and boundaries to be tested. It´s what real traveling is about.
I have compiled some examples of where you can do the don’ts & don’t the do’s. Just a few, as with the other lists they reel off so much information, they might as well have (take a photographic memory with you) as a pointer too!
Do’s and donts.
Oh no you don’t, this is a sure fire way of paying full price and always ending up in the same hostels, with the same people, doing the same things. It´s not a small world, just a cliche one when people are like sheep and play follow the leader. You can get discounts for hostels that aren’t full if you ask upon arrival. You may also discover hidden gems of accommodation which are not listed on tripadvisor – often a lot cheaper and just because they are not on the web scene doesn’t mean they won’t have a mean breakfast. The coup de grace being they won’t have as many customers as the òther` hostels, therefore being more grateful for your business and treating you like gods!
Take medication with you.
Don’t. There will plenty of over cautious travellers that are more than willing to lend you a hand and provide you with some of their overflowing supplies. Just a groan in the right direction works wonders, especially if you’re sharing a dorm where your illness (namely coughing) can inconvenience others. Also you run the risk of being `banged up abroad` crossing international boundaries with that pain medication you bought in a local asian pharmacy, who knows if it’s even legal there, not to mention the country you going to. That local aspirin may cause a different headache entirely!
Cook in Hostel
No, no, no….. Who wants to go shopping for ingredients, lugging them back and then actually COOKing them. Don`t even mention the washing up! A quick scout in your community fridge will produce wonders – handily the labels let you know if the owner´s are in proximity! How does a scoop of Diegos pasta, handful of Henriks potatoes and a smattering of Lucys salad sound: Take just enough to avoid suspicion and wallah you have your very own meal.
Hook up in your hostel
The sensible advice is to book a private room in your hostel. This very idea involves an element of pre planning and neglects that hookups are usually in the moment, fuelled by drink, emotions and hormones – and who can control that! For the majority of travelers the budget doesn’t extend to a private room. And if your partner (for the night at least) is from another hostel, it is the same problem different location. Same same but different!
Best just do a quick drunken search around the hostel, private rooms and empty dorms are almost always unlocked anyhow. Trust me I have worked in a few!
Failing that, if you do have to use a dorm, at least go to theirs, but if you are in the same dorm, then their bed. Look, hostel sex isn’t meant to be sensual and of tantric durations. In, out & out again; make your escape after the ole hug and roll.
Remember the crime scene isn´t your bed and unless people have infra red vision or worse still know your sex noises (then you have bigger problems my friend) you should be resent stare free in the morning. No such luck for your conquest. You can always make it up to them the next night!
Have a BF or GF at Home
By all means have one at your leisure. The consensus here is that there is too much temptation on the road. Well i say stick 2 fingers up to the consensus and do your own. thing. Defy Oscar Wilde and resist anything including temptation. Having someone you love while you are away can keep you grounded and help you focus on the important things. I know many a person whose travel plans have changed and burned while on the road because of a new lover. You can concentrate on the important things of travel. You may get lonely but there will other solo committed people on the travels you can corroborate with and confide in. Living in this digital age your telephone is a portal of communication and your loved one is only a finger tap away. Just maybe hold off on the naked photos until the icloud hacking storm has cleared!
Buy a Car
Transport is super cheap they say, getting a car is a nightmare they holler. The worst thing that can happen is that you run out of time and have to sell the car for a lot cheaper than you wanted. Guess what – that´s the reason you got such a bargain in the first place, the person who sold it to you, is you – albeit a few months down the line. A car can get you from A to B, taking a pit stop at C, dodging speed cameras at D and sleeping at E. It is transport, accommodation and storage all rolled into one. A bit of research, some travel buddies and you have signed up for one of the best experiences of your life. Saving you astronomical sums of money at peak events around the world. you may indeed be sleeping on the streets, although inside a comfy cocoon, half a metre off the ground.
Swimming against the tide and ignoring the standard advice is refreshing. As someone once said, bad decisions make great stories and you learn more by doing, than by following. Stick with the three for now. Too many don’ts sometimes make a fight, the only command I swear by is Don’t go to jail.
Featured in Detour Magazine – a bimonthly magazine aimed at backpackers within Australia
Also published in Abstract Magazine, a cleaner, edited, more user friendly version.