Travel Tips

The Worst Adventure Travel Advice I’ve Ever Heard

September 17, 2015

by Mered­ith Wires

Trav­el­ing can be a life chang­ing expe­ri­ence, a chance to grow, explore and learn about dif­fer­ent cul­tures. It can be an over­whelm­ing­ly pow­er­ful tool to under­stand the way of world and to rec­og­nize how much you don’t know, to broad­en your hori­zons and gain new perspectives.

The trav­el bug bit me about 8 years ago when I drove across my beau­ti­ful home coun­try, Cana­da – bik­ing, hik­ing and camp­ing along the way. It was the first trip I had planned and the first trip I felt was my own. Since then, I have trav­eled inter­na­tion­al­ly to many cul­tur­al­ly rich, beau­ti­ful, wel­com­ing des­ti­na­tions includ­ing; Thai­land, Cos­ta Rica, Cam­bo­dia and New Zealand. Lead­ing up to each trip, friends, fam­i­ly and acquain­tances would hap­pi­ly offer advice. As a solo female trav­el­er – many expressed it was a bad idea to trav­el alone, that cer­tain des­ti­na­tions were out of the ques­tion and asked — wouldn’t I rather spend a week at the beach? I’m not sure what com­pelled me to trav­el – but I do know, it changed me for the better.

Here is the WORST travel advice I have been given:

“Don’t Go to (Insert Place Here), It’s Too Dangerous”

Most people’s view of a coun­try is stemmed from how that spe­cif­ic place is rep­re­sent­ed in the media. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the media offers a fair­ly neg­a­tive view of the world and exag­ger­ates crime, unrest, and dis­as­ters. If our entire world­view was shaped by the way the media por­trayed the world, I would nev­er go anywhere!

Remem­ber to pinch your­self, step out of the media’s shad­ow and do your own research. To vis­it many places – you need to step out of your com­fort zone. You may find your­self feel­ing vul­ner­a­ble, but this is ulti­mate­ly how we learn new things and grow.

“It’s not wise to Travel Alone if You’re a Woman”

Trav­el­ing alone as a woman may bring a few more chal­lenges, but over­all it’s a rather lib­er­at­ing expe­ri­ence. Screw your head on tight to your shoul­ders, don’t be too skep­ti­cal, be real­is­tic and under­stand not every­one is out to get you. Talk to peo­ple – you may slow­ly fig­ure out the world is full of good, warm-heart­ed people.

“You Don’t Need Travel Insurance”

Acci­dents hap­pen… and they may be more like­ly depend­ing on the pur­pose of your trip – moun­tain bik­ing per­haps? Don’t shy away from find­ing a good trav­el insur­ance provider to cov­er your butt, even if you are plan­ning a more relax­ing get­away. Don’t know where to start? Check out “How to buy Trav­el Insurance”

“Traveling is too expensive, it’s easier to stay home”

If you plan ahead and make trav­el a pri­or­i­ty there are many ways to decrease the cost of your trip. Col­lect trav­el rewards points, don’t set­tle for the first deal you find and try to bor­row trav­el gear from friends and fam­i­ly. Spend­ing your hard earned mon­ey on life chang­ing expe­ri­ences is way more reward­ing than spend­ing it on the newest iPhone or an expen­sive pair of jeans. Plus, you won’t get views like this from home…

“Don’t eat the local food, you will get sick”

One of the best ways to expe­ri­ence a cul­ture is through food.  You know your body and your tol­er­ance for spicy, salty, bit­ter, sweet foods. Not sure if some­thing will agree with you? Try a lit­tle bite, ask about the ingre­di­ents and enjoy every­thing in mod­er­a­tion. One of the best meals I’ve ever had was in an alley­way in Cam­bo­dia – was I reluc­tant at first? Of course! Don’t be afraid to try new things. You may sur­prise yourself.

“Don’t trust anyone”

This goes back to our media-dri­ven view of the world. Be real­is­tic about who you talk to, who you give mon­ey to and the envi­ron­ment you find your­self in. From my expe­ri­ence, the major­i­ty of peo­ple on this plan­et are kind. They want to help you, give you advice and share their sto­ries. Open an ear to their world, lis­ten and reflect.

“Don’t Leave the Resort”

I admit it – I have been ner­vous to leave my hotel. Scared of look­ing like a lost tourist and feel­ing vul­ner­a­ble. I also think this is a com­plete­ly nor­mal feel­ing – espe­cial­ly if you are trav­el­ing alone. Con­nect with the hotel staff, find out the local hot spots, the best places to eat, best places to explore on foot – and bike. Sit­ting in your hotel or around the resort pool is not expe­ri­enc­ing a place. Remem­ber, you learn on the edge of your com­fort zone. Plus, you won’t get views like this from your hotel… 

“Plan everything!”

Trust me — leave room for spon­tane­ity. You nev­er know who you are going to meet, how your inter­ests in a coun­try might change once you arrive and the rec­om­men­da­tions you will receive from the locals on where to vis­it. Research your des­ti­na­tion, have an under­stand­ing of what inter­ests you and have a gen­er­al plan – but def­i­nite­ly have an open mind for the unknown. 

“Don’t Get a Guide”

A local guide – that is how you tru­ly expe­ri­ence a place. When it comes to adven­ture trav­el, a guide adds an immense amount of val­ue to a trip – point­ing out inter­est­ing facts about wildlife, pro­vid­ing insights on the local cul­ture, rec­om­mend­ing trails and usu­al­ly enhanc­ing the trip with humour, per­son­al anec­dotes and con­nect­ing you with the local land­scape. With the knowl­edge of a local guide, you walk away with a more enrich­ing experience.

Have you ever been given bad travel advice? Let us know in the comments below!