10 Pieces of Advice For The Amateur Traveler

(please…take no offense.  we’re all friends here)

1.   It’s difficult to pass off that you are well-traveled if you are one of those people who turn up their noses at the sight of a McDonalds or fake gagging noises when someone brings up the newest type of BurgerKing’s shake-em-up-fries.  Not only is McDonalds a reliable and friendly face that reminds you that the United States’s obesity habits have succeeded in infiltrating even the most rural of countries, it is also a heaven-sent location that allows you to do your business…for free.  #ifyouknowwhatimean

2.   Worried about gypsies, thieves, or some other type of criminal who might come by and snatch your camera from your hand, or sneak your wallet bulging with foreign cash that cost way too much to change out of our pocket?  That’s why we have the Chinese.  Not only are the plentiful roaming flocks ready and willing to lend you a hand by taking your awkward family group picture with your camera (perhaps with one of the several cameras or gadgets they have strapped to themselves as well), but they also are reliable tourists who are apt to fall victim to local criminal’s tricks too, so you can count on them not being one of the roaming vagabonds.  Instant bfffs right?!?!?!n Their cargo pants, elevated voices, and consistant ability to photobomb your own pictures because they have a personal bubble the size of a nickel also distracts from your own tourist-like apparel.

3.   There’s no such thing as a free hand-out…this is a form of art, people.  That sweet old lady standing on the side of the street offering you a stick that she probably picked up off the ground?  Yeah, that’s two euros please.  That guy walking around the train station who practically forces a tissue in your hand while you are innocently sitting in your seat trying to look as menacing as possible so some creep doesn’t sit next to you?  He wants it back…probably even if you’ve used it.  #fellforit

4.  Street signs and stoplights are there just for the heck of it.  It’s ambience, perhaps?  If there’s a spot open in a lane, either hurry your butt across or it’s gonna be filled by a speeding car (most likely occupied by a man who has an aptitude for smarmy comments and cat-calls), regardless of what color the light is.  The policemen (especially in Spain, interestingly enough) aren’t there to keep traffic order, either.  Their job is to stand outside their cars in small groups and look attractive.  Oh, and unless you can read maps that have undeniably been drawn by men smoking opium, it’s probably best just to wing it without one.

5.   Planning to hit up all of those museums with “free entry” hours that you scoured the internet for, because you’re just so resourceful and clever?    Yeah, wait until you realize that literally every other tourist knows how to use the internet too, and they are lined up an hour and a half early in front of the doors.  #sadtruth

6.  So you know all of those years you spent in high school and college studying the language of said-travelled-to country?  Mark Twain once said,

In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language“.

He was a wise man.  Just saying.

7.   You’re on your own.  Expecting that cheesy Disney-like movie experience where the hot foreign guy on the vespa finds happens to pick you, yes you, out of a sea of millions of his own people, and then lets you ride behind him holding onto his rock-hard abs as he gives you a romantic tour of the city?  Well, here’s what you didn’t know.  He smokes, has two other girlfriends, doesn’t wear deodorant, and there’s also a fair chance that he’s in the Armenian sex-slave cartel as well.  #allmyhopesanddreamsareruined

8.  Brushing up on the fake foreign accent of your choice is never a bad idea.  Especially if it makes you sound like Prince Charles or Kate Middleton.  It’s hard not to like an educated Brit.  Canadians are always good too – yeah, very neutral.  Make sure not to pair this technique with Crocs, FitFlops, Shapeups, or Teevas.  They’re dead giveaways that you’re lying. #murica4lyfe

9.  Oh, you’re on a diet?  Please tell me more about how fun it is to travel while munching on your rice cakes and celery.  Who needs paella, savory bocadillos, and crepes dripping with chocolate anyway?  Save money, eat cardboard.

10.  Wipe that smile off your face.  Ever wondered why people joke about the “stupid Americans”?  …or is it the “fat Americans”?  Either way.  It’s because we all walk around with these big smiles on our faces!  (Unless you live on the East Coast, of course…then you probably don’t even know how to smile because people over there seem to like having premature forehead and frown wrinkles).  If you smile at a stranger when you’re walking down the street in other countries you’re either saying 1) “hey hot stuff, I like you – wanna head over to your place tonight?” or, 2) “you’ve got something disturbing hanging from that long nose hair of yours, you may want to brush it off”.  And for the love of everything dear to you, never smile and say hello to a stranger of the opposite sex as you pass by.  Who knows where that could lead?  #dontgetoldmenshopesup

As I’m sure you are all well aware, the list continues to grow and there are many miles to cover before I can say I am even slightly more intelligent than the average traveler.  Please offer me your own advice!

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