Annoying travellers everywhere? Tell me about it. Sometimes I’m an annoying traveller, too.
For example, I once lose my temper when there was a problem with my hotel booking in Thailand. The poor hotel receptionist had to listen to my rants. When I think about it again, I feel really bad. I was really tired that day. Even so, it wasn’t right for me to blow a fuse. I should’ve stayed calm instead. I suppose we all had been to a point where we, too, were annoying to the people around us while travelling.
Of all the things people do while travelling which I find annoying, these are the 5 ones that annoy me the most.
1. Taking Selfies, or the same photos over and over again
Many people like selfies. I love selfies, too. Just as long as it’s not too much. Taking selfies is also fun when you do it with friends. When I travel, especially when I’m alone, I tend to take selfies. Sometimes you just want to be in your photographs. It’s nice to have someone taking your photos for you. But when you’re on your own, you just have to do it yourself.
Of course, when you do it yourself, the photos don’t always look great. You may need to take multiple photos of the same thing in case one or two of them happen to be blurry. For some people, they need to take gazillions of photos of just the same thing. Okay, I’m obviously exaggerating. What I’m trying to say is some people could spend more than 3o minutes at one place just photographing what they see.
If you’re a photographer, that’s understandable. If you’re not, why not focus on getting the whole experience rather than spending too much time taking photos?
I remember this one time when I was in Krabi. Upon reaching Poda Island, the first thing I did was jump into the beach water. There weren’t many people in the water. Many of them were too busy taking photos. When I got out from the water, they were still taking photos at the same spot!
In the end, no one should tell you what to do. When travelling, it’s your experience after all. If you want to take hundreds of photos of yourself standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, so be it.
Anyway, you won’t be the only one taking photos. I’m pretty sure that when you look around you, there are hundreds of other people doing the same thing, too. If you want to take a photo of you (I mean just you) with one of the monuments you have been eyeing, you may have to wait for your turn, or until the place is clear. Otherwise you just have to include others in your shots. After all, travel attractions are open to the public.
Here’s what you can do: Come back again tomorrow. And you better get there before the others do!
2. Always complaining about how everything should work the way it does back home
I have come across many travellers who like to complain about petty things. These are also the people who like to compare their country to other countries, and then complain about the things that make their travel a little more challenging while they’re abroad. For example, they complained about other people who don’t speak English.
Assuming that the rest of the world uses English is absurd to me. Even in a country like Malaysia (where English is our 2nd language), you’ll still find folks who can’t speak proper English. Some of them don’t even speak English at all!
Also, how things work in our country may not always work the same way in other countries. We can’t assume that everything in the world runs with just one type of system.
I also don’t fancy people who keep telling others that certain places aren’t worth visiting because they’re already “ruined”. “Don’t waste your time. It’s not the same as before. It’s spoiled by tourists.” Does this sound familiar to you?
Honestly, I don’t really care if the destination that I intend to visit isn’t really as how it was before, or if it’s flooded with tourists. The main point is I haven’t been there, and I want to go there.
Touristy destinations don’t always bother me. If a place is touristy, I’ll try to avoid the areas that are crowded with people and explore further where there are fewer people, or perhaps nobody at all. Many times, I stumbled upon hidden gems that didn’t look spoiled to me, or were flooded with people. I always believe that there’s a place that’s off the beaten path no matter where we go. We just need to put our efforts to find it.
3. Being insensitive about other cultures
Ask any travellers why they travel, and I bet one of their answers is to learn and experience other cultures. If that’s so true, why is it that we often stumble upon people who are dressed inappropriately in certain places, such as religious sites and conservative areas?
When I was staying in one of the hotels in Laos, I came across a traveller who got upset when he was asked by the hotel staff to take off his shoes prior to entering the hotel.
Why was he so upset? Is it because he wasn’t aware of the culture, or is it because he simply didn’t care? He should’ve done his research about the country before even getting there in the first place. I thought he was rude.
Sometimes travellers are just unintentionally rude. I was, too. Like that time when I wore a pair of mini shorts to a Buddhist temple in Bangkok. Visiting the temple wasn’t on my initial plan. My friend and I stumbled upon it while we were exploring the city. He saw it and he told me he wanted to go there. I said, “Yeah, why not?”
I knew I wasn’t supposed to enter the temple in shorts. Thus, I just walked around the temple’s outdoor surroundings. Since then, I either wear trousers, or shorts that are below my knees.
Tip: If you’re visiting Batu Caves, make sure your arms and legs are covered. Otherwise, you won’t be able to enter the site. Optionally, you can find scarves for rent at a small booth just in front of the temple’s main gate.
There are also many travellers who say they don’t like reading about their destinations beforehand. They like surprises. Surprises add more fun to their travels. After all, surprises are just part of their adventures. Well, I don’t consider a visit to a Buddhist temple, a church, or a mosque as an adventure, though.
In this case, it’s best not to surprise the locals by how inappropriate you dress, or surprise yourself when they tell you that you’re not allowed to enter the site just because your dressing is inappropriate.
4. Thinking they’re better than everybody else
I have many friends who backpack around the world on a really low budget. Most of them are backpackers. I mean, they’re not the ones who call themselves backpackers just because they travel with a backpack on their backs.
I have also met many other travellers who call themselves backpackers when in reality they’re not. You can find them travelling with backpacks, splurging their money on all kinds of things, or dining and sleeping in fancy places only. Most of them are flashpackers.
While backpacking is associated to budget travel and destinations that are relatively cheap, flashpacking is backpacking with a bigger budget.
It’s funny that I’ve met backpackers who tend to criticize flashpackers, and flashpackers who tend to criticize backpackers. Many of them don’t realise that they could either be both backpackers and flashpackers.
Honestly, I don’t care in which category I fall into. Backpacker or flashpacker, who cares? I’ve stayed in both shitty and fancy places while travelling. Sometimes I have more money for my travels. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I feel like ordering the cheapest local food available. Sometimes I just miss the food back home.
One thing for sure is that I don’t usually stay in fancy places when I travel. But when I do, I do it for a special occasion. Say, it’s my birthday. If I’m sharing a room with someone, I don’t mind spending a little more for a private room. I can switch the light off anytime I want, or have a pillow talk for as long as I like.
It’s not surprising to find backpackers in nice resorts instead of hostels. Maybe they’ve got good deals from somewhere and are just spending very little money for the fancy places that they’re staying. Why not?
Furthermore, with a company like Traveloka that gives 70% hotel discounts on every Friday, even budget travellers can now afford to stay in fancy hotels anytime they want.
For those who have spent a long time travelling on the road, a treat to a nice staycation is not such a bad thing after all. Just because you’re a backpacker, doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to something nice once in awhile. As long as you can afford it, why not?
I’ve also met travellers who travel on luxury and love criticizing “broke” travellers. “Why travel when you can’t afford it?”
First of all, not all budget travellers are broke. Even if they don’t have much money to travel, you’d be surprised to see how creative they get to support their travels. Dreams can come true if you work on them. You’ve got to be brave to do the things others say they’d never do. Sometimes you just have to swallow all the criticisms given by others.
There are also some budget travellers who aren’t very kind to those travelling for a week or 2. I’ve met the ones who criticize short-term travellers just because they think it’s such a waste of money to go on a very short holiday.
Let’s not forget that not everyone gets to take long holidays. I may think travelling all the way to a different continent for just a week is a waste of money. But for people with a lot of commitments to their jobs and families, a short holiday means a lot to them. It’s better than nothing!
The point is: let’s try not to be too judgemental and think we’re better than everybody else. Keep calm and just travel.
5. Getting overly upset over unforeseen circumstances
Just like life, travelling is never easy. Even when you have all your needs taken care by your tour agents, you’re never really comfortable. There’s always something that can bother you. For example, unforeseen circumstances.
I’ve already been on trips with both easy-going and difficult people. The easy-going ones are usually calm even in the most difficult times because they either understand that unforeseen circumstances are just part of everyday life, or they’re aware of the kinds of troubles that might occur during their travels. Travelling is full of ups and downs after all.
On the other hand, difficult people get easily upset whenever a problem occurs. They expect things to be smooth all the time. If not, they will start complaining and blaming everything on others. Then they start moping around and getting all stressed out. Eventually they start making everyone else feel annoyed, too.
I vividly remember when the speedboat from Gili Trawangan couldn’t take me and all of its other passengers back to Bali due to the strong waves that day. We were all transferred to a local ferry, which was painfully slow. Many of the other travellers were upset. The trip took about 6 hours. I was glad that I didn’t have a flight to catch. But I was supposed to meet up with my friends in Kuta, Bali.
Instead of reaching Bali at 1pm, we arrived at 11pm instead. All the waiting got us late. I was really tired that day. I didn’t have a book to read and my MP3 was running out of battery. There was nothing much to do on the ferry. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I made a new friend that day. And because we had a good conversation together, time seemed to move faster.
There was another time when I had to experience an unforeseen occurrence. It happened in Malaysia. The bus which I took from Kuala Lumpur to Taman Negara had to stop its service half way due to an unexpected road block.
An annoying group of travellers who sat behind me on the bus approached the bus driver and started complaining. One of them said “But sir, we’ve paid so much money for this.” And the bus driver said “I know you have, so did everybody else.”
Jeez, all they needed was a little more patience. Not long after that, a couple of vans came to pick us up.
What about you? What annoying things have other travellers done to annoy you when travelling? It’s okay if you, too, have done any one of the things mentioned. I did, too!
That’s why travelling is a learning experience. Not only does it helps us to be more aware of everything around us, it also helps us achieve growth in many aspects of life. And it makes us appreciate our similarities and differences.