“Whatever you do, don’t eat the street food!”
“Avoid touristy locations at all cost!”
While some travel advice is helpful and can make your next vacation the best one ever, other travel advice is dated – even harmful – and should be avoided at all costs.
As an avid traveler, I’ve heard my share of bad travel advice over the years, but here are the top three worst pieces of travel advice I’ve ever received – and what you should do instead.
Don’t Eat The Street Food
When I first went to El Salvador – I was told to avoid eating anything not sold in a restaurant and fully cooked.
And there is some truth to this.
Is it smart to eat a coconut sliced with a machete on the side of the road? Probably not.
Simply because it’s unlikely the machete they use is ever washed… and even if it is, it’s probably “cleaned” in contaminated water.
But sample pupusas on the side of the road cooked over an open flame?
You’re probably okay there.
And you may just get one of the best meals ever!
While in El Salvador, I savored checking out the different street foods available.
Pupusas are filling – and they only cost. $.35 each!
And we also made friends with the locals – who cooked us up an authentic feast.
The main thing is to use common sense.
When I travel internationally – I typically stay away from street food that contains things like ice (likely made with contaminated water), any veggie or fruit I can’t peel, and anything not cooked.
As for the rest…
… if you truly want to experience the food of another culture – there’s no better way to do it than trying out the street food.
Not only is it way cheap – but it’s made by the people who live there and KNOW how to create that authentic flavor!
“Avoid Tourist Areas”
Yes, tourist areas are crowded and the markup is high for gas and food…
..but there is a reason they are so popular.
Whether it’s the beauty of the Badlands in South Dakota, or the majestic rock formation of the Garden of the Gods in Colorado, if you haven’t seen these “touristy” areas of your destination – you’ve got to check ‘em out at least once.
“Don’t Travel Solo”
“But there’s safety in numbers!” my friend pleaded with me as I was about to embark on a 5-week solo trip to El Salvador.
While it’s true – there is safety in numbers – you can still travel safely as a solo traveler.
Of course, you’ll want to avoid obvious things like walking alone down a dark alley at night or flashing any expensive jewelry when you’re exploring the town.
But let me tell you – even if you’re with a group, your chances of getting mugged are still high if you flaunt your wealth.
Just the fact you are an American means you are considered wealthy by the rest of the world – which is why it’s also so important to not look like a tourist when you head overseas.
Of course, in some areas of the world it’s obvious you aren’t a local – but you should still make an effort to blend in with the culture as much as possible.
I spent 2 weeks in India and was mindful to make sure my skirts were long and I wasn’t wearing any sleeveless tops.
And when I purchased a few items from the locals, I was careful not to take out wads of money when negotiating prices.
Closing Thoughts: Remember Travel Is Fluid
And remember – what works one year of travel could be radically different in a matter of months, especially in this crazy culture of Biden’s “new normal”.
Some countries the State Department may warn you to stay away from due to violence – yet months later things could calm down.
Customs and cultures change – and things that were forbidden or even taboo in other countries are suddenly welcome.
But do you want to know what is the BEST travel advice I’ve ever received?
To use common sense and trust your instincts.
If something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t.
Trust your gut – but also be prepared for anything.
And of course – have fun!
What is the worst travel advice you’ve ever received?
Do you have a favorite piece of travel advice that you still follow to this day?
What is your favorite seat on the plane?
Which seat do you hate the most?
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