As I’ve got older, the amount of times I’ve read womens’ magazines and tutted with an unpleasant concoction of frustration, disappointment and disdain has steadily increased. You just don’t need that crap in your life. They make you feel fat, they name and shame your fellow female comrades and they encourage you to spend a hell of a lot of money on stuff to make yourself beautiful in this society, when already, you are totally rocking it girl.
Yesterday, I was pottering around in my housemate’s bathroom because hey, she was out and I wanted to sit in there because she has a nice bathroom. Let’s hope she doesn’t see this…Nonetheless, I came across this diabolical article called 15 things we only do at airports. 11 out of the 15 are the worst travel behaviour I’ve ever read.
I’m going to take you through this article piece by piece so that 1) You cannot make any of these money-wasting, life-sucking mistakes and 2) Instead be a totally amazing, kickass, savvy lady traveller who knows how to travel like a pro.
1) ‘Spend £120 on Duty Free’
No. Don’t do that. You do not need those cigarettes. You do not need that alcohol. Don’t even think about buying that perfume. Are you crazy? You’re gonna be smelling of street food, sea salt, the forest and fresh air. That’s the only odour you need. Britney and her newest perfume can go take a hike…literally.
2) ‘Pick up so many beach reads that you have to buy a new bag to carry them in’
What the hell?! Backpackers who seriously read either use an e-reader or carry one book at a time, buying them second hand in local stores or swapping with fellow travellers. I’m getting riled up and we’re only on number 2.
3) ‘Have a pint at 8am with a full English breakfast’
OK Glamour magazine, I might just have to give you this one. I’m British. I get it. A pint and a full English breakfast is solid gold to us. If you’re off on your travels and not coming back for some time, you might just want to go out with a bang and eat some seriously good traditional grub because Asians have no idea what an English breakfast is. However, I have found some amazing beer in the Philippines that any English folk would happily get pissed on.
4) ‘Study the two-page language section of a guidebook’
Fantastic. The thought is there but you need to make much more of an effort than just knowing how to ask for beer. ‘Hello / Please / Thank you / Yes / No / Do you have ………? / Where is the ……..? / How much is it? / Do you speak English?’ are some lovely things to know and the locals will appreciate you for trying. Say these words with a smile and a kind personality and you’re winning. If you want to study these languages for free check out: a) Busuu where you can study lots or just do their tailored travel course b) Duolingo for European languages or c) Memrise which is fantastic for visual learners and has more than 200 languages!
5) ‘Develop an irrational hatred of all parents, small children, large groups and stag dos’
If you’re going to go and seriously travel, you’re going to have to be a much better person than that. You are going to be tested everyday with situations, people and places that make you feel uncomfortable, totally excited, out of your depth or beyond euphoria. You need a calm, flexible and open-minded personality for this so if small children are getting on your nerves before you’ve even left the airport, turn right around and go back home.
6) ‘Buy miniature versions of every toiletry you’ve ever used’
Come on missy, you’re a backpacker. Buy everything you need when you get to your first destination, when you need it, not all at once. It’s gonna be cheaper and who wants to be carrying round a pharmacy with them? Boots advantage card points are not the be all and end all. Fact.
7) ‘Smile at everyone who is attractive’
Nice! Finally something we can agree on! It’s fantastic advice because if you’re travelling solo, you’re gonna have to have the confidence to put yourself out there and make friends. Make friends with locals and you’ll have a unique travel experience ‘tourists’ will never get. Make friends with other travellers and you’ll be there to support each other, share amazing experiences and learn other cool savvy travelling ideas and tips.
8) ‘Decide it’s not too late to get a pre-holiday self-tan’
Screw the tan. It costs money that you could spend on an amazing day out in the Philippines instead and you can tell who’s faking it anyway. Just tan the natural way but even some people can be against that. Teacakes knows: read her crazy China tanning story here!
9) ‘Desperately look for packets of biscuits and muesli bars for the journey’
Nope. That costs money. Bring your own food if you’re taking a long journey and your own water bottle that you can take through security empty. Fill it up for free on the other side. In fact, food shopping in supermarkets and cooking this stuff yourself in hostels or eating on the street is going to save you heaps of money once you’re travelling. You’re going to get a way more local, authentic experience this way. Teacake has met some amazing people whilst eating on the street.
10) ‘Feel outraged that you didn’t get an upgrade at check-in’
I am by no means a luxury traveller. As long as I get from A to B in one piece alive I couldn’t care less about whether I’m sipping on champagne. Freebies are awesome though and I have been researching about how to travel like a princess with air miles etc. I am no way near getting to first class yet though. Me and the peasants are still sitting at the back and to be honest, that’s where the most fun people are anyway. Do the same whilst travelling. Hostels and homestays are going to give you a far more fulfilling experience than a white-walled, 5 star, lonely, sanitised hotel room.
11) ‘Load yourself up with three bikinis, two pairs of sparkly flip flops and a special beach tote’
No ladies! No! Follow teacake’s ultimate backpacker packing advice here and you’ll be travelling light as a feather and free as a bird.
12) ‘Suddenly realise that you have not bought mosquito repellent, sun cream, medication etc…’
Check back to point 6.
13) ‘Buy a massive tartan tin of shortbread from the tourist shop because you like the tin’ and 15) ‘Get waylaid in Dixons because you’re looking at fancy iPad cases’
I see so many shiny things that I want to buy but you have to keep a clear head. Do I really need this? How often am I going to use this? Is this worth my travel money? Can I fit this in my backpack? Does Asia do a way cheaper fake version which is just as good? If I desperately want this but can’t fit it in my backpack, do I have the time and money to send it home? You gotta stop and think folks.
14) Start to think that you will quit your job
Hurrah! You go girl! Do it! Glamour got another thing right (about time).
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