Mostly, travel is great. It’s a highly enjoyable pursuit, a never-ending highlight reel of places and experiences and people.
Sometimes though, it’s also kind of annoying. There are trends within the travel industry that tend to bug you after a while, that you really wish would just disappear like England’s Ashes dreams, that would vanish and never be seen again.
So as 2017 makes its way over the horizon, and we usher in the potential greatness of another 12 months on this beautiful planet, it’s worth pausing to consider the most annoying travel trends that are out there, and making a group pledge to get rid of them.
This insane practice of travellers begging or busking for spare change in developing countries, leaning on the kindness of strangers in order to make their way around the world, has to stop. If you have the money and the luxury of time to travel from a first-world country to a developing nation, then you also have ability to spend a bit longer at home saving enough to pay for the whole thing yourself. Leave the charity to people who actually deserve it.
What you do on your holidays is really up to you – until, that is, it starts bugging everyone else. Who hasn’t stood around at a viewpoint or monument or anything else of interest on their travels and waited interminably as a never-ending queue of wannabe social media stars spends a lifetime lining up the perfect pouty selfie? And we haven’t even begun talking about the sticks…
Crowding the baggage carousel
I’m not actually sure if you can call this a trend, given travellers have probably been doing it ever since the first bag ever whirred around a carousel. Still, it bears mentioning. The entire luggage collection process would work a lot better if everyone just took a step back from the carousel and moved forward when they spied their bag. Is that so hard to get your head around?
I’m a little torn here, because drone photos are pretty cool. However, when you’re relaxing at a campsite, or on the beach, or anywhere really that’s natural and peaceful and beautiful, and your world is suddenly invaded by the whining of some moron’s drone as it zips past over and over again, you have every reason to hate these things.
Yes, their intentions are good. However, white travellers who visit developing countries and think they’re going to “save” the locals, who post photos of themselves posing with poor people, who perpetuate the stereotype that those in developing countries are hopeless, and those from the West can rescue them despite having no actual skills or experience in sustainable, long-term development strategies, are actually doing more harm than good. Just ask Ed Sheeran or Tom Hardy.
Charging for Wi-Fi
It’s an annoying quirk of the accommodation industry that every $10-a-night hostel invariably gives away Wi-Fi access for free, and yet some $400-a-night five-star resorts still think they can get away with charging for internet. Sometimes $20 or $30 a night. And often these places are in Australia. Wi-Fi might once have seemed like a luxury, but these days it should just be a given.
This mostly seems to have stopped now, fortunately. However, it’s not just photo ops with drugged-up tigers that are the problem. Any tourism experience that involves animals – elephant sanctuaries, zoos, even national parks in some countries – should really be scrutinised closely before you commit to a visit. There are plenty of dodgy operators out there who don’t actually have the animals’ best interests at heart.
Saying you’ve “done” somewhere
Argh! You haven’t “done” anywhere! You haven’t “done” Asia. You haven’t “done” Europe. No one has! Not even the people who live there. You could go back to the same continent, the same country, the same city over and over again for the rest of your life and still find new things, meet new people, and have new experiences. Nowhere, and nothing, is ever “done”.
Tourists behaving badly
Here’s the rub, travellers. There are a lot of us out there. Many more than there ever have been. And the industry is only going to grow. If we want this thing to be a success, if we want to keep visiting popular cities and staying in apartments in the trendy suburbs and eating at local cafes and drinking at local bars and sharing in other people’s lives for just a few days at a time, we have to behave ourselves. We have to treat other cities and other countries as our own. We have to be kind; we have to be respectful. If we do that, we all get to travel safely and happily for a lot longer.
Complaining about all of the tourists
If you’re in a place that’s filled with tourists … Surprise, you’re one of them.
At their best, tours of slums and favelas and shantytowns will be run by residents, and will provide an accurate and respectful snapshot of local life to travellers who will be able to learn from the experience and contribute a little cash to the community. At their worst, however – and their most frequent – these tours are pure poverty porn, like visiting some sort of zoo where you take photos of all the poor people and then leave, having contributed nothing. Do your research thoroughly before you get involved in something like this.
Staring at your phone while walking
To be fair, this isn’t just travellers. It’s commuters and pedestrians in all forms, around the world. People walk while staring at their phones. They’re playing games on there. They’re reading books. They’re flicking through music. They’re also really slow walkers, and they bump into other people constantly. Stop. Looking. At. Your. Phone.
Ben Groundwater write this news and you can keep up with traveller