How to be a Good Tourist – Tips on how to have an amazing time traveling without get on the nerve of every local.

You want to have good customer service, be a good customer.

Heather Hughes

My thoughts on why people have bad experiences while traveling or, if you want good customer service, you need to be a good customer.

We all know that someone, a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, the person sitting next to you every morning on the train. This person (for some reason that the universe has decided to keep secret) doesn’t get a break when traveling. From the moment they arrive at the airport, until they pick up their taxi to go home, they have one mishap after another, or they have one big mishap that will affect the trip.

Flying out one day, the guy sitting next to me is complaining about his trip. This got me thinking. We are going to the same place and flying the same airlines…why is my trip different from his?

I wrote down everything he or other friends got wrong, so that the next time you hit the open road, you will have an amazing trip or at least one that you don’t feel the world was out to get you.

Tip 1: Believe in Murphy’s Law

It could be my half-Irish upbringing, or perhaps because it was drilled into me as a child, but I fully believe that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. 

So how do I prepare for this….by being over-prepared. Hope for the best, prepared for the worse. I have come to the sad conclusion I will never be a light-packer who doesn’t have to worry about making sure the what-ifs are thought of. But dang it, I am prepared. The funny thing is that the things I prepared for don’t happen.

It’s my way of thumbing my nose at the universe. Not today world! I am over pack and well prepared.

Tip 2: If you want to good customer service, be a good customer.

People are amazed at what I have been able to do or get. But truthfully, it wasn’t because I am a raging Karen.

Nope, I am just nice to people.

My reason trip had included.

  1. After explaining why we kept asking for towels, half of a free night.
  2. The hotel thought we were trying to steal them; we were trying to save them from doing unnecessary laundry.
  3. Second bag – free. Not because it was policy but because I was very nice about doing what I was asked. I even laughed about a chocolate cover scorpion and a 4-pound skull with the gate agent.

A free upgrade on the room, just because I understood they having construction done on their off-season and didn’t complain.

Trust me, Karen’s have it all wrong. If you want good customer service, be a good customer.

Tip 3: Airlines deal with millions of people, and losing your business isn’t their top priority. The sad part of airline travel is most airlines know and understand that they have power over you. Piss them off; well, you will be on the no-fly list. Argue with them; you might be stuck at an airport longer. So instead of thinking that you are someone special who matters to them, try another approach.

Read the rules, understand the rules, and follow the rules. I am curious to know how many people I have seen who try to bypass one personal item (a small item) and one oversized item (the item must fit in the overhead storage) rule and try to sneak two large items. Only to have to argue with the gate agent about getting it checked. 

Airlines post their rules on the website and are transparent with them. Read them, follow them, and you will fly those friendly skies in no time. 

Tip 4: Customs are different.

Once upon a time, you would travel to a foreign country and hoped not to offend the locals. Now, there is the internet, and with that, a world of etiquettes, rules, and customs is at your disposal. Want to know what the tipping is for any country, you can read it. Want to see how the locals get to point A to point B. There is an app. Does the country you are visiting close up on Sundays? It’s up on their website.

With this information, you can also learn how they greet each other. Do you wear shoes inside, and what is expected of you when visiting holy places?

It is surprising how knowing how to tip, how to enter one’s home, and what is expected of you when visiting a holy place will get you. 

Tip 5: Stop acting like a loud American; you are even annoying in the states.

I have lived in Florida for most of my life, which means you know a tourist when you see one.

Wearing socks with flip-flops – tourist. Wearing a speedo- yep, a tourist (we have sea lice and man-o-wars, no Floridian would be caught dead swimming in the ocean with those on). Feeding the alligators – yep, a tourist and a soon-to-be-dead one at that.

So when I say this, I say this out of love…STOP ACTING LIKE AN AMERICAN TOURIST! You are guests in their country, so don’t expect the food, culture, or even the rules in that country to be the same as yours.

If you act like the locals, or at least not like an American, you might find out the cheese, butter, and bread is better on the other side of the ocean.

Tip 6: Travel to experience something, not to be a spectator.

One thing that amazed me when someone came back from traveling and said… It’s just like Epcot. When you asked them more about it, you found that they spent most of their time eating at McDonald’s and going on tours.

Then they complained about how fake it was.

Well, of course, it was. But if you step outside your comfort zone, walk around, explore, and eat the street vendor food, you might experience something unique and magical. 

It isn’t a lot, and you probably were expecting some life-changing hack to help you on your travels. But the funny thing with hacks is that a hack is simple thing to fix a problem. And these are just simple things.


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