The Benefit Of Ignoring Travel Advice

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bootsnall decided to send out a call to their readers via social media for the worst travel advice they’ve ever received, resulting in some of those nuggets of unfounded wisdom that most of us have heard. “Don’t go to ____ because it’s dangerous,” “Don’t eat food from street vendors,” “Don’t talk to strangers on the road.” All of which, as any good traveler will tell you, is basically the opposite of what you should be doing.

Think about this: How many people, family and friends included, have told you the perils of sleeping in hostels, traveling alone, eating strange food on the street, or visiting a country with a not-so-peaceful past? Chances are, most travelers have encountered this. And, if you were unfortunate enough to heed their advice, chances are you missed out on some great experiences.

Which begs the question: Is the best advice simply to do the opposite of what people recommend? I’m not sure I’d go that far. I think it’s basically the “leftover situation.” Think of how your mind spins while you’re standing at the refrigerator, contemplating whether that week-old takeout is still edible. When it comes down to it, you probably rely on gut instinct. Or, more often than not, smell: If it smells bad, don’t eat it.

The same can be said about travel advice. Trust your gut. Does something about what this person is saying “smell” bad? Do you, deep down, disagree with what they’re saying? Maybe you know their experiences and trust their opinion. That’s fine, but consider your source, see what your stomach is telling you, and then, if it’s all clear, dig in, and enjoy that trip.

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