Don't call me an irresponsible travellerMay 01, 2017

A British publication featured a seemingly one-sided article on Western backpackers begging on the streets of Southeast Asia. It would have been a pity sight if they were robbed, but locals were puzzled at their cellphones, laptops, and notepads. It turned out that they didn't follow their budget plan, and they liked to prolong their holiday. They would sing a song, play a musical instrument, or sell postcards. (The last one would be their photos of places of interest, where a thin, white cardboard was framed on it. These postcards were a common sight in the touristy spot in Ao Nang, Thailand.) Many readers were upset about it, even vowed to stop reading this newspaper. However, perceptive readers did a little research on the photos (included in the article). These irresponsible tourists mostly came from Russia. As for the British-Russia (political) relations, it wouldn't be hard to connect the dots.

There would be worse cases while on the road. Let's exclude theft, even numerous attempts on conning tourists. Cinema didn't do a better job in presenting a balanced view on traveling. "Hostel" (2005), for instance, enraged Slovak politicians. Two American university students were vacationing in Amsterdam when a mysterious guy befriended them. They couldn't miss a particular hostel in Bratislava, where they would find the most beautiful girls in that part of Europe. A shady ring of businessmen were making a lucrative sideline on torturing unsuspecting foreign tourists. If this premise would be taken at face value, then it rather seemed bizarre. Director Eli Roth pointed out that many Americans don't know the existence of Slovakia, adding that his horror film was intended to show America's ignorance about the world. Perhaps this might be the reason why CBS would give the green light on the 30th season of "The Amazing Race". What does it have to do with Aussie travellers? You didn't read this post closely.

Travelling is part of our culture. As a matter of fact, it would seem odd if you haven't set foot in Bali. (Let's include Thailand in the list.) There's no need to remind ourselves about the need to be responsible travellers, but youth could be an impulsive phase in life. Here are some things to keep in mind:

You must plan your holiday ahead. A chunk of your budget will be spent on airfare. If you book it months ahead of the date of your departure, then you can save a lot of money. It doesn't mean that you must splurge it on boozing unless you have a credit card (for emergency). You must know what would matter most, as everything should be charged as usual.

It will be better to be a solo traveller unless you can keep an open mind. You'll meet some travellers whom you don't fancy at all. You might be looking for a (travel) mate, but you'll find out that you have different preferences. (Your mate loves the parties while you can't miss the museums and temples.) And there's a good chance that your mate will bring along his/her friend. It won't be part of the plan. Why not give it a chance? You can charge it to experience, as it won't be the last time that you'll go places. Try to look at the good side of people, even if some are bordering on annoyance. Patience will be a virtue, and it can reward you in the most unexpected manner. But don't think about it.

Program your mind. Many of us will have short holidays, which can be a fleeting moment. Do your best to be mindful of your surroundings. It can change your mindset, which will help you enjoy your holiday.

There's no need to think of London as the capital where locals shoot anyone dead. You won't be an amnesiac in Italy. You won't transform into an ultra-promiscuous version of yourself after setting foot in Barcelona.

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