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The top 10 worst travel advice I've ever received

The Top 10 Worst Travel Tips I've Ever Received

Brenner Pass in winter

1) "The Brenner Pass is a quicker and more scenic route from Italy into Austria, especially to hitchhike"
Yeah, right...in Winter; You may freeze to death, trying to get the next ride...literally. Luckily, I spoke both fluent German and a little Italian. One of the Austrian crossing point employees I had chatted with eventually gave me a ride into Innsbruck, after he finished his shift. With the European Union, I'm not even sure that anyone even needs to stop at the border, anymore. Wherever you go, it is always wise to check the weather conditions, even when you are not on foot, and to not have to depend on the kindness of the locals.

St. Tropez beach

2) "You should check out St. Tropez..."
Unless you own your own yacht, trust me, just don't. It is anything but convenient, and offers little if anything over scores of other beaches near Nice. The St. Tropez traffic rivals a Los Angeles freeway or suburban commute into Washington DC.

St. Tropez hovercraft

3)"...and take the hovercraft to get there, it's much faster."
Yeah, that worked fine going, but it never came back for us, that afternoon, as was supposed to happen. If it breaks down (which was happened to us, and apparently happens more frequently than one might expect), there will be WAY too few taxis, and they will charge even much more exorbitant fares than usual. The buses will have all left by the time you find out the hovercraft is not coming, despite your round-trip ticket, and the hotels will already be fully booked. You will need to find someplace to camp (i.e. - the beach, with just your beach towel) after spending most the earlier portion of the evening at a cafe/bar, until they close.

Cairo Policeman

4) "Make sure you take your passport to be stamped at the police station in Cairo, AS SOON AS YOU ARRIVE (...so as to beat the crowd at the listed time)."
Ah...NO! It's the law for Westerners to register, but find out BEFORE you get there at what SPECIFIC TIME you. are supposed to go to get your passport stamped and recorded, otherwise the police on duty may seriously misinterpret that you are there to turn yourself in as a (stupid) wanted criminal. Almost none of them speak ANY English. As I was being escorted back to the jail block, a lieutenant happened by and asked me in English what was going on. I explained and he sent me on my way, informing me to come back at 5 p.m. I cautiously returned at the specified time, and there was a long line, which I happily accepted as safety in numbers.

Youth Hostel

5) "The youth hostels in Paris are safe, clean, and there are no problems with theft."
I love Paris. I speak French, and I have visted the city at least a dozen times. In my younger years, I would always stay at the hostels. All that I ever stayed at in Paris were a magnet for semi-professional thieves, preying mostly on scores of naive Americans who don't secure their cash, passports or cameras on their person as they sleep. The hostels routinely refute this problem, but it it exists. I only lost a very small amount of cash once when I forgot I had left some in a pocket of my jeans in my backback under my cot. Several others sharing the room had their passports and wallets stolen. Most hostels that I stayed at were clean.


6) "Your valuables will be safe in your room, as long as you lock your door."
Not in Tortola. Your valuables may be safe in a good hotel SAFE, but they are usually much safer on your person, tucked away in a safety wallet or with a security strap (steel mesh or wire-embedded), than anywhere else in the hotel. Room burglary was RAMPANT on this island. Fortunately, we did not trust this hotel advice. We met scores of cruise tourists who had cash, passports, and/or cameras stolen, at multiple hotels.

The Louvre

7) "Skip the Louvre. There's too many people, and it takes too long."
Are you freaking kidding me? If you go all the way to Paris and skip the Louvre, you deserve it. You should allocate AT LEAST one full day for the Louvre, because there is easily that much worth seeing (as an abbreviated visit) and more. It is incredible, and has a world-renown reputation for good reason. Skip the Mona Lisa, if you want, but not the whole Louvre.

View from the top

8) "It is not worth going up to the top."
Applies ANYWHERE. If there is a celebrated "top," it WILL be worth going up for an INCREDIBLE view! Do it, unless you have to miss a ton of other equally-celebrated attraction, due to having scheduled too little time in the first place. If the line is an hour more long, there is a reason for that. A little advance internet research might help disclose when the lines tend to be at their shortest. The views at the top have been fantastic at the CN Tower in Toronto, Space Needle in Seattle, the Rockefeller Center in NYC, the Empire State Building, Sears (Willis) Tower in Chicago, John Hancock building in Chicago, Eiffel Tower, and any number of mountain peaks that I have visited, and I have never regretted the time or effort spent, at any (although I might have had serious doubts while still in line).

Anti-American protest

9) "They love Americans."
Anywhere that you have to be told this, wonder why it is that they need to affirm this. It is almost certain that at least half their population HATES Americans, and at least half of that half would gleefully watch, cheer, or actively participate in beating to death a lone American traveler or couple, with very little, if any, provocation. Sightsee in small groups, and avoid ANY protest demonstrations, or anything that starts to look like it might turn into one.

It's perfectly safe is just a saying

10) "It's perfectly safe."
Nothing is PERFECTLY safe, and those activities that need such reassurance must have some rather obvious degree of danger. This does not mean the experience will not be incredibly rewarding; it just means that you should retain a prudent air of caution, and be willing to accept responsibility for taking the risk.


family with children

10) "You can't travel, anymore, once you have children."
What? Is this some sort of parenting rule or something? No; just nonsense. When we saw babies on the beach in Tahiti, we figured, why not? Both my son and daughter had been outside the continental U.S., at least twice by age 2, and at least once\every year of their life, thereafter, except once, by the ages of 18 and 15, respectively. As babies they fly free, and kids stay free at some resorts until about ages 12 to 18 (varying by resort). There were only two other years (2003 and 2004) when the kids did not accompany us outside the USA (in those years we went to Kauai, instead). The single exception year to not make it ouside the continental U.S. was 2013, when our only family vacation was to ski at Park City, Utah, during Spring Break, but we skipped a summer trip due to the kids' conficting school sports tryouts and practice schedules. For that reason (schedule conflicts) and teenage "attitude" and cost for older teens, travel with children is most problematic when they are no longer "children."

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