Travel websites and publications are all in the hands of ideologues drilling people about carbon footprints, interacting with communities, eating local organic food, travelling by yak and wearing only natural materials. There’s nothing specifically evil about any of that. It’s just unbelievably irritating for the majority of travellers.
It’s already a fact that holidays should be for your enjoyment, and not for impressing people. Below is the guide for a happier travel, which you are free to disregard.
1. There’s no obligation to visit big-hitter sites.
There are no must-sees. If you are not interested in art, do not go to the Louvre. These places are full of folk trooping around whose sole desire is to get out. All would be happier, and richer, if they had never gone in.
You can go instead visit the nearest pub, grab a beer, watch a soccer match.
2. We are ceaselessly encourage to get off the beaten track. There’s no need.
Wherever it leads, lots of people want to go. Why shouldn’t you? There will be bars, shops, and better things to do.
3. “Because it’s there” is also a good reason not to climb a mountain.
By all means, go off clambering over Mont Blanc, ride a bike up the Himalayas or join an ironman triathlons. This doesn’t make you a better person – mere one with holiday tastes different from those whose mountaineering needs are satisfied from the hotel terrace.
4. Locals are much overrated.
They are simply people who happen to live where you happen to travel to. This doesn’t endow them with special powers, charm or interest. Nor does it ensure the cafes and restaurants they frequent are particularly noteworthy.
Bars full of locals are also useless, unless you spark their language well. You will be far better off in the nearest pub chatting with anglophones.
5. Group travel is not to be scoffed at.
Consider organised group trips take most of the worry out of holidays. All you have to do is show up at the right place, lay your bags on the train, plane or coach and that’s it. Someone else shoulders responsibility for almost everything else.
6. Your evenings are your own.
Being advised towards the coolest places in town is tiring. These are invariably behind unmarked doors overseen by clowns, with electro music and cocktails that are as expensive as 20 McDoubles a throw.
To make things clear:
- Establishments where entry is filtered by the clowns mentioned above before we can spend our money to pay their wages are having us on – every single one of them.
- There’s bound to be a cheerful, cheaper bar nearby where they are actually pleased to see us.
- “Tourist trap” cafes and bars – on ports, in old towns, near popular sites- are usually jollier, serve recognisably food, and are equipped with people who speak English.
7. There is no shame in being a tourist.
We all are, the moment we leave home to another place. Those who pretend otherwise are fooling themselves. So embrace tourism full on. Ride that dirty little visitor train. Drink sangria. Buy that pottery mollusk from the souvenir shop.
Do everything you wish.
8. Don’t be cowed by techno-tourism.
If you use your smartphone as your digital travel guide, that’s cool. If you don’t, or don’t even have one – so no access to apps guiding you to other travel spots – that is not a failing.
Guidebooks still exist, use them if you must.