Anthony Bourdain’s Secrets to Avoiding the Ultimate Travel Mistakes
When traveling, there is much to experience yet so much that can go wrong. No matter how high-end, low-end, or middle-of-the-road you choose to travel, there are grave mistakes you should avoid. Luckily, Anthony Bourdain spent years sharing his travel advice with the world. These are the ultimate travel mistakes Bourdain hated.
1. Haphazardly approaching TSA
When it comes to embarking on a long journey, there is little more aggravating than slowly navigating an extremely long and busy TSA line — cue the regret of not applying for pre-check. And it is practically a guarantee that at least one person is holding up the security line because of their complete haphazard approach. This peeved Bourdain to no end. He told Travel + Leisure, “They said no liquids and gels, motherf***er. You know? Come on!” A little preparation goes a very long way.
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2. Not being kind
Whether you are traveling within the U.S. or abroad, unexpected hiccups are bound to make you deviate from your original plan. In these cases, keeping your cool is the true test. If everyone just adopted Bourdain’s philosophy of “just be nice …getting angry and frustrated in much of the world doesn’t help at all,” we’d all be better for it.
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3. Packing your schedule with strict plans
Unless you’re a free spirit, it’s understandable to have a basic outline of places to go and things to see. But when it comes to a minding a chiseled-in-stone agenda of each travel day, Bourdain said, “It’s punishing.” He told MyDomaine:
“The sort of frenzied compression of time needed to take the tour, to see the sights, keeps you in a bubble that prevents you from having magic happen to you. Nothing unexpected or wonderful is likely to happen if you have an itinerary in Paris filled with the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.”
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4. Basing your entire trip off TripAdvisor reviews
If you treat Yelp and TripAdvisor as your one-stop travel gurus, it’s time to reconsider the value of individual opinions. When it comes to making an Amazon purchase, sure, take time to read reviews. But when it comes to experiences and cuisine, you must take the scrutiny with a grain of salt. Bourdain agreed. “I don’t see them as reliable, because you don’t know what people’s priorities are,” he told MyDomaine.
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5. Avoiding the unknowns
The fear associated with the unknown can be crippling when it comes to travel. Granted, it’s easy to follow suit, visiting the top travel destinations for the year. But what about the harder-to-reach destinations — you know, the destinations where tourists are hard to come by (without Wi-Fi)? “We tend to be overconcerned with safety and with cleanliness in ways that stand between us,” Bordain told MyDomaine. Touché.
Next: Stop before stepping foot into that restaurant.
6. Not indulging in the local fare
The local fare of any culture is where you’ll experience the true magic. It’s in the central markets and on the streets where the real food is being prepared. When talking about eating in Singapore, Bourdain told Bon Appétit:
“If you’re in Singapore and there are two chicken and rice places, and there’s one with a huge line, go to the one with the huge line. Already, that’s a clue. If a place is crowded, but the people lining up are not local, that’s a clue—a bad clue. If it doesn’t have signs in English. It’s almost always worth investigating.”
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7. Eating airplane food in general
If you have the option to grab a bite or to-go meal from the airport, do it. As so many of us already know, airplane food is subpar at best — even if you’re traveling in business class. So do yourself a favor, and grab snacks and food on your way to the airport or from the terminal.