The Top 10 Things a Traveler Should Never Do

“Never say never,” right? Well, that’s not always true! While there are exceptions to every rule, it’s important for travelers to have certain principles. I was inspired to write this when a friend asked, “Is it better to book a flight through a third party site, or to book through an airline’s website?” Y’all, NEVER book through a third party!

So then I thought of a few other “nevers.” I often write about what to do in your travels, but sometimes the reverse is just as important! Here are the 10 things you should NEVER do as a traveler!

NEVER Book Flights Through a Third Party Site

As previously stated, this is NEVER okay! If anything changes or gets cancelled, the airline will tell you to call the third party, and the third party will tell you it’s the airline’s responsibility. And then you know where you get to go? NOWHERE.

Use third-party sites like Orbitz, Expedia, and Hopper to find the flight deal you want, so you don’t have to search every airline’s site individually. Then, go to the airline’s site to book the flights you want through them. You are not getting a discount through the third party, the third party is simply finding the deals that are already available!

This is so essential because booking with the airline directly will give you a little bit of “free” insurance—they will have to book you on a new flight if yours is changed or cancelled, no finger-pointing or passing the blame!

Don’t get left behind!
More details here: How to Find Cheap Flights

NEVER Throw All Your Eggs into the Hotel Brand Loyalty Basket

It doesn’t matter how many Marriott points you have or what your Hilton status is. You won’t find either of those hotel brands on Santorini, Easter Island, or in Uluru, Australia! Instead, get rewarded in other ways. My husband and I are big fans of, but even then, sometimes the hotel where I want to stay isn’t available on any third party sites. Instead, we use our travel rewards credit cards to book those stays. 

Hotel brand loyalty has its perks, but don’t let lack of your preferred brand keep you from visiting amazing places or staying in a better hotel just to get more loyalty points! Go all in on travel, not hotel brand loyalty. 

Brand loyalty can actually be very limiting!
All the details: Why is Better than Hotel Brand Loyalty

NEVER Be Rude to Flight Attendants or Customer Service Representatives

Trust me, this will get you exactly nowhere fast! No matter how rude they are (or how rude you perceive them to be when you’re the one in a foul mood), it’s never helpful to be rude to the person who might have the power to cut you a break or do you a favor that goes against official policy—especially when they don’t have to. Be nice! They see it all and hear the worst from unsatisfied customers, so you might just be the only person who’s nice to them that day. 

Rudeness will get you nothing but more frustration!
More here: Why You Should Do Your Airline a Favor

NEVER Pass Up an Offer of Water in Flight

Even if you think you’re not thirsty or it’ll just make you have to go to the bathroom, take the water! Flying is much more dehydrating than you realize, because the air in-flight is extremely dry. You will need that water. Flight attendants are supposed to come by and offer water at least once every hour on a long-haul flight, but that doesn’t always happen. Take the water when offered, and don’t be afraid to ask for more!

Not a fan of water? Juices and non-alcoholic drinks will help you stay the most hydrated!
Very important: How to Practice Self Care on Travel

NEVER Forget to Trust Your Gut

If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Lots of bad things that happen on travel could be avoided if we all simply learned to listen to and trust our gut instincts. Don’t be afraid to try things or trust people, just trust yourself the most to know what’s a fun adventure and what could potentially be dangerous. 

The more you trust your gut, the more successful your travels will be!
Keep reading: 9 Habits of Successful Travelers

NEVER Eat Somewhere You Can Eat at Home

Okay, it’s better to travel and eat at McDonald’s than to never travel and eat at McDonald’s, sure. However, you will be missing out on so much of the travel experience if you don’t at least try the local food! 

My personal rule, and one many travelers have for themselves, is to never eat abroad where you can eat at home, and never eat at the same place twice (unless it’s one of the only places in town). Could you do it?

Why go to McD’s when you could have something authentic?!
Try this: The Most Exotic Foods I Ever Ate

NEVER Assume

Never assume anyone shares your opinion, speaks the same language, thinks the way you do, or wants to know where you think they fall short. And also, never assume anything! Always ask if you need to know something, and understand that it’s possible to accept the answer without agreeing with it. Different cultures, people, clothing, food, and practices are not always wrong, they’re just different!

Never assume anyone is just like you…. Or too different from you!
Also important: 5 Ways to Embrace Cultural Differences

NEVER Act Like You Don’t Know Where You’re Going

Of course you don’t know where you’re going. You’ve never been there! But no one else needs to be able to look at you and see that. And you don’t want them to, because then you also look like a target to pickpockets and other predators.

Instead, ask for directions at your accommodation before you head out the door. Look at the map or your phone to see the way before you head out for the day. If you need to look at a map or your phone again, duck into a shop or cafe to do so. Always look like you know where you’re going. Never look or act like you’re lost, even (or especially) when you are!

No matter where you are, where you’re going, or what time of day, ALWAYS act like you know!
Must read: How to Travel Safely

NEVER Be Inflexible

This is the worst thing a traveler can be. If you’re not flexible, you’ll constantly be disappointed. Flights get delayed and canceled, hotels lose your reservation, the car you rented gets a flat tire. The restaurant you wanted to go to has a six hour wait. If you travel enough, these things just happen!

The key is to roll with it. Make a plan, then be okay with changing it. Find another way. Be nice, and things will work out for you. Learn how to be flexible, and then you can literally do ANYTHING!

You don’t have to turn backflips, just be willing to bend a little!
Related: 9 Habits of Flexible Travelers


Never, never, never give up! Steve and I have been in countless situations where the easy thing would be to give up and go home. But if we gave into that, we would have missed the experiences waiting on the other side. We would have lost money to the hotel or airline industry for no good reason. We would have never known the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that comes with making it work!

So, don’t give up when your flight is cancelled; find a different flight, or take a connection. Don’t give up when you get lost and can’t find your hotel; ask for directions. Don’t give up when your travel buddy drops out at the last minute; go solo! Whatever it is, go about it differently, ask for help, change your plans, but never give up. The end. 

Never give up!
Read next: How to Be Your Own Travel Advocate

Want more? Check out my Travel Tips Page for everything you need to travel like you know how!

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