So chances are at one time or another in your life, you’ve been what I like to call a stupid tourist. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there and its hard not to fall into the trap of being a stupid tourist. Travelling can be hard, within no time you can find yourself up s*** creek without a paddle. I speak from experience when I say I have been a stupid tourist and boy have I paid the price. So this post is my attempt to pass on any wisdom I have gained to help you avoid making the same stupid tourists mistakes as me.
- Read instructions!
A few weeks ago in Paris I needed to go to the pharmacy to pick up some medicine for a very simple sickness. Easily fixed, very common amongst the female sex and really nothing to fret about. In French and broken English the pharmacist explained I had to take one pill tonight and the other pill in seven days. Seems simple I thought. No need to attempt to read the information booklet provided in the packet. The fact it was in complex scientific French probably convinced me to take my chances and take the pill. I went out for dinner and drinks that night at a super cool place in the 10th, and after a few two many wines I returned home, and gulped down that little pill I had sitting in my bag.
After excruciating cramps all night, I wake up at 7am with everything I consumed exploding out of me. I have never experienced a rejection so intense. Lets just say it was not pretty. I cancelled work for the day and virtually spent my day with my head in the toilet bowl. At about 3pm I remembered that little pill I took. I thought I’d have a glance at the French information booklet I neglected to read. On it I saw “La capsule doit être introduite profondément dans le vagin, de préférence en position allongée.”
DANS LE VAGIN????? (Dans= In, and I think you can work out the rest)
It definitely didn’t go dans ma vagin. S***.
A similar thing happened to me recently when I ran out of my facial cleanser from Australia. I started using a random French cleanser but after a few days I noticed my face was redder than usual. So I asked a French friend what the product Cyteal is used for. Turns out its soap for female private areas that I was using on my face. Yippee.
- Don’t assume everything works the same way that it does back home.
One night a friend and I were drivnig down Avenue George V in Paris, when I noticed a big beautiful white Husky bolting next to the road at a dangerous speed and with no owner in sight. “He might get run over! We have to go after him!” In a moment of heightened adrenalin I made my friend do an illegal U turn and pull over on the side of the road in the middle of a busy intersection at Alma-Marceau so I could save the dog (there’s the best view of the Tour Eiffel there by the way). After dramatically running up to the dog and attempting to usher it into the car I hear a voice coming out of the shadows: “Ah qu’est ce que vous faites?” (What are you doing?) Beckoned an older man on a bike. “C’est mon chein.” (It’s my dog). “Ahhh je suis vrairment desole j’ai pensé aah qu’il etait soule!” (Aaahh I’m really sorry, I thought aahh that it was by itself!) Just because you’ll never see a man on a bike letting his dog bolt off the leash down a busy street in Sydney’s CBD, doesn’t mean you won’t see it abroad. Learn from my mistakes and don’t go chasing dogs at night like a crazy person, THINK FIRST.
- Don’t get stuck in remote parts of islands without organizing your return transport.
This has happened to me a few times actually. Once I was in Palma de Mallorca, which is an island off the coast of Spain, with a very good friend of mine, H. We spent two hours on a bus that took us to the other side of the island just to go to a beach that we had heard was beautiful. It took us about 3 hours to arrive, and when we finally got there, all I wanted to do was relax with a mojito and lay in the scorching Spanish sun. But no. Unfortunately my friend is bossy and very organised and insisted we leave only half an hour after arriving. HALF AN HOUR! Let me tell you, I do not travel all day to stay at a beach for half an hour. So naturally I rebelled and told her she can go but I’m staying. Being the more street smart of the pair, she thought it better to stick together. So about an hour later we cruised back up to the bus stop. Ooops. Looks like the last bus was half an hour ago. I’m in BIG trouble from angry ‘I told you so’ mum aka H. Don’t be a stupid tourist like me: Plan ahead! (Or at least listen to your friends that actually do plan ahead).
- Don’t rent bikes, cars, apartments or quads and then lose the key!!!
Formentera; amazing Caribbean style crystal clear water and perfect blue skies. My friends and I decided to screw the bus option and rent bikes to go around the island, because why be inside when outside is so beautiful!? We rode to an amazing beach quite far from the port, parked our bikes, locked them together and spent the day relaxing in utter paradise. A very good friend of mine who I met on exchange in Milan, Carla is German, so of course she can be trusted with keys (German’s are crazy organised and very safe). I never thought it possible but I was proved wrong. My extremely reliable German friend who we entrusted with the key which locked up ALL our bikes together, LOST THE KEY SOMEWHERE IN THE SAND. Gone forever. We had to get back to the port to make the last ferry leaving the island back to Ibiza, but there we were, stranded on the outskirts of the Island, with our bikes stuck to the post and with no key to unlock them. We were officially stupid stranded tourists.
- Don’t leave your friends for a boy and then change your mind.
So this one’s taken from an experience with my good friend who I will call Z. When we were in Ibiza, Z was swept up by the dazzling good looks of a cute Swiss guy, so she decided to leave us and go back to his house. After a while we left the super cool Enter party at Space nightclub and went to an after party. Of course none of us have credit or internet and my friend and I have the key to our airbnb in Talamanca. At 9am in the morning I receive a message from Z’s mum in AUSTRALIA. Hi Bianca, Z is stuck outside the apartment without a key, could you go home and let her in? We rush home and find little zee asleep on our front door step. Poor girl had been there for hours. She had left the club, gone all the way to the guy’s house, but decided she didn’t want to go home with him. So she dropped him off and went back to the club to find none of us there and ended up waiting for hours on our front door step! She lost a night with her friends and had to sleep hung over on a doorstep. I think she learnt her lesson.
- Check your flight/train times… check again.
Z and I were travelling together from Milan to Berlin. She had booked the tickets and told me we were flying out of Linate Airport (there are three airports in Milan). After travelling for an hour to Linate we checked the screens for our flight… no flight to Berlin. In complete and utter despair we both realise that we have came to the wrong airport and we are now an hour away. We took our chances and paid for a 100-euro taxi fair, to arrive five minutes after check in time. Resulting in 400-euros more to buy new flights, as it was the start of spring break.
Oh the joys of travel.