We have had epics written on how to plan the perfect trip, what all to carry, how to choose a destination. Passport, chargers, medicines, Swiss knife—all packed. What else? Here are some buddy tips you won’t find in a cheap flights travel guide.


Don’t hit on anybody and everybody with cheesy pick-up lines – especially the ones ripped off from some shady online forum. I know you are excited and thrilled to be partying in unfamiliar land. No office, no deadlines, no judgments, no sneaky spies. But that doesn’t mean you’ll throw caution to the winds and become Zeus. You are not god. So, don’t just say anything and expect the world to go weak in the knees. Cheesy pick-up lines will only get you cheese. Instead, learn a thing or two about the culture or history of the place, and drop your half knowledge at opportune moments with nonchalance.

Don’t say to the cute girl at the bar: “Are you on the menu?”

Do say: “I wonder if Leonardo da Vinci was in love with Mona Lisa when he was painting her.”

Don’t eat junk just because you are on a holiday It’s a new cuisine, a new flavour, tingling on the tongue. So, try everything; you live only once. And then spend the next two days of your vacation nursing your belly. The most common mistake tourists make is to indulge in every possible culinary delight in a foreign land. Some things to avoid are milk products, too much non-vegetarian, especially from roadside shacks, and cut unwashed fruits. These precautions are particularly for those from developed nations visiting a developing country.

Don’t make fun of the locals – their eating habits, their dress codes, their religion. Forget about being sensitive and all; you might get beaten up. Irrespective of what the sensibilities might be at your home place, it is a different culture. At religious places, dress a little conservatively. It’s equivalent to not wearing blue at a funeral where everybody will be dressed in black.

Don’t say: “Oh my god! You still eat with your hands, and walk with your feet!”

Do say: “I love the saree you are wearing. Can I have it?”

Don’t get duped –Especially if you are visiting a place known for notoriety. Don’t let your demeanour shout from rooftops that you are a tourist. Camera hanging from the neck, Alice-in-Wonderland look, too happy or too hassled. Keep a copy of all your important documents—passport, tickets etc. Also, scan them and save them in your mail, just in case.

Don’t get arrested – the chances are minimal. But if you do end up in jail, especially in an alien country, then bye bye vacation. If you didn’t pay heed to all of the above tips, especially the no cheesy-pick-up-lines one, it is possible that you might be taken to task by somebody. Serves you right, Mr not-so-smart Casanova.

What to do:

Be polite – True, you are their guest. But you do know what naughty children do to their rude guests. Politeness is demanded in every culture, race or land. In England, being prim and propah counts. It’s rude not to say thank you when the salesboy at the counter hands you your coke. An otherwise cheerful lady at an eating joint in London once scolded my cousin who had just bought a sandwich from her. “You didn’t say Thank You!” she complained. Unsaid text – We are English and we take our manners very seriously (well, unless she had suddenly developed a crush on him and was just trying to get him to talk).

Know the place you are going to – the oft-repeated advice: research about the place you are visiting. If possible, mug up a dozen sentences in their language. It will help.

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