30 Travel Rules To Live By

nomadic matt's manifesto black and white


Posted: 1/9/20202 | January 9th, 2020

As travelers of the world, we have a unique opportunity to break down barriers, foster cultural exchange, and create a positive impact on communities around the world. We can banish stereotypes of our own cultures, stimulate the local economy, and bring fresh ideas and perspective to places.

Travel can be a life-changing experience — not only for the destination you are visiting but also for yourself. We walk away a better version of ourselves and with a better understanding of the world.

Yet, too often, travelers become the worst of themselves — throwing up on streets, being obnoxious to locals, demanding places conform to their needs, contributing to waste and overtourism, and ignoring local customs.

Too many travelers treat destinations as their personal hedonistic plaything.

Therefore, in order to foster positive social exchange, get the most out of travel, and be awesome, I say, as we begin this new year, we take the following pledge so we can be the people other travelers want to know and locals don’t hate:

1. I will read about where I’m going before I get there.

2. I will be respectful of local cultures and customs.

3. I will learn some phrases in the local language.

4. I will try one thing I’m afraid of.

5. I will not turn cheapness into a competition since travel is not a race to the bottom.

6. I will eat the local food.

7. I will not haggle over less than a dollar.

8. I will not be a loud, obnoxious traveler that demands that locals conform to my values.

9. I will have patience.

10. I will be humble.

11. I will have no regrets about partying until dawn but I will be respectful of my hostel dorm mates and their sleep.

12. I will learn to hold my liquor. If not, I will limit my intake.

13. I will understand traveling is not an excuse to give up on personal hygiene.

14. I will not ask fellow travelers the same questions over and over again and, instead, will get to know them beyond where they are going, where they’ve been, and how long they are traveling for.

15. I will not turn travel into a competition, since it is a personal experience.

16. I will not tell people how many places I’ve been, because no one cares except me.

17. I will not whine about how a destination was so much better ten years ago nor will I listen to those who do.

18. I will not judge people on how often they return to a destination.

19. I will not be a smugly superior backpacker and judge others for how they travel.

20. I will not judge people for…

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