5 Travel Non-Negotiables
5 Travel Non-Negotiables
What are non-negotiables? Well, it is basically a set of rules or guidelines; something I am not willing to compromise on while traveling.
Normally I don’t like to say never or no or put restrictions on what I will and won’t do. It is really important to be open-minded and flexible when traveling but there are some things I just will not do or will not make exceptions for.
This list might change over time but generally, this is a guideline I use while making travel decisions. You can still be open minded but have boundaries and some of these are just damn good travel advice in general.
I will not…
This is pretty self-explanatory. There are some places that, because of current events, are just not safe to travel to. I am sure they are/were lovely places but I won’t put myself in unnecessary danger just to say I have been some place.
I am not an intentional thrill seeker and there are SO many other places to see and experience that it just really isn’t necessary.
There are destinations that come to mind that are very obviously unsafe…Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Venezuela. I am not going to these please under the current circumstances. Hopefully, the different situations will resolve themselves and make it safe for travel but right now that is not the case.
I would say to be skeptical or critical of what you read on-line about because it is not always particularly true. I remember before visiting Berlin for the first time reading on-line about all the “no-go” areas in Berlin and getting the impression that there are parts of Berlin that are very violent and not really safe for tourists.
However, this has never been my experience with any area of Berlin. In fact, I feel safer in the “no-go” areas of Berlin such as Neukölln or Prenzlauer Berg then I would in any area of any big city in the US.
As always exercise common sense. Be aware of your surroundings. Berlin is a big metropolitan city but it is not dangerous.
Now, maybe some years ago I would have been ok with this but I just won’t anymore. I can deal with outdated or in need of renovation but I can’t deal with dirty and disgusting.
Thankfully being a travel blogger means that usually where there is a will there is a way and in most destinations, if you do your research, you can find a clean, comfortable, and affordable accommodation.
I LOVE TripAdvisor. I will always check TripAdvisor before booking a stay someplace because you can see real photos from travelers. There have been many times a place looks nice or decent on their website and then I look on TripAdvisor and see less than sanitary pictures.
Before you completely write off some place make sure you really do your research. Don’t just base your impression on one traveler’s impression. Read a few reviews, look at multiple traveler photos, and get a full picture of the place. Also remember to check out Passport Perfection’s hotel reviews.
Running of the Bulls…no. Bull Fighting in Spain…no. Swimming with the dolphins…no. I will not.
I get that some of these are cultural events that people want to experience but for me, it is a no. I don’t like the way it makes me feel and so, for that, I don’t feel I want to be a part of those experiences.
I am sure there are many people that would disagree with me on this. I am sure there are many people that had a fabulous time swimming with the dolphins in Hawaii but it is just not something I want or need to experience.
There are so many other great events and cultural experiences such as La Tomatina, the tomato fight festival, in Spain that you can totally experience something culturally unique without feeling guilty and emotionally icky afterward.
I had to learn this one the hard way. Trust me, trust me, trust me it is NOT worth it.
I get it, this is your once in a lifetime chance to see Europe and you want to fit in as many cities, countries, experiences as possible. I totally get it. However, if you are constantly on the go and never being able to fully enjoy some place you will eventually find yourself worn out and not enjoying your vacation as much. It just happens.
One of the most common mistakes I see people making when planning an itinerary is that they completely underestimate travel times or how much they can fit into one day.
Don’t kill yourself. You can fit in a lot if you have the right and realistic plan but seeing Italy, Germany, France, Spain, and the UK in one week is not feasible; not even if you are flying from one destination to the next.
Take your time, enjoy yourself, see the things you want to see. You can always come back, and dragging yourself from one place to another gets tiring quickly.
Do you research and ask questions to people that have been there. Map out an itinerary and have other travelers critique it. People are always willing to share their travel experiences. The Lonely Planet and Rick Steve’s websites have really great travel forums.
I also create custom itineraries for travelers to Germany and the surrounding countries for a small fee. To inquire send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Often times the best experiences and places are not the most popular ones.
There are so many times that I have found a note-worthy, all-important, famous, must-see site less than exciting. This is not to say they are all like that but now I really pick and choose what I want to see. I base my sightseeing itinerary around what interests me and hopefully the obvious guide-book favorites fit into that.
There have been a few times that I have given up a whole day at my destination just to travel to a place that just had to be seen for the sake of saying I went there only to come away feeling less than enthused and wishing I would have spent my time in another way.
Neuschwanstein Castle comes to mind. It is an entire day trip out of Munich, and while it was ok, I wasn’t WOWED by it. I came away wishing I would have spent my day exploring Munich a bit more instead of spending the whole day traveling there just to see this castle and traveling back. It was pretty, but it was crowded which really took away from the whole majestic, fairy-tale castle vibe.
Now, if you have an extra day to kill then yes go, but if you are sacrificing time in Munich just to see Neuschwanstein I’m not sure if it is worth it. In fact, I would recommend a day trip to Salzburg from Munich before a day trip to Neuschwanstein.
What are some of your travel non-negotiables?