July 10, 2015

July 10, 2015
Worst Travel Habits Exposed

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Friday and we have almost made it through another work week. Dab the AIDS Bear is getting ready to head out for some more events today so stay tuned for some more new pictures.

I like to think most travelers have good habits but I think we all fall into bad travel habits every now and then. So what are the worst travel habits you should try to avoid? That's what I will blog about today. We aspire to be the ideal traveleróbut every now and then, we admit to taking a selfie.

One thing troubles me far more than jet lag when I travel: guilt. Iím always hoping to be the perfect traveler, a flawless visitor who so easily passes for a local Iím asked for directions in every city. Sometimes, though, when I remember to give myself permission to be, well, imperfect, I end up enjoying the trip even more. If, like me, youíre prone to acute bouts of T.O.G. (thatís Traveler Overseas Guilt), I have six reminders-turned-remedies next time it strikes.

1. Itís okay to duck into a friendly Starbucks when youíre abroad. I know, it feels akin to falling off the caffeinated wagon, betraying a vow to stick with local cafes. Then I remember the last time I was in Paris. I spent two days determined to prove coffee wasnít the only foodstuff where the French commit culinary faux pas (I was wrongówell, other than KB Cafť, but thatís inspired by coffee from Down Under). Finally, I caved and shucked off the shame and ordered a shot at Starbucks. It tasted better than ever. (Note: This doesn't apply to Austria or Italy, where the local coffee culture is too delectable to diss.)

2. It's okay to hole up in a hotel room and skip a day of sightseeing. I travel for a living, so touching down in a new city, I always have a notepad crammed with must-sees. Sometimes, instead, itís enough to think of the hotel as a standalone cultural experienceólike the day I never left a luxury lodge in rural Queensland, Australia. I played hooky from a day of pinballing across the countryside, opting rather to sit on my terrace. I looked out at the misty countryside, sipped a few glasses of local wine, and powered through a copy of The Slap.It was an all-Australian day of an entirely different kind.

3. Itís okay to (day) drink on planes. A glass (or two) of champagne is the perfect way to remind myself of the erstwhile glamour of flying, even in a grubby modern cabin. The only time I might refrain is my next trip on Korean Air, where the thimble-sized wine glasses left me requesting constant refillsóand feeling like an old sot with every gulp.

4. Itís okay not to pack light. Much as I understand the appeal of breezing through the airport with a feather-light carry-on, Iíve learned (the hard way) to pack with caution. Every time Iíve tried, I end up ruing my ruthlessness. Caught in one of Saint-Paul de Venceís notorious sudden downpours, I thought of the umbrella left on my nightstand. It was the same when none of my Angeleno friends had mentioned the city's June Gloom; had I known, Iíd have brought more than just shorts and flip-flops. That last-minute invitation to a tony restaurant in Amsterdam was delightful, though I did spend as much on an emergency sport coat as supper. Lesson learned: I never carp about checking a bag.

5. It's okay to use guidebooks or articles as your sightseeing manual. Of course, I love the adventure of exploring a city, trying to unearth an undiscovered restaurant or bar to add to a must-see list. On the other hand, I also trust that popularity can correspond with quality, too. There may be other Frenchified bistros in Manhattan, but nowhere will ever best bustling Balthazar for me.

6. Itís okay to take a selfie every now and then. Milanís Duomo has always dazzled me, but I hadn't visited again in the era of smartphones. Last year, iPhone in hand, I set out to capture the perfect portrait, returning countless times during the day until the lighting was just-so. More than once, I braved the chilly stares of the carabinieri lingering on the edge of the square, and Iím so glad I did. (I doubt Iíll succeed in my campaign against selfie sticks, though, since theyíre apparently so entrenched in carry-ons that theyíre changing the way we travel). Though I will make a note of landmarks where selfies are actually banned.

Hope these tips help you be a polite traveler and you have a beary great Friday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab