Why are travel tips written for the stupid?

I've been reading a bunch of travel blogs and other stuff about travel lately, hoping to get some ideas but most of them have left me with an "OMG, you are kidding" feeling instead.

The worst are the ones written by/for Americans.  Seriously, do not read anything about travelling in Europe written by an American.  Unless you are stupid.  Most of the Americans I know aren't stupid so they don't need to be told this shit, I'm sure.

For example, do you really need to tell people not to flash the bling around?  That's just common sense, right.  And telling people not to wear jogging shoes (unless you are jogging)... if you don't know that by the time you are ready to travel, you are never going to know it.  And do you really, really need to use exactly the same brand of toiletries you use at home?

I don't know what it is with travel advice.  Someone writes something then ever other writer repeats it as gospel because they don't have enough sense to think about it for themselves or test stuff out.

Top of my list of crap advice is to stay in backpacker dorms so you can meet people!  Seriously.  Have you seen the people who stay at backpacker hostels?  Why the fuck would you want to meet them?  I don't get it at all.  You travel half way around the world to hang out with a bunch of douches in a run down building stinking of mildew and unwashed socks?

Maybe if you are young and want to party and have *fun*, that sounds great but, if that's what you want, why not just got to hostel a couple of towns over from your home and stay there.  Save a fortune on travelling and you can get all the partying and shagging you need.  Bung on a French accent to make it more exotic.

I was thinking about staying at a backpacker place in Amsterdam for one night (the night that I'll be going out getting shitfaced with my friend) and they wanted $60 a night for a room in a 32 bed dorm - including queen size beds for couples!  I'm pretty open minded but having a randy couple shagging in the bed next to me is not how I want to enjoy my hols.


If you need to pack a pair of thongs/flip flops to avoid getting foot diseases, maybe you should stay somewhere else.

Also, why do these people think you need the protection of thongs/flip flops in the shower but then tell you to pack fast drying NYLON underwear?  Really?  Do they not have any understanding what the combination of hot weather and nylon underwear can lead to?  No one wants to spend a holiday with a yeast factory going on in their pants.  Trust me.

Teva sandals - so many travel sites are all over these things so I googled them.  I'd rather die.  They are so freaken ugly.

Hiking shoes - again, WTF?  I can understand it if you are actually going hiking but why would you wear them otherwise?

Another chestnut is to pack some concentrated laundry detergent so you can hand wash stuff.  Because you want to spend every night of your holiday wrist deep in dirty knicker water.  I've done it in emergencies and it takes much, much longer to hand wash stuff than you think.

The washing part is fine, it's wringing stuff out that is the hard work.  Rolling your clothes up in towel and stomping on them helps but even that is limited by the absorbency of the towels -- and, if you are staying at the cheap backpackers mentioned above, you probably have to pack your own towel that you'll need for stuff like showering.

Just pack a bunch of clean knickers to last you.  How much space do knickers take up anyway?  Not a lot.  Then go to a laundrymat.  Sure, that's not much fun but it's a helluva lot more fun than hand washing.

My tip (for chicks): leggings! Not only do they keep your legs warm (or cool in summer if you get the right ones), you don't need to wear knickers with them.  Or maybe wear them with knickers the first day and without the second to extend the number of wears.

My other tip: instead of hand washing, spot clean anything that gets dirty (not knickers, obvs but other clothes) and hang clothes up to air after you wear them whenever possible.

My third tip: soap is soap is soap.  Why carry multiple soaps?  Shampoo, laundry detergent, body soap - they are all the same.  Just pack one.

Ultimate packing tip:
Cute clothes take up the same amount of space as ugly ones.

Other stupid travel advice:

Cook meals at your hostel instead of eating out.  Because you traveled all this way to have some cheap spaghetti and canned sauce in a shoe-boxed size kitchen with a couple of banged up saucepans and chipped plates?  The whole reason for traveling (for me, at least) is to eat awesome food - that is cooked by someone else.

For safety reasons, don't go out alone.  Go with people from your hostel.  Because the rapey creeps are sure to be the locals, not other backpackers?  Just because someone's from your home country, doesn't mean they are trustworthy. And the creeps from the hostel know where you sleep.

Money pouches/belts etc.  To be honest, I giggle like a pre-adolescent boy every time someone uses the word "fanny pack".  If you are English or Australian, it has a whole other meaning. I had a money belt once.  I used it for a day then threw it out.  I have enough padding around my middle without adding to it.  You don't have to be MORE aware in foreign countries than you do at home.  You should be that much aware in your own country too.  No matter what.  Don't sit your wallet/hand bag/purse on the table at a cafe then get wrapped in talking, reading, eating or whatever. Don't hang your handbag on the back of your chair - out of sight.

Money safety tip:  the bra purse.  If someone is fishing around in there to grab my cash, I'm going to know about it.  I use the bra purse all the time, at home as well as when travelling.  I've used it for cash and cards.  I've not tried putting my passport in there but I'm not ruling it out.

For guys, you could probably stash some cash in your socks or socks.

Extra tip - retrieve your cash in private. One time I went for a run and needed to buy some shit from the supermarket on the way home.  I stood at the register, fishing a sweat-drenched $20 out of my bra and then noticed the look of horror on the check-out chick's face.  Yeah, sometimes I'm a bit clueless like that.

On my last holiday, I had all my vital shit like passport, wallet etc in a zipper section of my bag.  I got sick of fishing it out every time I needed to buy something or catch a train, then making sure it was all zipped up and secure so I got a cheap coin purse to hold a few dollars for my immediate needs + my transport card and had that in the main part of my bag.  It made life so much easier.

What is the stupidest piece of travel advice you've ever been given?