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4 Vacation Tips For Traveling Abroad

Updated on August 26, 2013
Steve Martin in the role "The Jerk"
Steve Martin in the role "The Jerk"

Are You A Travel Jerk?

Even a jerk has to travel now and again to those places he is not familiar with. When packing to head out on vacation or travel, even a jerk needs to be sure he's taking his true personality with him. Being out of his comfort zone, he may get just a bit off of his game. When on his own stomping grounds he knows just where to go for food, beer, and those things he can't seem to do without. How a jerk gets around in a new city can make or break his vacation traveling experience. Being a jerk when traveling on vacation can be the one thing that turns a regular trip into a remarkable memory!

The Jerks Travel Problem

You're in a new travel location and not totally acclimated to the area. The goal is to see, feel, and experience everything the new place has to offer, but you're not really the kind to wonder around aimlessly, going in and out of places without knowing the whole scoop. As a registered travel jerk, you must be resourceful and find a way to get the real facts, not just the stuff regular non-jerk travelers discover. Tourist traps are not for you, but seeing the hidden things the locals experience is absolutely for you. What you need is insider information!

Jerk image source:

Finding those local spots that are hidden away can bring special adventures otherwise missed!
Finding those local spots that are hidden away can bring special adventures otherwise missed! | Source

How To Talk To The Locals

Being a Jerk Can Get You the 'Hole' Truth

The beauty of going to another town or destination is that you can have just as much fun or maybe even more because you are free of regular responsibilities and demands attached to being a jerk at home. No one knows you and so the manner in which you get the information to "upgrade" your vacation experience (no matter how jerky you are) can be as forward as you feel necessary. Finding the best watering holes to drink at, restaurants to eat in, and sights to be seen exploring takes effort. But, you must abide by the 4 rules to being a travel jerk that can get you into all the local haunts, which can have a decidedly brilliant outcome on your whole vacation!

Travel Rules


  1. Avoid Asking Strangers
  2. Make a Local Your Friend
  3. Tunnel Vision Only
  4. Don't Take Crap From Anyone

"Lonely Planet The Travel Book"

Not simply an Atlas, the "Lonely Planet The Travel Book" is a comprehensive guide for planning the family vacation, or an important business trip. "Lonely Planet The Travel Book" shows you that planet Earth is to be experienced in full and as a fantastic adventure. This hardback covers issues like the political and physical statistics of a country (230 countries to be exact) as well as filling-you-in on what you can expect from the climates, languages, foods, quality of medical services available, and the requirements for "getting in" and "get out" of each location. Not to be missed, the photographs are stunning and will amaze you into craving the experience of each and every country for yourself.

Ever Think About Studying Abroad?

Avoiding strangers when traveling on unfamiliar streets abroad!
Avoiding strangers when traveling on unfamiliar streets abroad! | Source

1. Avoid Asking Strangers

A common mistake when you're lost, need information, or just want to find a place to kick-back is to ask a stranger on the street. You assume a). they are local; b). they have a right answer; c). they are trustworthy and sane. Wrong, wrong, and really wrong! They are not local, they have awful taste, and are nucking futs . You would be much better off by simply guessing for yourself. Which would not be a bad choice for a jerk. Locating the local visitors center can resolve the "stranger" risk factor immensely.

What You Think Really Does Matter!

Have you ever had to be a travel jerk?

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2. Make a Local Your Friend

This is much different than asking a stranger. Try to get in tight with someone who is from the area who also knows the best local scoop. Talk to the bartender at a local pub or ask a waiter when you're out eating. Ask where they go on their off hours when they want to blow off a bunch of steam. If you can manage to tip well (as difficult as this may be for a true travel jerk), you can ask anything from where the best drinking hole is, to where the best strip club can be found. If the tip is big enough, they will be completely honest and offer you the "hole" truth! I don't recommend heading over to a local person's home or apartment to party with them. This could be a set up for criminal activity—with you being the activity—or at least a very bad traveling experience.

A Green Water Vortex

A vortex is simply a vertical tunnel, right?
A vortex is simply a vertical tunnel, right? | Source

3. Tunnel Vision Only

When out strutting around on the sidewalks on your vacation, pay attention only to those you are with and the itinerary you have in mind. A good travel jerk would never stop for people handing out pamphlets, people with clipboards asking for a moment of your time, or anyone shaking a coin cup asking for a hand out. Act as if they don't exist, like a genie or unicorns. Any and all of these incidents can result in being taken advantage of in some manner, which should never be on your travel itinerary! Although, a true jerk would take a few cents out of the coin cup in case the the meter runs out.

A punch in the face may be the result if you become too big of a travel jerk!
A punch in the face may be the result if you become too big of a travel jerk!

4. Don't Take Crap From Anyone

In most cases the assumption is that people who visit out of their country or state are going to be idiots that can easily be taken advantage of. Well, they are messing with the wrong jerk! Don't take lip from anyone. If a local person starts to give you crap, step up assertively and tell them there is a new boss in town and that things are about to get really real. Or anything else you can think of that will make the beating you're about to get feel a little less humiliating. (I suggest asking where the closest hospital is prior to this particular kind of interaction!)

Finding those speacial places that suit your travel desires can enhance your vacation in more ways than ever imagined!
Finding those speacial places that suit your travel desires can enhance your vacation in more ways than ever imagined! | Source

Heading Home

In Conclusion

The goal is to be big enough of a jerk that your actions improve your vacation experiences. Keep your jerkiness in check to some degree, and don't be the total jerk everyone wants to avoid. Don't think that you come from a place that is so much better or wonderful than where you are visiting; no one made you visit. Insulting a locals country or town is the best way to get black-balled; acquiring absolutely no inside information. Walk a fine line between being the jerk who wants to get the most out of his travels, but respects the locals who have something to enhance those travels. After all, it was your choice to go to this place on your vacation!

Tip Rate Chart for Various Professions

(click column header to sort results)
Barista (coffee bar server) 
Not required, although when available, coins can go into a tip jar 
$1 per drink, or 15% of total bill 
Cab Driver
$2 to $5 minimum, or 10%
10% to 15%
Delivery Person
$2 minimum, or 10%
10% to 20%
Hotel Housekeeper
$2 to $5 per night, daily, or as a lump sum upon checkout
Restaurant Server
15% to 20% (depending on quality of service)

Comments for Being a Jerk When Traveling...

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  • carol7777 profile image

    carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

    Cool hub and some very good ideas. I know you can travel with lots fewer things than you think. We did a bicycle tour in Europe for six weeks and really had to travel light. We just did the laundrymat every three days. Great hub.

  • CondoLux Rentals profile image

    CondoLux Rentals 5 years ago from North Myrtle Beach,South Carolina

    Haha pretty funny

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

    Such an interesting hub and thanks for sharing.

    Here's to a long time to come of hub sharing.

    Take care


  • Chatkath profile image

    Kathy 6 years ago from California

    Too funny K9- well done vacation guide with a humorous incentive - I love it, images and all. I guess this is fair warning for would be travelers!

  • profile image

    Daydreamer Too 6 years ago

    Yes, being a jerk or ignorant when out of your own familiar stomping ground could well get you seriously injured or even killed these days!

    Very witty read, thank you. :)

  • stephhicks68 profile image

    Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

    I'm kind of wondering if the bellman at the hotel we stayed at last week was being a jerk when he gave us totally wrong directions (turn left and then left again.... actually meant turn left right when you exit the hotel, then take a right and another right). Nothing like getting 4 miles off target while walking on foot.

    Great hub and entertaining!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    I have also had that experience but infrequently. I enjoyed your hub.

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

    Hahaa... I think I've been a huge jerk on more than a few trips. Guess I had better amend my ways.