Travel Etiquette Revisited: My Top 5 Travel Pet Peeves

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Needless to say, travel has become a way of life for me. I’ve been living abroad for the past 5 years. When I come home I love sharing with folks travel highlights and why they should visit a certain place. Though I’m quick to highlight the glorious side of travel, I notice that I rarely talk about the downsides. Here, I’m going to highlight the aspects of travel that irk me, or in other words, my five top travel pet peevees. Here we go:

1. “Can I take your picture?”

Ok, I get it. Maybe there are locals who haven’t seen a brown person in real life. But when traveling to far away lands this still bothers me. I know it’s coming from an inquisitive place, but I can’t help but be annoyed when I’m taking in the energy of a travel site and I’m bombarded every five minutes with a request to take a picture.  In cases I do decide to take a picture, I try to use it as a teachable moment and to learn a little bit about the country I’m traveling in by asking questions or sharing about where I’m from.

2. “Can I touch your hair?’

This one happens to travelistas of the kinky-haired persuasion. There’s nothing that annoys me more than people reaching and staring at my hair like it’s a science project gone awry. My hair may be kinky but, it’s soft and pliable just like anyone else’s. Kinky sisters beware of this one ever-so-often when traveling while brown.

3. “Place Your Cell Phone in the Bin Provided”

Remove your laptop and place it in the bin provided. Remove your shoes, belts, scarves, jewelry, and change in your pockets. Why don’t you give us the results to your last blood test and a DNA sample while you’re at it? This is one travel pet peeve I know I’m not alone in on this one. Not only is the strip-down travel procedure time consuming, it’s downright de-humanizing. There must be a better way to ensure safety while treating customers with dignity.

4. “I’ll Have Fries With That….”

You mean to tell me you traveled all the way to Colombia to have a burger? It’s one thing if you live abroad and you want nothing more than some comfort food from home. But it never ceases to amaze me that there are travelers who order western food on their ENTIRE  one-to-two week vacation. Cuisine is part of a country’s culture and failure to try local food shows your insensitivity to immerse yourself in the culture.

5. “Where’s the Nearest Hospital?”

There’s nothing worse that planning the perfect getaway only to become ill. This happened to me during my trip to Ghana earlier this year. My two-week sight seeing trip  got cut short six days into the trip by getting seriously ill. Sometimes you can’t help it, but in cases you can, remember to take the proper vaccinations to avoid illness.

So there you have it. My top five travel pet peeves. What are some of your pet peeves when you’re on the road? Share them!

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16 Responses to “Travel Etiquette Revisited: My Top 5 Travel Pet Peeves”

  1. OneBrownGirl says:

    Good post! Thanks for sharing!
    Getting sick while traveling IS NO FUN AT ALL. And don’t get a head cold and be on connecting flights and have to land TWICE. It’s just horrible.

  2. Hey, the burger I had in Bogota, Colombia was amazing. One of the best I’d had in a while. LOL But I hear you, I want to try everything new, strange and different and not get sick! Though I don’t get the can I touch/take your pic, I have to remind myself not to get annoyed by the stares and pointing.

    • Roxanne L. Scott says:

      You know, one of the best hot dogs I’ve ever had was in Costa Rica. It is interesting to see the spin some other cultures put on Western food. I’m talking about those people NEVER try anything new on their vacation, lol.

      I’ve gotten so many requests to take pics when living in Mexico in China. The “can I touch your hair” is rarer, but it does happen, lol.

  3. [...] Who’s World — Roxanne was right on target with locals who want to touch your hair. I wear mine in kinky twist braids and during a stay in Interlaken, Switzerland (which must have served as the set for the movie “The Sound of Music), people always wanted to touch my hair. Some asked, but many didn’t. DON’T TOUCH MY HAIR!!! [...]

  4. Roxanne,

    i love the photo of the word “Travel” in the sand because I love the beach. It evokes such wonderful memories for me.


    The Skcyhi Travel Guide

    • Roxanne L. Scott says:

      Thanks! That’s why I used the photo… it evokes great memories for me too. Can’t wait to hit the beach when I’m in Ghana :-)
      Ugh… I just want to slap away a person’s hand when they start reaching for my hair, lol.

  5. Ha ha, I’m laughing about #3, the bin one. My last trip, I decided to load my boarding pass onto my phone (a first for me!) but of course one has to then put it in the bin! Then I had the security scanner agent ask to see my boarding pass and I’m like, “it’s on my phone, you have it!” and she looked at me like I did something wrong or something.

    Right, we need to come up with a better system.

  6. Wifey says:

    Great list! Admittedly, I might not be the most daring when it comes to eating, but I definitely don’t want a burger in Columbia. We all should try something new!

    Winks & Smiles,

    • Roxanne L. Scott says:

      Thanks! Whether it’s food, volunteering, or soaking up some artistic vibes, people need to get out of their centric bubble!

  7. Michaela says:

    Your number two seems to be very popular in the kinky haired world. Am I the only kinky who loves having strangers feel up my scalp? Maybe my kinkiness goes further than the hair! LOL!

    And yes, getting sick on travel is no fun at all. Hopes are that it isn’t serious and goes away without ruining the entire trip. I started a new medication right before a trip to Vegas and was sick for the first few days. Luckily, it went away and I got to enjoy the second half of the trip!

    • Roxanne L. Scott says:

      Haha… I’ll refer them to you when they start reaching for my hair, lol!

      Yeah that’s definitely the hope that you don’t get something too serious while on vacation. That’s great you got all better to enjoy Vegas. :-)

  8. AngelQT says:

    Yea. The picture thing makes me more mad than anything! I’d forgotten all about it, but I would definitely make it in my top 5.

  9. Sameera says:


    Your experiences inspire me! I want to make travel a way of life and I have been fortunate enough to visit a few places. The latest (coming up) is Ghana! I just wanted to ask for some insight on how you are able to live abroad and travel so much? What is your profession?

    • Roxanne L. Scott says:

      Hey Sameera! I’m an international educator, so I travel the world and teach. I’ve lived in Costa Rica, Mexico, China, and now Ghana. If you’re interested in teaching and travel it’s a great profession to get into. Of course there are others you can get into as well. I like spending long stints abroad! Tanks for your comment! :-)

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