I was sitting on a bus last week and staring out into the buzzing streets of Kreuzberg, Berlin, when suddenly my thoughts wandered off thinking about all things I would have missed, how many valuable mistakes I wouldn’t have done, and how many beautiful things my eyes would have never seen had I always listened to every bit of advice people have given me.

So here’s my personal list of the worst things you could tell people. Please don’t take this too seriously, I don’t want to offend anyone but I’m sure Team Travelettes isn’t alone in having to listen to “tips” like this occasionally. Although the comments may seem snarky, they’re purely intended to make you and us laugh a little bit…

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First up, anything that is really meant to say “Don’t go” is an absolute deal-breaker and perhaps reason enough to end your friendship/marriage/employment. Variations are:

Sure this is the right time? Don’t you have enough on your plate already? 

What about your career? (Ever heard of Wifi and freelancing?)

Wait until you’ve saved up some more money. (I might as well wait until I’m dead.)

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Raise your hand if you never heard this one before…

Don’t travel alone as a woman.
When will you get it? This is absolutely ridiculous advice in 99% of all cases!

Buy adapters and things at the airport when you get there.
Errrr, no? You know how expensive everything as airports?

Better pack too much than too little. (Kathi)
Said no one ever… apart from Kathi’s mum.

Don’t go to Thailand because it’s super touristy. (Sophie)
Have you been doing your own Thailand trip right? Because if you had, you’d know that aside from tourists, there is magnificent (and untouched) nature, bliss and colours to be had.

Take the first or second class trains in India. (Katja)
Better take sleeper trains as they hold an infinite amount of random encounters and memories.

Speaking of India, don’t go there alone as a female. (Phoebe)
India is a great country to backpack in and many if not most of the travelers there are female and they very often travel alone. Make sure you dress modest and use common sense and you will be just fine.

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Don’t worry about learning the language, everybody speaks English nowadays. (Elisa)
What if I want an experience that is a little deeper than a confused “Hey, how are you” dialogue? Besides, learning – and asking locals for help over coffee and beer is fun!

Don’t eat street food. (Sophie)
It may give you food poisoning. Yeah right. I vividly remember sitting in a really fancy restaurant outside of Beirut with a beautiful view onto the sea. I thought: if I’m not gonna have fish now, then when!? So I did, and I spent the next three days vomiting, missing a great festival and cursing every salmon that has ever lived. Guess where nothing ever happened? On the markets, the food stalls, the kebab shops, the little manooshe breakfast places.

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Get a cab.
In most cases (apart from when you’ve got a flight to catch), it’ll be cheaper and more fun – albeit take a little longer – to get yourself on local transport.

Might as well splurge a bit on the hotel. Nothing beats a good night sleep.
That is true, but do I really want to spend 12 hours in bed when the world is at my footstep? And then be broke because I don’t have any money to eat out, buy bus/train/boat tickets? Nah.

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Don’t indulge in tasting every type of gelato while in Italy. (Phoebe)
Do you even listen to your own words? How could I not try absolutely every friggin’ type of gelato there is?

You’ll get to the hut in five hours.
No, you’re wrong. It took 12 hours, a night on the rocks, two very disheartened girls and absolutely no phone signal to get to the hut, thank you very much.

We promise we’ll get your bag back.
Yeah… don’t believe the hype.

Apropos bags. You’re bags got stolen in Bangkok? Shit, maybe you should get on the next flight home.
Or maybe I should just get on with life as long as I still have my passport and cards and make the best of it? It’s not like a little crisis is making me panic and give up. And if it tries to, I’m not letting it because what doesn’t kill you makes you strongerrrr, lovelies.

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You can easily explore San Francisco by foot.
No words. And I was dumb enough to believe it.

Paris will be a really good place to take it easy and catch up on some reading!
I was led into thinking I could while away at Shakespeare & Company and reach an incredible inner peace while navigating through Montmartre or Belleville. Yeah, that didn’t go down well.

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A normal jacket will be just fine for a weekend trip to Copenhagen in JANUARY.
Holy crap, how did this happen? And where’s the next Zara!?

This is a dangerous country.
To say it in Hunter S. Thompson’s words: “We can’t stop here, this is bat country.”

You’ll easily find a hostel room for $30/night in New York.
Oh, you mean a converted warehouse where the “rooms” are separated by blinds, open-plan and including about 30 snorting individuals? Lovely, sounds fab!

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Don’t trust strangers.
I know I know, not everyone’s a saint, but living to the “Don’t trust anyone you don’t know” motto will make your life very, very, very boring.

Don’t experiment too much.
You’re in a foreign country, you don’t speak their language, what if your little solo-adventure turns into a self-made disaster and you end up in the middle of the desert with no clue if you’ll ever see the light of the day again? What if it goes wrong? 
Yeah, but what if it doesn’t?

You absolutely have to see the Niagara Falls (replace with any cheesy tourist destination).
You know what? I still haven’t seen them because the five lakes of Ontario somehow fascinated me more. So no, you don’t.

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I’m sure you’ll have some useful things to add! Get writing below!

All photographs taken by Caroline Schmitt