Travel Foul!

10 Oct

We’re all guilty once in a while

Travel Fouls.  We all commit them at one point or another.  Some are unknowing offenders.  Some feel guilt.  Others might be in denial. But one thing is for certain.  As long as people explore foreign lands, putting themselves in unfamiliar settings, Travel Fouls will occur. 

Now, I’m not talking about cultural faux pas.  A Travel Foul is different.  By definition (which I’m making up as I type), travel fouls are – Actions taken by a traveler which purposefully, or unintentionally remove them from the possibility of cultural enrichment. Travel fouls put up roadblocks and close doors.  They are moments of weakness. They are missed opportunities.

I don’t aim to play referee, raising a yellow-card each time a Parisian tourist enters a Starbucks.  But in crying foul, we can identify behavior that isn’t necessarily wrong, but limiting.  If you missed viewing the Sistine Chapel because all you packed were short-shorts, or the only locals you encountered were hotel bell boys, you sold yourself short.

Like in sports, travelers commit fouls because they need a break, got frustrated, or are simply unprepared.  While fouling-out isn’t a concern, one certainly can suffer as a result of committing too many.


  • “I just couldn’t find the Louvre.”   (Referring to the largest museum on Earth)
  • “The only shopping I did in Milan was for condoms…ha ha!”
  •  Eating at a Hard Rock Café…anytime…anywhere
  • “We never left the resort. Why would we!?”
  • Going to Starbucks when in a city renowned for its coffee
  •  Taking a zillion photos – seeing the sights mostly through a viewfinder
  • “We planned to do the High Tea thing while in London, but were still too hung-over to get out of bed.”
  • “We were scared to death of hostels…used Dad’s Marriot points instead”
  • “I complained about Pandora & Hulu not working in Spain. Why was I always on my computer!?”

What are some Travel Fouls you’ve witnessed, or will admit to committing? Go ahead, get it off your chest.


4 Responses to “Travel Foul!”

  1. Hannah October 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    When I was in Sweden, it was really easy to just hang out with the other international students- especially if they spoke English because they were from Canada or the UK. I’m a bit regretful I didn’t meet more Swedes.

    • Paige Perfect October 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

      While I was briefly in Paris, my brother and I essentially only ate McDonald’s and other familiar food chains. Neither of us are foodies, and our first day in Paris, we had a really bad & intimidating experience right off the train trying to order some food, and then several more unfortunate encounters during our stay. Neither one of us spoke any French, and we quickly discovered that some Parisians don’t really appreciate monolingual American tourists.

      Every McDonald’s we went into had English-speaking cashiers. The McDonald’s outside of the Palace of Versailles had computers you could use to order in your native language. After all the negative interactions we were having with locals due to our language barrier, it was too easy and too comfortable to pass up.

      The only things I ate while I was in Paris, a city known for its food, was escargot and a crepe. I’ll be the first to admit that I have extremely unadventurous taste buds, but only eating fast food in Paris was a travel foul if there ever was one. It is easily one my biggest travel regrets. If I ever have the chance to visit Paris again, I’m not stepping foot in a single restaurant that has a numbered menu and employees with name tags.

  2. madridmandi October 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    *Going to McDonalds more in Europe than in America- But they had free wifi! And I didn’t even have to buy anything, but It was hard to pass up their European Pastries and cafe con leche!
    *Snapping pics of everything at the local markets. But at least I’ll never forget the size of the ostrich eggs they were selling as I can compare them to the size of the skinned rabbits to the right.
    * Jamming out to Justin Beiber in a Taxi in Morocco. In our defense the driver saw us American girls and automatically thought we would love the Beibster’s music…he was right!

  3. C.W. Peak October 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    While in Ireland, I didn’t go out and experience the City Centre in Galway as much as I should have. Days that it was rainy and such I would rather go back to my flat where I could turn on the heat and be warm. Yet, it was those days that inevitably something cool would be happening in Town. Also, not speaking a lick of Spanish while in Spain was interesting. I was limited to the major tourist areas where there was always someone able to speak English

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