Inspire

10 Things We Do Travelling That We Never Do At Home

Seriously, when else do we eat ice cream almost daily?

After a sweaty session of lakeside yoga (offered free at my hostel), I sat down to enjoy a huge slice of chocolate brownie, dripping in slowly melting ice-cream and hot chocolate sauce.

Yoga and brownies; two things that, funnily enough, have no part in my daily life at home. It got me thinking about what else do we do when we travel that we never (or rarely) do at home.

We have a different lifestyle and attitude when we’re away from home. We cut corners, we splurge, we step out of our comfort zone, and sometimes we do things in pure desperation. Here’s 10 things that happen more abroad than they do at home.

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Share a room with strangers

For the budget traveller, six, eight and even 12-bed dorms are a normal thing. We tolerate the snorers, the drunks, the early risers and god forbid, the late night “it’s-ok-no-one-can-hear-us” canoodlers. We take solace knowing that it’s only temporary and all part of the fun. So, to the modern hostels that are installing curtains and pods in dorm rooms nowadays, thank you.

Image: Hannu Makarainen/Flickr

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Drink before 2pm

All rules out the window. Hey, I’m on holidays! And as each day passes, beer o’clock just seems to keep sneaking in earlier and earlier.

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Wear underwear more than once

We don’t talk about it and no one wants to hear about it, but let’s be honest, it happens. We’ll try to get every last wear out of what we have because our time is much better spent at the beach or at the bar than waiting around for washing to finish. (Refer to #4)

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Use a laundromat

First, decipher the instructions (that may very well be written in another language). Exchange coins for tokens. Put tokens in machine. Don’t forget to add washing powder (put in an extra two tokens for washing powder). Wait. Empty machine. Get more tokens for dryer. Wait some more. Go quietly insane.

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5 / 10

 Talk to strangers

While you’re away, you’ll strike up a conversation with just about anyone. After all, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to make a new travel buddy or a lifelong friend. And if you’ve been travelling alone – or with the same person/people for a while – you might simply crave interaction with someone new. But at home, if someone asks you the time of day, you’ll assume the worst.

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Shop for nik-naks

I always wondered who it was that shopped at those late-night souvenir shops on Melbourne’s Swanston Street in the hometown. That is, until I when on my first trip overseas.

We shop for things that we hope we will have forever as a reminder of our time abroad. Sometimes it’s items that we feel make us fashionable and worldly. But what we end up with is a bunch of nik-naks like friendship bracelets, key rings, fisherman’s pants, cheap t-shirts or chopsticks that will stay in the back of our cupboards for years to come.

Photo: Taryn Stenvei

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Haggle over a few bucks

Sometimes it’s part of local culture, other times it’s because we don’t want to feel ripped-off. But more likely, it’s because we’re aiming to save every last dollar of our travel budget. Having spent ten minutes haggling hard for a counterfeit pair of Ray Bans, it’s an uncomfortable realisation to discover that you’ve saved yourself just one measly buck. A buck which could have gone much further in the pocket of a local.

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8 / 10

Talk about our bowels

When we travel we eat and drink new and unusual things, therefore sickness is a common occurrence. We don’t even flinch at a subject matter that would be 100 percent off-limits at home, particularly around a dinner table. We’re all in the same boat and talking about it can be a friendly way to remind us that everything is OK.

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Stand in long lines

If there’s a queue in your hometown, you’ll go to another place or come back another day. But while away, you will wait. This might be your only chance to climb the Eiffel Tower, eat at Chicago’s trendiest brunch spot or get your photo taken with a wax sculpture of Madonna. So, you will wait. You will wait for as long as it takes.

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Eat so much ice cream

Tourists love ice-cream. We really do. Whenever there is a main attraction, there is an ice cream stall nearby. It’s hard to go anywhere without walking past a mouth-watering ice-cream display. Take one look at those glistening, creamy buckets, filled to the brim with flavoursome combos, covered in sticky toppings, fruits and candies and you’re a goner. Shut up and take my money!

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