Are you guilty of any of these bad habits? We won’t lie, we are guilty of a few and with eight months on the road and 13 countries later, we have learned tough lessons.  We are sharing this with you as a means to encourage change in the way we carry ourselves and do things out there as travelers.

Traveling is such a beautiful thing. Everyone wants to travel and will travel at that opportune time.  It does not matter whether you do it locally in your country or out of your country or continent.  Travel is travel and has the same ultimate reward. Experiencing new environment, cultures and people.

But how well are we preserving these travel sites so that our children, children of our children and generations to come can enjoy seeing and experience what we are experiencing right now?

There are certain “travelers traditions or practices”,that are quite damaging of culture, history, sites and the entire of travel experiences.  We may not have realized how deep and how bad these traditions have become but for as long as we continue the practices, we are destroying a lot of good out there.

Are you guilty of any of these?

Here are 6 practices that will not only extinct history and culture but will damage many of good travel sites. You can share more in the comment section.

STACKING OF ROCKS OR BUILDING CAIRNS.

Stacked up rocks in Tsitsikamma National Park right at the ocean. It’s a good hiking park.

Stacking of rocks or creating of cairns is an old tradition of Iceland.  The cairns were used as beacons to give directions to travelers and still is considered a sign for directions. Today, these tradition has been turned into a travelers fun practice.  While in the olden days it acted as a GPS, today it is being used as a sign of “I was here” by travelers.  You will find these rocks stack by the rivers, oceans, lakes, road sides, mountains and everywhere.   The sad part of this is that, there are still places this GPS tradition is used such as in the mountains by hikers and trekkers but travelers have interfered with this causing more harm than good to what was once a very helpful practice.

LOVE LOCKS OR PADLOCKS OF LOVE.

Love locks in Cape of Good Hope – South Africa. The most South-Western Point of the African Continent.

The leaving of locked padlocks is popular with traveling couples or simply lovers. They will buy a padlock of which some go to the extent of engraving their names, birthdays or their anniversaries. They then lock them on a rail, fence or any place that is possible to do so in popular tourist or travel sites.  Keys are then thrown into the bushes, rivers, oceans and lakes depending on their environment.  These padlocks are referred to as “love locks” and believed to symbolize a bond that can not be broken. Many tourists or major travel sites are now full with padlocks which are destroying the beauty of these places and in some cases tampering with the structure of buildings.

 

SCRIBBLING OF NAMES, SIGNATURES AND LOVE HEARTS.

Destroyed wall graffiti in Valparaiso in Chile

You will see these on walls, bus stops, on beautiful graffitis, seats in the parks, rails and other places like in the National Parks and many more. This one is quite annoying as it destroys hours or creativity, beautiful work and simply makes the environment dirty.  Having traveled through South America now where art is highly respected and there is lots of beautiful graffitis on the walls.  We have seen so many scribbling on those beautiful pieces of graffiti and it is not just annoying but very disrespectful of the artists and the culture of the people. In South America, it happens in two ways. The first is, if the owner of the graffiti has offended the community, then that community will destroy his/her work by scribbling on their work.  Some of the things they write are insulting or a message to let the owner know they are not happy. We leave this to the locals and respect their own way of handling that.  The second one is people (both foreigners and locals) scribbling their names to show that they were there.  The “I/We were here messages being written all over including on walls, bus stops should STOP.

 

PUTTING STICKERS ON EVERY WALL AND WINDOW WITHOUT PERMISSION

Solitaire in Namibia Desert
Tropical of Capricon in Namibia Desert

We may be guilty of this as much as we think it is impolite and disrespectful to do so.  There are many places that allow and encourage travelers to leave their stickers on a wall or window such as backpackers, hostels and restaurants that mainly cater for adventure travelers.  However, putting your sticker on a signpost, window of homes you have stayed in, fridges of people who have hosted you without their consent is rude. They are not just dirty but very unwanted pieces of art and information and also hard to clean off.  STOP, WE STOPPED doing this without permission.

ZOO TOURISM.

This is the most disturbing and extremely unpleasant habit that most travelers have.  It is very disrespectful as it does not respect, privacy, space and it’s quite invasive. We are talking about taking photographs of people without their consent, having no respect for their culture and simply making people uncomfortable by your actions in a foreign land.  We used to think this was a problem of Africa only but have realized that it does not only happen in Africa but it happens everywhere.  We have seen people take pictures of native people without their consent. As a foreigner in a country, it is important to exercise respect to people and their culture.

 

TRAVELERS EFFECTIVE USE OF TINDER.

Sign courtesy of google photos.

Note the word effective, because it is put there with a hidden message.  When you walk to backpackers, you will see notices that read “one bed, one person” or “no second person will be allowed into your bed”. This is because of the effective use of Tinder. Party nights almost always end up with an extra person crawling into a single bed in a dormitory. In worst cases, both are drunk and have to climb on to the top decker and well, that never ends well.  If the dorm-mates are fortunate enough not to be entertained to an act of “Assault with a friendly weapon” they end up with an additional snorer that is no better than the other. Well, they say it is “Right, Swipe Right”.

Happy travels, keep the environment clean always. Preserve the travel sites.