How To Travel Like A Seasoned Pro

an idiot abroad promo pic

Photo: Sky

The new series of An Idiot Abroad — starring Karl Pilkington (pictured), the reluctant Mancunian globetrotter — is now showing.Read our guide to the dos and don’ts of travel and you won’t end up looking like Karl Pilkington.

Don't: Get out the map

We have all stood on the corner of the street struggling with a map of an unfamiliar city. Folding the map carefully will mean you can glance at it more discreetly.

And never try to get 'into the map' - you'll only embarrass your travelling companions.

Do: Use local transport

Board the local buses and you'll blend in and save money. Many inner city routes pass by the key attractions, too.

For example, the London Big Bus Tour costs £29. Hop on the Number 24 at Victoria station and you'll see Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Downing Street and Leicester Square, before being deposited in trendy Camden - and all for just over £1.

Don't: Wear socks and sandals

This applies in all walks of life -- not just during the holidays.

Tourists should also be wary of crocs, football shirts, Che Guevara t-shirts, budgie smugglers, and -- perhaps most of all -- bum bags.

Do: Wear a jacket

Everyone can recognise a tourist -- they're the one in the shorts and t-shirt.

Wear trousers and a jacket.

You'll look like a local, and will be able to explore the sights without any hassle.

Don't: Pose for a cliched photo

Holding the dome of the Taj Mahal, kissing the Sphinx, propping up the Eiffel Tower, straddling the Equator, mimicking Christ the Redeemer, crossing Abbey Road.

If you've done any of these, you've been an idiot abroad.

Do: Visit the lesser known attractions

Some of the most satisfying holiday experiences come from unearthing that hidden gem that only the locals know about.

A summer picnic in London's Postman's Park ought to live far longer in the memory than a sweaty trip to Madame Tussauds.

Don't: Clatter into the language barrier

Shouting at the patient Spanish waiter will not help him to understand you.

Nor will -- Joey Barton and Steve McClaren take note -- putting on an accent.

And for heaven's sake don't attempt to flirt with that friendly Parisian waitress using the basic French you can remember from Year 9. She does not 'J'adore' you. Cretin.

Do: Learn a few words

Having even a handful of basic words, and especially numbers, changes the way you are treated, and reduces the sense of being a loutish outsider.

And even if the waiter replies in fluent English, you've shown a willingness to make an effort, and they will respect you for it.

Don't: Make a dog's dinner of it

If you're eating out, a phrasebook is likely to come in handy, unless you want to find yourself face to face with the sort of local delicacy Ant and Dec might service on I'm A Celebrity...

Do: Show a little ambition

Did you really come to Spain to eat pie and chips at Del Boy's Snack Wagon?

Try visiting the restaurants that are filled of locals -- even if the menus aren't in English (that's why you've got that phrasebook).

Don't: Rock the double backpack

Unless you want to be manhandled by a highly strung commuter.

Do: Carry a plastic bag

People often use plastic bags to carry their possessions. You wouldn't dream of doing so on holiday, but it pays dividends.

As Nick Trend, Telegraph Travel consumer editor, discovered: 'In two weeks of regular travel on the vaporetti in Venice, I was never asked to show my ticket once -- even though other tourists were checked regularly.

'Since I scarcely look Italian, the only explanation I could think of was that I had kept my notebook, guidebooks and camera in a carrier bag I picked up from a local supermarket.

'Had I been carrying a day pack, or wearing a money belt, I'm sure I would have been treated differently.'

Don't: Show off your valuables

Not only will you look like a flashy tourist (the most hated type of human the world over), you're advertising your wares to every pickpocket in the vicinity.

Do: Hide the camera

We suppose you have to take photos at some point -- although some at Telegraph Travel argue that photography can ruin a holiday for you and others.

If so, put your camera in your bag or on your belt in between snaps, rather than leaving it bouncing ostentatiously on your chest or dangling from a wrist.

Don't: Flash the flesh

What would you think if you spotted a handful of shirtless Spaniards marching down The Mall?

I suppose your first instinct would be to warn the Queen.

Why a minority of Britons think it's acceptable to wander the streets and supermarkets of Spain with their nipples and beer belly on display simply beggars belief.

Do: Wear sunscreen

We've all done it at least once, and it ruins your trip.

Proper application of suncream is never a holiday highlight -- but sleepless nights and prickly heat will definitely be a spoiler.

There's a reason aftersun costs 20 euros at the local supermarket -- you deserve to be ripped off for allowing it to happen.

To look like a real idiot -- fall asleep in the sun (shirtless) while sitting upright. Two hours later you'll look like a Southampton supporter.

Don't: Get your hair braided or a henna tattoo

Children can (just about) get away with braiding their hair on holiday, but you're a grown woman for goodness sake.

And henna tattoos are perfectly acceptable on an excitable young teenager. But not on you.

Do: Travel alone

Exploring a destination on your own is usually more rewarding.

You can come and go as you please, take your time, and stop wherever you fancy.

Following a tour group, particularly if the leader insists on thrusting an umbrella into the sky throughout, will make you all look foolish.

Don't: Offend the locals

It's well worth doing a bit of research into local customs.

Handkerchiefs are considered disgusting in Japan, a glass of vodka in Russia should be drunk in one go, don't give an Egyptian the thumbs up, and avoid showing the soles of your feet to people in Asia.

It goes without saying that you shouldn't sunbathe topless in the Middle East.

Do: Support the local economy

Where possible -- particularly in countries with questionable governments, such as Burma -- make sure your money goes into local hands.

Visit independent guesthouses, restaurants and shops and do some research into who owns your hotel before you book. This is perhaps the most important advice of all.

Looking to treat yourself abroad?

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