Lies Every Traveler Tells

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July 27th 2017
Published: July 27th 2017
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If not for my good fortune in life, I might be one of those, a traveler who lies about their trips. But I have been on many trips, including many so-called "trips of a lifetime" that people always seek. But since I am no longer in search of the perfect meal, or perfect hotel, much less the perfect trip, I am as honest and practical as I can be.

Certainly, I hear many glowing comments from fellow travelers. Once in a while, their advice pays off, such as my trips to see Angkor Wat in Cambodia, or to traverse the Trans Siberian Railway across Russia. Once in a decade, some bad advice places me in less than ideal places and situations, but those are rare. I am fortunate that most of my trips have worked out in the 99th percentile!!

One potential lie about a trip is the cost. Rarely do people brag how much, but rather how little. Everyone is seeking a bargain, whether a hotel room, meal, train ticket, airline flight, or cruise. I would ask each of you to judge for yourself: if the deal looks too good, stay away! And if you do your research, you will not get caught in one of these scams. My rule in this regard, is to never try to replicate someone else's deal of the century.

With regard to food, your taste is an individual thing, and I would never force my preference on another traveler. But if you ask, I will share. I have learned from travel through many Third World countries, good is better than cheap. And in big, expensive cities like Tokyo, Paris, London, and NYC, just do your research, and you will end up with a good meal, at a fair price.

I have been stuck in my share of flea bag hotels, in South America, mostly. Some have even been dangerous, requiring me to prop a chair against the door knob. But this has happened from Tierra del Fuego to Anchorage, it does not matter where.

The biggest lie I have ever encountered is when someone says, "I met the most handsome or beautiful in the world last night." I try to temper that by saying I met the most person yesterday! Who is more believable? Some of the more interesting people I meet are professional photographers. They always seem to have good stories.

I am no longer a night club guy, but this is an area of extreme hype and innuendo, if you know what I mean. One bad sign is a metal detector on the way inside. And do not judge the place by the people in line. Many times they are paid by the nightclub. They enter, go out the back door, and get back in line again!!! Once in a while, a nightclub will live up to your expectations. When it happens, relish it, and try to remember all of the times you got scammed.

When I meet people, and ask for advice, I try to find someone with like interests and budget. In general, I do not ask backpackers or hitchhikers where to stay or eat. But if I am sitting in a nice bar or restaurant, I will try to gather some good information for my next trip or meal. The stars you see next to a hotel or restaurant, for instance, in places like Europe or South America are not good indicators. Their standards are much different than ours.

I am always on the look out for a good place to eat, no matter where I am. First, look at the size of the person's waist line. That will tell you whether they prefer quantity or quality. Another good indicator is their pronunciation of foreign words, like foie gras, or pouilly fuisse'. Another good indicator is their like or dislike for things like seafood, sushi, escargot, duck, and lamb. Why is it that seafood is a big differentiator?

Asking if someone is a wine or beer drinker also relays much information. As you might expect, beer drinkers have simpler taste, in general. But just because someone drinks wine may not be a good sign, since they may be more interested in volume than quality. But I do trust fellow champagne and sparkling wine drinkers, except for those who like the sweet bubbles.

For me, the location of the hotel is probably one of the most important factors in choosing a place. It may depend on whether I need public transportation, proximity to landmarks, or a place to park my own car or rental. Locally, I need a hotel that allows pets, so I lean toward Residence Inn by Marriott.

And mostly, avoid the big talker, the "know it all", the guy who has been there, done that! Stick with someone a little less flamboyant, a little more like yourself. And remember, they could be a shill for the joint!!! Again, the size of the person is very important when judging their veracity.

Specifically, the food quality at a hotel reveals much about the hotel. If the food is too good, the hotel is too expensive for me. So, if someone raves about the food at their hotel, beware! It may be worth it, but be prepared to pay, pay, pay!!!

So, perhaps none of these are outright lies. Maybe they are just exaggerations, based on their view of the world. So, find someone with similar view of the world!!!


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