Things I wish I’d known before I started traveling

Taxi porter in China
Photo by Thomas Tribe
Chris Guillebeau writes for AC360 his short list of tips that he wished he knew before he started his routine of extensive routine of overseas travel. His is an interesting perspective. I listed my favourites with comments below.
7. Hire a taxi outside the airport, not from the guys who approach you inside as you’re walking out.
Even better, walk further outside the airport to where the taxis pull in, and you’ll get a better deal because the driver won’t have to pay the entrance fee.
Never accept a ride from a tout inside the airport. I have and though it worked out ok, it could have gone badly.
8. Never assume that your taxi driver knows where your destination is. Double-check and get him to ask someone before you go if there’s any doubt.
The Hong Kong Airport tourism desk provides a great service in writing down your destination address for the taxi driver and adding waypoints on the map for you. But not every taxi driver reads so it’s best to show the taxi porter and have her/him tell the taxi driver if possible.
18. The concept of personal space means very different things in different countries. You kind of have to get used to that.
I can accept it but I don’t think there will ever be a time when I am comfortable with the lack of personal space. In Taiwan that means not so much the fact that people are always around you, which they are, but that little imaginary protective bubble that people might observe in Canada doesn’t exist here or isn’t observed. That’s one explanation I use in trying to understand why people here always put my safety at risk when they drive.
24. Never make promises you don’t intend to keep. Don’t tell vendors you’ll buy from them tomorrow, don’t offer to help anyone visit your country, don’t say you’ll write to someone later if you won’t really do it, and so on.
I made this mistake and ended up having a vendor waiting outside my hotel the following morning when I said, ‘maybe tomorrow’.
25. Most important: don’t be a colonialist. Be careful about calling people “locals.” Don’t assume that your culture is superior. People are not stupid just because they don’t speak English or think like you do.
28 things I wish I’d known before I started traveling