What a load of horse manure – I’m from the midwest so I can say that!

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The Sidney morning Herald The Sydney Morning Herald recently had an article that said “Ten unwritten rules of travel“. Now I am normally not one to critique another travel writer but I had to this time. I encourage you to read it before you see my thoughts on the piece.

Now let’s break it down.

1) Always pack thongs. – No not those, the foot kind. Really? I would trade a good pair of sneakers any day no matter where I am on the planet!

Strike one

2) Smile. Always smile. – Sure. Be nice. But really, what kind of advice is this? We should all do this anyway!

Foul ball at best

3) There is no secret to getting an upgrade. Other than “being able to afford it”. – This is the dumbest advice I have ever read. From using points to upgrade, to a bump and asking for an upgrade on the next flight, to earring status to upgrade to other ways (ask me at the Chicago DO) that can earn you upgrades; there are so many ways to get a free upgrade!

Strike two

4) Don’t treat locals like wildlife. The world is not your gallery. – Have you ever not found someone willing to cheese or help you with a photo. This is a travel rule?

Strike three

5) Buy music. Local music. – Uh, YouTube. Amazon.com? Plus I get points this way buying the music. 🙂 To be honest I have done this a few times but still….

Strike four

6) Don’t recline your seat during meal times. – Humm… This one is hard. I have issues with seat recline as readers well know. But as long as you recline slow all is good!

Ball, maybe. Single maybe.

7) Take a set of decent clothes. – unwritten rules of travel – really? Packing clothes is a unwritten rule of travel. I am so happy to learn this. I planned to travel in shorts and foot thongs to Alaska in winter. This saved me!

Swing and a miss – Strike five if you are keeping track

8 ) Don’t bang on about how great Australia is. – Let’s change this to an American perspective. This one works. Not a home run, but works. We all tend to be somewhat homeland oriented (see yesterdays post for example)!

A solid double.

9) Buy things on the road. Don’t pack them. – Oh, this makes me nuts. And if we read my readers’ “Top Tips” they agree this is just pure bunk. We need to pack and bring things important to us. From medications to contact solution to you name it. You bring it as I doubt you can find what you want where you are going!

Another swing and a MISS. Strike six!

10) More expensive doesn’t equal more enjoyable. – We end as we started!

Another SWING and a miss!

Now we who love points know we do not PAY for 5 star vacations, we spend points, use status to get upgrades, and enjoy the most expensive trips for free! Next time you read something in a paper or magazine from a travel professional, think before you act on the advice! – Rene


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  1. No offense, but the Sydney Morning Herald is an Australian publication, for Australian readers… maybe you should see how important thongs are to Australians first, eh?

  2. It’s the Sidney morning Herald…..everything there is upside down.

    G’Day mate!

  3. Rene, i agree with all your statements but i do agree with the “tong” part with the other guy. When im out and about (except for beach), i wear sneakers. However, i always pack a sandal/flipflop because when im indoors at my hotel i never walk around barefoot. Its very dirty. Also when i take showers, i always wear them. Again , its dirty.

  4. All in good fun…

    Your objection to seat recline during meals is interesting. This seems to be common no-no, and even the FAs will ask passengers to not recline during meals. In most econ, you physically can’t get the food into your mouth in a straight line if the seat is reclined.

  5. ‘there are so many ways to get a free upgrade!’ Really?? I am Delta Gold this year and have not been upgraded once. Largely fly MSP–SNA and MSP__RSW but other then your trick about being bumped and asking for upgrade I am ignorant . Neither Delta or United gives me anything. No status at UA. While you may share these other ways to get upgraded at the DO how about blogging about it to. Thanks

  6. @Rene I enjoy your posts generally but in this post is like trying to hit a home run and striking out in three pitches. I probably don’t agree with some of his advise but some of his points absolutely hit his target readers which is quite different from yours.

  7. Any travel writer who can’t spell the name of the major world city in question isn’t much of a travel writer

  8. I agree with Mike, but only about the thongs (they’re flip-flops here in the south!). I visited Sydney with the intent to stay for 2 weeks – but I was still there 9 months later! I stayed at a new hostel in the CBD, but had to have my flip-flops, especially in the shower. I tossed them before I left, but did I need to BRING them? Nope. There was a Woolworth’s right around the corner.

  9. Disagree with you on some of these: flip-flops are important and handy for hotels as mentioned, and yes you can get most things in many places – as my wife has found out. Now she packs lighter than me and enjoys finding new products. Of course, your contact stuff, medications etc. are not the same thing. I also think you are way off with the recline thing – it is just bad etiquette to do that when someone is eating – please wait until everyone is relaxing!

  10. @Stephan – I have had real issues with seat recline as readers have seen in the past. My broken laptop screen is proof of that. So, as I said, is see both sides.

  11. I have to say it look like you were reaching for a post. Some of those points are good – and they are meant for the Australian traveler. So you know how easy it is to get upgrades for an Australian traveler? No! Those packing rules? Did you know that Pacific airlines are very limiting on the luggage you can bring (like 15lb carry-ons – only ONE piece)? The packing of clothes? How about something decent pertaining to an unexpected dinner event or something more business casual than just shorts? Picture taking? There are many places in the world where locals take offense at you taking their picture – that is why he said to ask. The expensive part? You don’t pay for your most luxurious vacations, so that means it is not expensive for you, right? I won’t take time out for the rest, but you definitely struck out in your analysis of the piece. This was written in a foreign paper for their people – some things are going to be different. You don’t have to bash some guy’s opinions on travel, especially when you missed the boat on his points.

  12. @Carl – I think I caught the boat quite well. There are many from down under who understand the value of points and how to get great upgrades for free. But you are welcome to your own opinion.

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