Be an inconsiderate tourist
Act entitled, speak loudly, and float through your surroundings oblivious to those around you. I often speak to people who had poor traveling experiences simply because they never took the time to understand and assimilate to the culture. I make it a game to try and observe as many unspoken social niceties as possible. Do the locals always greet the shopkeepers? Then you should too. Learn a few words in the local language, and employ them whenever possible. At the least you will get better service, but you could also end up making a new friend.
Take pictures constantly
I usually have a camera in one hand and an iPhone in the other when I travel. ‘Cause if it’s pretty enough to photograph it’s pretty enough to Instagram, right? Wrong. Pictures are a great way to memorialize your trip, but living through the lens of your camera means missing out on those spontaneous breath-taking moments that make travel so worthwhile. A camera can’t do those moments justice anyways, so better to put the camera down and enjoy the real deal while it’s in front of you.
Eat at restaurants filled with other tourists
Obviously there are exceptions - there are times when the restaurant you eat in doesn't matter so much as the company. But for those other times, when the food does take precedence, choosing a touristy restaurant will fill you with double regret: you will overpay for your meal and the food will be subpar. Restaurants within spitting distance of major tourist attractions bank on roping in ravenous tourists who have no clue where you can really find the best croissants in town. A good rule of thumb: if the restaurant is filled with tourists, skip it. Instead, ask a local for a recommendation and get off the beaten path. Not only will you get a better deal, you will eat better food in a more authentic environment. Triple win!
Stay in your comfort zone
The best way to ensure you do nothing worth reporting home is to follow the herd, stick to the familiar, and write, “leave me alone” on your forehead. All of my best travel stories start with an experience that made me feel profoundly uncomfortable. Breaking out of your comfort zone is never fun or easy at first, but it does yield incredible results. Amazing things can happen when you proactively ditch your personal comfort bubble and open yourself up to new experiences and people.
Inflexibility is the biggest fun-killer of them all. Traveling rarely goes as planned. Luggage gets lost, planes get delayed, museums are closed – you name it, it can happen. Hold your itinerary loosely and force yourself to see setbacks as adventures instead. You never know when one derailed plan can lead to something better than you imagined.