We’ve all heard it a million times: don’t drink too much when you’re traveling. It’s dangerous. However, that “danger” is so amorphous and non-specific, it’s hard to determine what the warnings really mean. Here are ten dumb things you’re likely to do if you drink and travel. You can take this as a warning, or, if you happen to be drunk and traveling right now … as a checklist.
Don’t ask me how I know these things.
1. Not remember anything.
Whoops. Isn’t the whole point of traveling to experience things and make memories? If you had an amazing travel experience but you were so drunk you can’t remember it very well, it practically didn’t happen. When someone asks if you had a good time on your trip to Cabo and you say “I think so …” … you have failed.
2. Drunk dial or text — for quite a hefty roaming price.
Telephone calls can be a dollar, two dollars or more per minute from foreign locations. Text messages: also spendy. Drunk dialing is all fun and games when it’s included in your plan, but that twenty minute message you leave before falling asleep on the phone while traveling in Bora Bora can cost darn near as much as your flight. Be careful.3. Get on the wrong train/boat/bus.
I get on the wrong train sober all the time. Transportation stations are confusing! There are often signs for several destinations on the same platform, and when you’re out of your element, you don’t necessarily know where to look for information or which train is the right one. When you’re drunk, you’re also more likely to just “take an educated guess,” which can take you ten or more miles in the wrong direction. If you’re trying to get to the airport, this mistake could make you …
4. Miss your flight.
Not only do the flight attendants not have to let you board if you’re under the influence, but there are a hundred things that could go wrong between the bar and the airport that would result in you missing your flight. Even drinking heavily at the airport is dangerous to your itinerary. Airports can be very complex buildings with poor signage. Don’t let rebooking fees happen to you.
5. Lose your wallet and/or passport.
Whether it’s because you got sloppy and let yourself get robbed (those robbers are looking for drunk tourists, you know) or you simply left your purse/wallet on the back of a toilet; losing your money and/or documents in a foreign country — or even in some dive bar in Austin — totally sucks. You almost never hear stories of “I lost my wallet in London” without alcohol being involved. There’s a reason for this. There’s also the danger of deciding to put your passport in a “really safe hiding place” late at night and then never finding it again. It’s a problem.
6. Send overly-emotional emails.
Travel can bring up a lot of big feelings about yourself or the people in your life. Drinking and emailing, as well as drinking and blogging, are
7. Pay too much.
It can happen even in your own town. You open up your wallet after a night out and — oh hey! — where did all your money go? This can be even more likely to happen in a foreign country for a number of reasons. The currency can be confusing or just plain not feel like real money to you, encouraging you to spend willy-nilly. Also, the thrill of being somewhere new can tempt you to buy drinks for entire groups of people you won’t ever see again (which is fine if you can afford it and not fine if you can’t) or do something ridiculous like get a tattoo in the middle of the night — and pay a lot of money for it.
8. Get a tattoo or other permanent bodily adornment.
There is nothing quite like having no idea why you have a an ugly unicorn with the name “Sean” under it tattooed on your right hip.
9. Get lost.
Getting lost is a natural part of travel, but if you’ve been drinking, it can be especially dangerous. Chances are, if you don’t know where you are, no one else does either, which means if you go missing, you’re more likely to never be found again. You can also walk into a rough part of town without realizing it — the impaired judgment won’t help you in any way. You might just be interested in the things you’re looking at and not even realize you’ve gotten yourself totally lost and that the only way home, if you can find one, is a pricey taxi. Try to stick to places you’ve already been sober.
10. Fall asleep somewhere inappropriate (above).
Jet lag + alcohol = sleep. It’s science.
[Photo by crossfirecw via Flickr.]