5 Things You Can't Say on Vacation

By Rachael Funk

Have you ever been on a trip with a frustrating travel companion? No matter how capturing the sights, how intriguing the cuisine, or how dazzling the festival, they can always find something to pull you out of the moment and make you feel weird for dropping your inhibitions to enjoy the experience.

If you’re looking forward to a big trip but worry your travel partner might be a bummer, send em this list of things you can’t say on vacation. At the very least, it’ll give you license to start a “Things Not to Say” jar (a la the ever-popular Swear Jar) and you can start building funds for the next trip - maybe this time with a less reluctant bud.


Boooo! “Ew” is an awful thing to say whether you’re traveling or at home. You made an investment to broaden your horizons and shake up your dismal day-to-day! Be open to new experiences, food, and cultures. Everything can’t be pleasing to everyone, so when you come across something you find TRULY abhorrent, “no thanks” or silence are two great options instead. “Ew” comes from a place of judgment and is abrasive to the people who DO appreciate whatever it is you don’t like. Recognizing and accepting that something isn’t for you can be done without fanfare or dramatics.

“Lemme check Facebook real quick”

Here’s the thing about traveling: you’re supposed to live in the moment, take in every detail you possibly can, and be swept away by the magnificence of the new culture surrounding you. It’s going to be really hard to do any of that if you’re trying to keep up with your secret group’s conversation thread or checking your apps for likes and comments every 30 minutes. You don’t need your friends to affirm how great your trip is while you’re still on it. If you’re having a great trip, you’ll know. Once you’re back to your hotel room (or, even better - back home after the entire trip), go wild with the posting! Everyone will still be interested in your experiences, even if it is a #latergram.

“I’d rather sleep in”

Jet lag is cruel and unrelenting. Hiking ruins and being out in the sun all day is exhausting. Hitting the city to check out the nightlife is practically mandatory, but it eats up a significant number of sleep hours. Though it might be tempting to sleep until noon, don’t give in to the impulse to sleep away your entire trip. If you miss out on too many things you were looking forward to before you got there, chances are really good you’ll regret it when you get home. You know who comes home from a trip saying, “well, I didn’t see Tuscany at all, but it’s ok - I was sleeping?” Nobody, that’s who.

“How many calories does this have?”

Zero. The answer is zero calories. The beauty of travel is that calories don’t count.

“Do you speak English?”

C’monnnnnn. Dude. If you’re visiting a foreign country in which the majority of the population speak a different language than you, don’t put the onus on them to make this conversation a success! If you’re the one with questions, you need to be the one making more of an effort. There are tons of translation books, websites, and even phone apps to help you out with language barriers all over the world. Pluck up your courage, get over your insecurity, and give it the ol’ college try. At the very least, many people will look upon you more kindly for trying.

Think about how you feel when you encounter people at home who don’t speak English. Are you more likely to help someone trying their best to speak the language, or the person who runs up to you, babbling in a tongue you can’t place? They’re going to react about the same way you would, so put your best foot forward and learn a few phrases!

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