It's the one time when we decide to take a few more risks. But there are some simple ways we're idiots. Adam Ogle of news.com.au has been guilty of most of them.

When it comes to travelling, we tend to take a few more risks.

But here are some things you probably shouldn't do when you're travelling. Ones that I've definitely done, and shouldn't have done.

Get in a car with a stranger

Never get in a vehicle with a stranger isn't even exclusive to travelling, this is just plain common sense isn't it?

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You'd think so, but sometimes you can be naive and be lured in to a situation, especially if you're a first time traveller and a basic English male (some would argue still is) easily won over by the chance of a kick around.

Back in 2010 I visited South Africa for the World Cup, it was the first stop on my travelling adventure that has resulted in me living in the far away land of Australia, which is in fact a real place.

The Rainbow Nation boasts scenic drives, breathtaking coastlines and is home to the Big Five. While it is stunning country full of wonderful people, it's also no secret that it's gulf between rich and poor and ongoing internal problems contribute to a high crime rate making it not always the safest place to travel.

So when the man selling mobile phones in the local shopping centre offered us to get in his battered 1994 Vauxhall Corsa for a game of football on day two of your travels, we probably should have declined and not jumped in with our new friend from the Ivory Coast, Solomon.

It actually turned out to be a good choice.


We picked up his friend Ezy E (the name he gave us) who looked surprisingly well considering his death in 1995, before heading to a field to play the single most international game of football possible. We had people from every corner of the globe and the beautiful game was as universal as it should be.

We talk about danger yet this turned out to be the friendliest possible setting and a perfect byword to the World Cup.

Idiot Scale: 6, I went with my gut, got it right and I'd do it again.

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You might want to wear a helmet in the traffic of the Medina, Marrakech. Photo / Valery Sharifulin, Getty
You might want to wear a helmet in the traffic of the Medina, Marrakech. Photo / Valery Sharifulin, Getty

Ride a motorbike without a helmet

The world won't end if you don't ride a scooter when in Asia. Trust me on this, there's no-one at customs checking your bike history or interrogating you on your scooter taxi record, you'll be fine.

It's not the scooters that are the scourges though is it? They're a great way to get around crazy busy Mega-Cities, less developed beach towns or rural villages. It's us morons on them that's the issue.

Just because we're travellers though, we're not indestructible.

That may sound bloody obvious but their seems to be a strange careless approach by travellers that are used to safer, more nanny-state environments.

It's a whiff of first world immunity, almost an arrogant sense of invulnerability.

Whatever it is, it's unfortunately a naive misconception and I'm guilty of it too.

After spending three weeks in Ubud and getting a scooter (safely) every day, I fell into this black hole of ignorance and without real reason.

It seemed a valid reason but on reflection, it really was a first-world.

I'd had a pretty hard day, I'd enjoyed a Balinese massage, hopped on a scooter to the gym before scoffing my now regular extra spicy gado-gado from my also now regular haunt, Munchies Warung.

Following that I sauntered back to the hostel without a care in the world, I Skyped my girlfriend before doing a maximum three lengths in the 12m pool, this was clearly a heavy load exercise day.

You're no fool, you can now see that this had been a flat chat busy day and as it often does in that situation, time had escaped me and left me in a rush for the main event that evening, the Manchester United vs Liverpool game.

The bar showing it, The Melting Pot is on the other side of Ubud, a 10 minute scooter ride away.

It's now raining (Bali raining, not a March drizzle) heavily and despite usually batting off 'taxi taxi' calls by the minute, I somehow couldn't find a ride to save my life.

That was until one burly, cigarette smoking character approached me for the lift I so desperately needed. I asked for a helmet, he looked at me like I had two heads so I jumped on regardless.

I had looked at the driver and underestimated him, because from minute one he turned into Valentino Rossi on the wet tyres at Phillip Island.

There's many issues with that but a few of them would be traffic, pedestrians, he didn't have wet tyres and he isn't Valentino Rossi.

My point here? I'm an idiot and anyone that does the same thing is an idiot.

Running late for the footy wasn't a risk to my life, not then, not ever. Jumping on that bike with no helmet in the rain was, massively. I wouldn't do that over the Westgate Bridge or down George Street would I? No, which compounds the idiocy further.

I don't know what it is, but it is this fact seems to ironically outfox even the smartest cookies.

In summary, if you, or every single person you've ever seen on a motorbike in your country wears a helmet, then it's probably with good reason, it's because it saves your bounce from serious, sometimes fatal injury.

Come on, don't be a me.

La Paz in Bolivia isn't probably the best place to walk home alone after a few drinks. Photo / Getty
La Paz in Bolivia isn't probably the best place to walk home alone after a few drinks. Photo / Getty

Walk home in a dangerous city

Another obvious one, even in your hometown but the reasons these tips and life lessons are amplified and exaggerated when overseas are simple, we don't know the area, language or local customs.

We are out of our comfort zone (or should be) playing in someone else's playground and we should remember that.

Alcohol is a funny old thing, it can give you the confidence to get up at karaoke, talk to the girl who is out of your league but also to just get on with things and crack on with an air of invincibility no matter where you are — thus ignoring the aforementioned playground rule.

It's never ideal when you've woke up on the top bunk trying to piece together your night. You thank your lucky stars that you got home safely, especially when you don't know how you got home.

Those stars are thanked a thousand times over when not only do you remember you're in La Paz (pretty sketchy) but when you remember your night out was a last minute decision and you look in the mirror to realise you are covered in blue paint. Yes, this was a last-ditch effort to join in the fancy dress fun with the partygoers. I never thought I'd have to dress as a Smurf to fit in ….

Nothing says take advantage of me I'm a drunken vulnerable idiot traveller than walking home alone and drunk dressed as Papa Smurf.

Throw in the police in Pretoria (South Africa again) telling us we shouldn't feel safe while walking home with our two-foot pizza and you realise that things can really turn out a lot worse.

I've come to realise that when you've had seven beers and three tequilas, you're a long way from invincible. Spend the dough on the taxi or make sure you go home with mates.

In hindsight, some of these are funny to look back on, some of them life lessons but some, arguably all, were in fact silly decisions and I can count myself very lucky.

I'd have only needed one of these to go a bit wrong for things to have turned out very differently.

It may seem like boring advice but sometimes boring is better, it's not always more fun or thrilling to go the other way.

There's no increase in exhilaration by not wearing a helmet, just an increase in risk, stupidity and ignorance.

Do, see, taste, play, find, watch, listen, swim, jump, fall, fly and love, but look after the most important part of it all, you.

Adam Ogle is the co-founder of Welcome to Travel: Melbourne