Whenever the phrase, ‘Seven Deadly Sins’, is mentioned, the first tings that comes to mind are the proverbial Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins universally accepted, at least by Christians, as wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.
Actually, at the turn of the 14th century, these 7 sins became so popular that Europe was eating, sleeping and dreaming them so much so they became entrenched in people’s daily lives.
The Catholic Church even had a mnemonic to help people remember them – SALIGIA – which was derived from the first letters in Latin of the 7 sins: superbia, avaritia, luxuria, invidia, gula, ira, acedia.
But this is where we depart from this historical account of sin and take a different turn to look at an equally important set of sins that tend to show up among unwary travellers – we shall call them the ‘Seven Deadly Travel Sins’.
1. Keeping Loved Ones in the Dark
Letting people know where you are does not cost much but not doing so may come at a very high price. When you travel somewhere or you are on holiday and decide to get a taste of a city’s nightlife, is there a person you are accountable to who knows your whereabouts?
Just giving out your location and the time you expect to be back might sound like nothing much but it may be the difference between life and death.
2. Showcasing too Much Bling
The scene of a traveller seated somewhere in a visibly public place tapping away on Google Maps from their latest iPhone while downloading shots of their recent Maasai Mara trip from their Sony alpha series DSLR camera and catching the latest tunes from iTunes on their iPod, is a classical give-away.
One would then wonder why such people get so shocked when they fall prey to snatchers. I am not saying you should not carry such stuff, but a little discreteness might just reduce your chances of being an obvious target of muggers.
3. Doing Poor Research
I am not blowing my own trumpet here but honestly, this is where websites such as Enchanted Landscapes and other great travel web resources come in handy. Poor research leads to poor judgement.
Where are the ATM machines located? Which ones accept VISA cards? Where is your embassy? What is their number? Believe you me, you save yourself a lot of hassle if you come equipped with this kind of information.
4. Wandering alone at Odd Hours of the Night
Kenya is increasingly becoming a safe place, especially at night with well-lit streets but like all other metropolitan cities, it has its own share of woes and there is always unexpected evil lurking in the dark. Foreigners are at an even higher risk because it’s easier to spot them from their mannerism.
I would suggest you avoid or minimize walking at night especially in places where you are not too sure of. Advice from locals here is priceless and should be taken seriously.
5. Being too Stingy
There are travellers who seem like they were on a mission of wrecking local economies. They would haggle down prices for anything and always grab an opportunity for freebies.
Once more, am not saying this is bad, in fact I consider this good practice elsewhere, but you have to know your limits. What’s the point of buying a piece of curio at the famous Maasai market and leaving the seller barely covering their costs? Where’s that spirit and desire to promote local enterprises?
6. Being Quick to Anger
Plan to run into complications and inconveniences such as a delay in your flight, a power blackout in your room or poor mobile network connection and you will do well. If you learn to appreciate that setbacks are part of any travel experience then surely your safaris will be the more exciting.
7. Suffering from Experiential Gluttony
Let us say you are on holiday in Kenya under one of those marathon safari packages. You have a short time to take in the Kenyan experience – it’s foods, people, music, art, name them. In your quest to get a touch of everything, you may end up with a blotted brain and very few memories.
Try to maintain your cool, see what is possible within the short time you have and plan what will have to be experienced by a return trip – it will save you a lot of impulse buying, indigestion and surcharges at the airport for excess baggage.
If you manage to stay away from these 7 deadly travel sins, you will be a much happier traveller.