Traveler’s honor code, or lack thereof

There really should be a traveler’s honor code. Print it on the back of everyone’s plane ticket: don’t be a jerk. I hate that people need to be reminded of this. I know we’re all living a transient communal lifestyle, so it is easy to minorly screw each other over without repercussions. Yes, you probably can steal my food and get away with it. But come on. Be better than that.

There has been petty theft everywhere I have stayed. Communal fridges are the worst. In Merida, my cookies and beautiful leftover pollo pibil were both taken. In Villadolid, tortillas, cheese, and vegetables went missing. In Tulum, beer disappeared from the fridge on a regular basis despite the bar twenty feet away. I have yet to store food and not have some of it stolen, usually in a matter of hours. Seriously people. I know you’re not starving or actually that desperate. You seem able enough to buy cigarettes, unless those are stolen too. Grow up and buy your own damn food!

Beyond this, I wish more respect was shown in general. Be considerate and kind. Take care of your things; don’t leave them strewn all over a room you share with other people. If you have a ridiculously loud and frequent nighttime cough, maybe take some medicine or stop chain smoking for a day. (Not just for my sake, but for your own!) Do your dishes. Put away your garbage. These are simple things, and the majority of people do them. But there are also enough who don’t to make it a problem with the hostel culture.

5 thoughts on “Traveler’s honor code, or lack thereof

  1. Sigh- annoying to say the least. Not related to the link but you got me thinking about our trip to the Yucatan last spring…cabanas and kayaking at Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. Remote…but no theft…but beaches with washed up trash once you are out of the resort areas…otherwise gorgeous….and Coba- less touristy than Chitchen Itza..and the Maya Beach Garden hotel on the Playa Maya. We had a beautiful room within the main house. Certainly more $$ than hostels though…


  2. @mom This made me laugh so hard as it is true. It also makes perfect sense; many of the travelers around me are in fact still teenagers!

    @jill I just barely entered into Sian Ka'an and had the same impression: it was lovely and deserted, but the sand was FILLED with small bits of trash. Unfortunately didn't make it to Coba… another trip perhaps, and I am certainly getting in my fair share of ruins.

    As a corollary story to my original post, on a recent ten-hour bus ride I coughed twice and a Mexican abuela reached across the aisle to hand me five miniature lemon-licorice-menthol gum drops. They soothed my throat, made things better for everyone, and I was thankful for the gesture. Maybe I can help others like she helped me. Need to get my hands of some and start passing them out at the hostels!


  3. it's not just hostels, sadly. a really close friend of mine here at penn just had his laptop stolen from his fancy accommodations in krabi, thailand. large chunks of his dissertation — poof. it's so sad/infuriating.


  4. This is like that scene in Mad Men where they dump their picnic scraps on the grass and jump in the car. I hope we continue to see improvements in our lifetime with how people treat the Earth and each other. -Maggie


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