7 Travel Rules You Should Definitely Ignore

01/04/2014 08:58 am ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

You don't have to listen to everything your mother tells you.

As millennials, we've decided that some travel rules are more than okay to ditch.

"Know before you go."
Detailing an itinerary before your trip is so last decade. The "must-sees" on travel sites or in guidebooks often turn out to be jam-packed with tourists, and they rob you of an opportunities to see through a local's eyes. Sketch a general outline of activities if you must, but stay open to scouting little-known gems once you're there and taking recommendations from people you meet.

"Take lots of pictures."
Instagram has shifted our mindset from "I'm going to take a picture, because I'm having so much fun" to "I'm going to take a picture, because my friends will think I had so much fun." A trip, of all places, is where you should practice living in the moment. Go without the camera.

"Don't talk to strangers."
While avoiding the obvious risks, try striking up a chat with any locals you come across. They've seen everything there is to see--so when they say they know of the best noodle house or cheapest ferry, you can bet they're right.

"Pack light."
Those who can fit four weeks of clothes into their carry-on deserve a trophy, it's true. But aside from being painfully heavy to drag through an airport, squashing all your stuff together in a duffel leaves no room for extra items (like the forgotten parka you'll have to buy at your destination) nor souvenirs (like the vase that'd be perfect for your kitchen, if only you had room to bring it back). Quite a few airlines will check your first bag for free... put your pride aside and take them up on it.

"Cross it off your bucket list."
The danger with bucket lists is they can make traveling seem like a chore. Go where you want when you want, and do what you want while you're there. Traveling is supposed to make you happy-- not proud that you checked off a list written decades ago.

"Bring a good beach read."
Society has officially moved past chick lit and into deeper intellectual realms. Use your lounge hours to dig into a meaty newspaper -- the Kindle edition won't blow around in the wind -- or listen to Podcasts on a topic you've always wondered about. If you manage to learn something during your downtime, you'll return home feeling pleasantly accomplished.

"Use the buddy system."
Ok yes, there are circumstances in which traveling with another person is crucial to safety. But the buddy system fails as an all-encompassing rule... sometimes, places are better experienced alone. The best travelers are those who know these places when they see one, then summon the courage to fly solo.

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