Worst Travel Advice: Don’t Drink the Water

You probably noticed this recent trend: You find travel advice everywhere these days.

Why that is the case is somewhat of a mystery.

But one fact is also obvious. A lot of the advice is not good….to say the least.

Warning: Here we’re going to look at the worst.

Worst travel advice, that is.

Don’t get us wrong here, however.

Sure, there are a lot of useful travel suggestions. And you read about them here (or so we think).

But on the other hand… …A lot of the advice given out is bad.

Or outdated.

Or the opposite of the reality.

Or useless when it comes to your own particular situation.

Why take bad advice?

So why should you read this?

Hopefully, to avoid some advice you are getting, of course.

But also to take a look at what we see as reality.

One reason these travel tips keep coming up is because increasing numbers of Americans are traveling worldwide.

And perhaps the tip they most often hear: don’t drink the water. At least in certain countries (Mexico prominently among them).

“Don’t waste your money on bottled water! I just drank the tap water and I feel fine,” brags one traveler, reported a web site. He was not seen again for three days but when sighted was 10 pounds lighter.

Your own interest these days is probably not as much in Mexico as it is in Orlando. But what if we identify the worst, very worst, travel advice….

…And turn it around to make it useful? So that it turns out to be a positive?

Actually, identifying the worst is a tough feat in itself.

Looking out for the worst. Because there is so much of it.

Bad advice goes on and on

For example, in foreign travel, the stereotype is that all French people are rude. The British are always polite.

No way.

But at least one stereotype common too many foreign countries should be our No. 1 bit of worst advice. That is particularly the case with theme park-goers (Disney as well as others).

It generally does like this: Don’t eat the food sold on the street.

The reality: what about Dole Whips and Turkey Legs? Sure, some may have been sick from them but not many…or at least we haven’t heard from them.

And these two are among the most popular at Walt Disney World Resort.

One estimate is that it sells almost two million turkey legs a year. Turkey legs might go back to the time of Henry VIII, the plump 16th century British King who is often portrayed in paintings as gobbling a good-looking leg down. Historians tell us turkey legs were around at the time.

And generally regarded as feast ingredients (domestic turkeys were kept by kingly courts at the time).

Sometime later, they became common as street food (and still are at county fairs everywhere).

They made their first appearance in Orlando at Disney’s Main Street in 1986.

History of the Dole Whip

It comes from Hawaii’s Dole Company, which has long been a familiar sponsor of various Disney attractions such as the Enchanted Tiki Room. It was an immediate hit and has continued its high popularity throughout Disney’s history.

When we last checked…because this changes sometimes…you can find the Dole Whip Float, Dole Whip Cup and Dole Whip Twist Cup behind The Magic Carpets of Aladdin attraction.

Other Disney food that can be bought at various places and easily eaten or qualify as street food includes the egg rolls at Adventureland and cheeseburger spring rolls.

And the fried-dough pastries dusted in cinnamon and sugar known as churros from Frontierland.

Or popcorn in a Souvenir Bucket from Fantasyland.

Hot dogs from Main Street.

Street food found everywhere at Disney

There’s also the Mickey Ice Cream Bar, high in popularity.

And Zebra Domes found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge at Boma or The Mara (if you don’t know it, it is Amarula Cream Liquor mousse in white chocolate atop a thin cake base).

And Carrot Cake Cookies found at the Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

More bad advice

You have to go to Italy to get the best pizza in the world. More food advice.

But this makes sense if you consider that Italy is where pizza generally started.

The word pizza was first documented in 997 in Gaeta, Italy. Foods similar to pizza have been made since the neolithic age.

Records of people adding other ingredients to bread to make it more flavorful can be found throughout ancient history.

In 16th century Naples, a flatbread (another pizza-like product) was referred to as a pizza.

Pizza seems to have first appeared in the US with the arrival of Italian immigrants in the late 19th century.

Reality: So there are all kinds of reasons to give Italy credit for discovering the pizza but when you look at the best, has anyone there been to Epcot?

Most diners would rate the pies at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion as possibly the best found anywhere, even in Rome.


Authentic ingredients right down to the flour, tomatoes and even the water. New York style. Gold standard.

But the vast majority of the pizzas among the restaurants (not all serve pizza) are generally good.

Even the breakfast pizzas found with ham and eggs at the breakfast buffet at Trail’s End, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Also has healthy vegetables.

The crystal palace and chef mickeys also has breakfast pizzas. So does the Pop Food Court at the Pop Century Resort.

More bad advice

Be spontaneous about where you spend the night, either at a hotel or elsewhere.

Reality: If you chose to do this during particularly busy times, such as the recent holiday season, you might find there are few if any choices of where to stay.

Usually, the lower priced options are generally filled first. So what remains are sometimes not good options or luxury choices.

If you can afford luxury, no problem. You should be able to find somewhere.

But if like most visitors, money is important, you need to look ahead to make an intelligent choice based not just on price but proximity to the attractions and other considerations based on your own visitor needs. Booking in advance usually means better deals and a more likely a good night’s sleep (to properly prepare you for the fun ahead).

Still more bad advice

Don’t plan anything. Just show up.

Reality: This is not that unusual but not recommended for anyone, even a single traveler visiting on an overnight whim that suggests a spur-of-the-moment decision.

This is particularly true when it comes to theme parks for a lot of reasons but a major one may be deciding just what you want do to while here.

This is not like a trip to the beach, where the main and often the single best attraction is the sandy shore and the water itself.

Theme parks and other attractions in the Orlando area offer a lot of choices not only on where to stay overnight but about activities.

The very best example of that is to decide what parks and what rides are priorities.

Unless you are spending a lot of time here, such as a month or so, there are a lot of choices for what exactly to do. But most people agree some type of simple plan or priority list is highly recommended.

Planning is always a key to travel success

More advice, it never ends

Book a last minute flight to get here. It’s cheaper and just as convenient. Reality: They must be kidding on this one.

Statistically speaking, your odds of getting a seat at a reasonable price are far better booked weeks ahead.

For shorter term flights (not overseas), studies show the best times are four to five weeks prior to leaving. You don’t need a guide book to help. All you need is to look at the internet for information.

Still more words to NOT live by

Facebook and Twitter tell you all you need to know.

Reality: The Internet works well when it comes to travel and carrying a book around can be somewhat of a nuisance. This assumes you just read visitor comments and other Internet information and stumble your way through Orlando.

But no one can remember everything and having printed copies of things to remember or tips to make your visit more comfortable are welcome additions.

So we suggest you don’t necessarily ditch all those guide books. Add them to your list to provide more information.

But don’t neglect the Internet either.

Increasingly, it is becoming the primary source of travel information. Some suggestions are just silly

Treat yourself. Don’t worry about money. You’re on vacation.

Reality: This is just plain silly. Why should you throw out all semblance of your rational mind to do something you would not consider any other time than a vacation?

If you are using credit cards, as most of us do, you will be reminded later with the cost.

And it will not be happy news.

So this is clearly something you don’t need to accept.

More silliness

If you are patient, you can get cheap or reduced price tickets at theme parks during special offerings. Parks regularly make special offers. Reality: Once upon a time, but not in this galaxy…or any other we know.

That did happen in the past in the very early days of theme parks, but today it’s far-fetched.

And rare.

The parks do offer discounts on package deals, however.

Wow…our bad advice just keeps coming

Travel while you are young when you are still free from more family type obligations. Or travel in old age when you have more money.

Reality: Both notions are false for most of us. When you travel, you do leave your comfort zone.

Know that you can break away and travel — at any age.

Sure, you might have more freedom when younger and more money to buy Mickey Mouse t-shirts when older. But travel works well at any age. If that’s a priority for you, you can make it happen.

This is really a common one best ignored

Travel before you have kids.

Reality: More silliness when it comes to theme parks. A lot of us probably did more traveling before families, children, etc.

But you can have just as much enjoyment seeing the awed look on your children’s faces as you did when you were a ride-goer yourself.

Theme parks are particularly good for families with children because they have activities for all ages. And the parks are good for people without children because they cater to all ages.

More, more and still more

Try to see as much as possible. Don’t rest until you have seen it all. Reality: Also bad advice.

Don’t exhaust yourself or your family.

Less is more.

Take a more relaxed attitude.

You will find this makes you and others with you the hippest and the happiest.

You have undoubtedly heard this one

Take a lot of clothes and other stuff. You don’t want to do laundry while there.

Reality: Why not do laundry during a vacation if it is necessary? You can’t spend all your time at theme parks, after all.

There are always washing facilities nearby.

You can never take everything you really need, anyway. That requires heavier bags to lug around, an uncomfortable situation on planes, trains, buses or any other travel situation.

Where to sleep is not always welcome news, either

A good way to save money is to book a room far from your vacation activities.

Reality: This is often though not always a myth.

You can get cheaper accommodations by staying far from Orlando’s south area of attractions. But when you factor in added commuting time on the road, it often is not that much of a bargain.

Wasted vacation time is usually more expensive than you think.

Instead, consider looking at motel options such as vacation homes, accommodation sharing sites, etc.

Flying low describes this one

Book the cheapest flights. It’s an easy way to save money.

Reality: That is partly true and OK if you don’t mind inconvenience.

If you can find those flights, they often involve difficult times such as red-eye flights.

They also might mean an extra flight stop, perhaps a several-hours-long layover in another city, and possibly arriving at awkward times.

Longer security and other lines may also be part of the trip.

But it is often a real option…if you choose it

You have heard this for sure

Visit during off-peak times when attractions are less crowded like when school is out.

Reality: Wait a minute. How did this get in here?

Remember what Yogi Berra said: “It’s too crowded. No one goes there anymore.” Hardly.

Avoiding lines is actually good advice, if you can do it.

Visiting popular attractions in areas such as Orlando during down times is fine for singles and couples without children.

But families with children are or should be reluctant to take the kids out of school during less busy times at areas such as Disney and Universal. Or at least that is our opinion shared by many others.

So in a way, this is actually not a good idea, according to most standards.

What visitors have found is that crowds can be coped with during busy times….if you know how to do it.

This is partly the case by seeking advice from sources such as this one. So keep reading if you want to learn to cope. And keep looking for good advice. ###