Repeat Traveller

The travel advice no one should have to give

Travel is a wondrous thing. Whether at home or abroad, it’s a chance to get outside of your comfort zone, broaden your horizons, and perhaps snap a few nice photos. One downside, though, is it brings you in contact with the world’s most hated accessory – the selfie stick.

Sure they are convenient in many ways, but they’re also annoying. Being over six-foot-tall, my face is often right in the selfie stick danger zone. I can’t count the number of near-misses I’ve had from people having no understanding of where their errant stick is waving. Short of donning a fencing mask whenever I travel to certain places, all I can do is duck and weave.

According to a recent survey by Southern Cross Travel Insurance, these infernal devices are also responsible for a growing number of travel mishaps. 18 per cent of respondents had lost something valuable or broken their phone while taking selfies, while 17 per cent had offended locals and been caught doing something they shouldn’t have.

Despite the upward trajectory of selfie related injuries (and even deaths), it’s unlikely that selfie sticks are going to go anywhere, so it might be time we all set a few ground rules.

1. Consider other travellers
The desire to get the perfect shot can be strong at times (we’ve all been there) but there’s no excuse for being so caught up in a photo that you forget all about the people around you. Look where you’re going and don’t whirl around with a stick extended without checking.

2. Stay aware of wild animals
Avoid getting up close and personal with wild animals if there’s a chance they could turn vicious, no matter how cute they are. Quokkas are an exception to the rule. If you’ve ever been to the Monkey Temple in Bali, you’ll know those cheeky creatures love nothing more than to grab your personal belongings and run into the trees when you’re not looking.

3. Don’t take selfies while driving
Using your phone while driving is dangerous (and illegal), especially if you’re taking a photo via a long stick! Not only is it a risk to your own safety, but also to the safety of others. No matter how good your hair looks in that rear vision mirror today, you should really just focus on the road.

4. Watch your wallet
Though it can be challenging to fit more of the skyline into your background at times, it’s still important to stay aware of your personal items and never leave them unattended. Pickpockets and thieves can spot a selfie stick a mile away, making you easy prey.

5. Read the signs (and keep cultural sensitivity in mind)
Destinations and attractions often have specific rules around behaviour and photography etiquette. In some locations such as Disneyland and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, selfie sticks are banned entirely. It’s better to avoid offending the residents by reading up on the local etiquette and respecting the rules if photography if selfie sticks are prohibited.

If you’re got any other tips, add them in the comments below. 

Chris Ashton

We’re Chris Ashton and Simon Ceglinski, two Aussie travellers with a love of exploration and adventure, and the odd bit of luxury thrown in. We seek out street art, street food, and scuba diving wherever we go, and prefer the road less travelled over well-worn tourist paths.

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