Black Belt World Taekwondo Review

Black Belt World Taekwondo Customer Review

Black Belt World Taekwondo in Somerville, New Jersey offers kids and adults taekwondo lessons. They have few black belt “masters” that handle the lessons.

Taekwondo and martial arts in general are fun for kids. They will love it the first few classes that they attend. But kids are kids. They usually loose their appetite and interest in these type of classes after some time.

Money is a big deal in this school. BEWARE of signing up for long term contracts or any contract or membership that black belt world offers. They really enforce this especially when your kid decided to quit. It would be a nightmare to cancel the contract with them. They will try to get as much dollars as they could before they get you off the hook. Yeah, thousand of dollars in taekwondo cancellation fee. READ CAREFULLY and understand the details before signing up and giving your precious financial information.

If you miss a payment, don’t be surprise if you get a letter from collection agency. They are very strict with this. You want to protect your credit so please pay on time.

The masters are nice in general. Most of the time they wear their happy faces. Communication skill is a bit of a problem. No native English speaker in their studio. Not a problem if you don’t talk much with the masters anyways.

The school space is good. Larger than most martial arts schools in New Jersey. Facility is clean which is a plus.

Verdict: It’s a decent school where your kid can learn basic taekwondo. The contract is a big NO though. Sign up at your own discretion.


School Information:

Address: 70 W Main St, Somerville, NJ 08876
Phone:(908) 393-6191
Hours: Mon- Saturday : 10:30AM–8:30PM




Best Food to Stay Fit

All about the WOD? Make sure you’re eating right—and not ruining your incredible workout progress.

When it comes to effective, efficient, calorie-torching, heart-pumping workouts, CrossFit tops our list for surefire paths to fitness prowess. And we’re not complaining about all the eye candy of chiseled abs we see at the gym, either. But a high-intensity gym regimen is only part of the equation when it comes to healthy, sustained weight loss and sculpting lean, toned muscle.

“Given the intensity of CrossFit workouts, an essential component of a good CrossFit diet is protein. Protein stabilizes blood sugar, provides energy and the fuel for workouts. CrossFitters should aim for approximately one gram of protein per kilogram of weight, so an average 130-pound woman should have at least 65 grams of protein while a 200-pound man should have about 100 grams of protein,” explains Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, MD, also known as “Dr.Taz,” a weight loss expert and author of What Doctors Eat and The 21-Day Belly Fix.

And beyond the protein rule, there are other important foods to load up on (and avoid!) when it comes to enhancing your CrossFit success. Read on for experts’ takes on the must-eat and must-avoid list for all you CrossFitters taking the nation by storm. CrossFit is often associated with Paleo; if you’re curious about that diet plan, check out Your Complete Plan to Go Paleo for a Day!

The Best Foods for CrossFitters

These foods get your body functioning in an optimal, supercharged state that will have you flippin’ tires in no time! Check ‘em out and then keep reading to see what to avoid.

1. Lentils

“CrossFitters need to keep their protein intake around 30 percent of their daily calories—and lentils add a whopping nine grams per half cup to your meal, with loads of fiber,” offers Cat Smiley, author of The Planet Friendly Diet and owner of Whistler Fitness Vacations weight loss retreat in B.C., Canada. Super versatile, try them in soups, chili recipes, and more.

2. Banana and Whey Protein Smoothie

“Post-workout, you need to fuel and optimize recovery by replenishing glycogen stores and protein for tissue repair. Your body craves both fast-absorbing carbohydrates, like those in fruits and berries, and protein that’s quick and easy to absorb like whey,” comments Lisa Hayim, registered dietitian and founder of The WellNecessities. Just make sure your whey protein powder is clean and not a laundry list of ingredients and additives. For some smoothie inspiration, check out the 23 Best Protein Shake Recipes for Weight Loss!

3. Coconut Oil

You might have splurged on a tub of the stuff for shinier hair and smoother skin, but slipping it into your diet is a CrossFitter’s definite must-do: “Coconut oil is an excellent fuel source for workouts. Although it’s a saturated fat, the medium-chain fatty acids make it easily absorbable by the small intestine (not requiring the full digestive process),” explains Peggy Kotsopoulos, RHN, nutritionist, and author of Kitchen Cures. “This means it provides increased energy faster than any other fat. The fats are converted by the liver into an immediate energy source, much like it would carbohydrates, but it’s sugar and carbohydrate-free! Try a tablespoon of it before your workouts and you’ll be amazed at the energy and endurance it provides.” Watch this video on why coconut oil is a superfood that superchargers your weight loss!

4. Nuts and Seeds

Get svelte eating like a bird? You betcha. “Nuts and seeds are packed with nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids, which will fuel your recovery after an intense CrossFit WOD,” advises Karla Williams, an avid CrossFitter and Healthy Kitchen Executive Chef at Hilton Head Health, a weight-loss retreat and wellness spa in South Carolina. “Since nuts and seeds are calorically-dense, they’re a great on-the-go snack or add-in to a satisfying smoothie.” Speaking of smoothies, don’t miss these 25 Best Weight Loss Smoothie Recipes!

5. Sweet Potatoes

The neverending Instagram stream of this tuberous veggie might have calmed down after the fall, but there’s still plenty of reason to reach for this nutrition powerhouse: “Your body needs functional carbs for a boost of energy. Glycogen is stored in your muscles (and liver) through the digestion of carbs, and your body relies on muscles’ glycogen for energy to carry you through your workout,” explains Kotsopoulos. “One of the best ways to fuel this is with sweet potatoes since they’re complex carbs that are slow- releasing and thus will sustain you through your workout. Sweet potatoes help to balance blood sugar levels providing consistent, steady energy levels. They’re also rich in B6, which combat the physical effects of stress the body goes through during a CrossFit session, and rich in antioxidants Vitamin C and beta-carotene, [which helps to repair] free radical damage caused by working out.” Start drooling over these 20 Sweet Potato Recipes for Weight Loss now.

6. Banana and Peanut Butter

Not quite in the mood to head to Smoothie-ville? It’s okay. This nutrient-dense snack proves a boon for CrossFitters: “If you do CrossFit, your perfect snack is going to be a blend of carbohydrates, protein and limited amount of healthy fat,” says Hayim. “The banana here is most important, as it is an excellent source of potassium, which is needed to help the heart and skeletal muscles flex and contract during your workout.”

7. Eggs

“Packed with protein, B vitamins, and good fats, eggs are a superfood for CrossFitters. An egg provides about 7 to 10 grams of protein. Starting the day with a few eggs ups your protein budget daily,” says Dr. Taz. To make breakfast even more protein-rich, try mixing things up and pairing it with one of these Surprising High-Protein Foods for Weight Loss.

8. Brown Rice

“Brown rice is better for you than white rice, since it is not refined and bleached of nutrients. Also, it is easily digested and less likely to cause bloating and spikes in blood sugar,” says Hayim. Make a big batch at the beginning of the week and use with different proteins, veggies, and sauces.

9. Almond Butter

Welcome to Destination: Dream Food. The possibilities of this tasty spread are endless. “Add a few tablespoons of almond butter into your favorite smoothie or use as a spread or dip. One tablespoon of almond butter has about four grams of protein and eight grams of fat,” says Dr. Taz. We all know protein is king for ripped ‘n’ fit folks, but don’t forget the key role fat plays: “Fat is important for CrossFit as well since it is another great source of long-lasting energy.”

10. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a stellar breakfast companion, is a trendy when dressed up as overnight oats, and is versatile enough to be used as 15 Ways to Lose Weight with Oatmeal. For CrossFitters, though, it’s an incredible must-have, too: “Oatmeal is a great pre or post-workout food as it delivers carbohydrates to the body efficiently without unnecessary sugars,” shares Hayim. “It also happens to be excellent for muscle recovery.”

11. Low-Fat Chocolate Milk

We saved the best for last, now didn’t we? “Studies suggest that chocolate milk, which is high in carbohydrates and protein, may be considered an effective drink for recovery from exhausting glycogen-depleting exercise, like CrossFit,” explains Hayim. Just remember to wipe off that ‘stache.

The Sexy Mood Food

Of all the reasons your parents gave you for not having sex, they probably missed this one: Sex can leave you feeling sad. In fact, new research shows that nearly half of all women have come away from sex feeling more down than before they got it on.

Forty-six percent of young women say they have experienced the “post-sex blues,” or what scientists call postcoital dysphoria (PCD), according to a new study published in the journal Sexual Medicine. One in 20 report experiencing it more than once in the past four weeks.

Why women feel sadness or anxiety after sex isn’t clear; researchers say that it might have an evolutionary function. But experts do know that specific foods can reduce anxiety, improve your mood, and enhance your performance in bed by increasing blood flow and levels of the pleasure hormone dopamine—leading to a healthier, happier you after sex.

Eat This, Not That! compiled a list of these essential Foods that Beat the Sex Blues. Eat them before date night and know you’ll end the night pleased with your lover—and yourself. (And to whittle your middle and look and feel better than ever, try these 50 Best-Ever Weight-Loss Tips Skinny People Follow.)


That Pumpkin Spice Latte may be on your mind first thing in the morning, but before bedtime, getting some sustenance from a real pumpkin might lift your spirits more effectively. In fact, pumpkin seeds are like crunchy little nuggets of Prozac. They’re one of the best food sources of an amino acid known as tryptophan, which helps the production of serotonin in your brain. Antidepressants help the brain to circulate serotonin, so if you’re taking them now, these little pumpkin pick-me-ups may make them even more effective. They’re also one of these 50 Best-Ever Snacks for Weight Loss!


An apple a day may help keep the doctor away, but it can help bring one, and others, closer. Italian researchers divided more than 700 female subjects into two groups: those who ate apples daily and those who didn’t. They found that those who regularly consumed the fruit—which is rich in sex-boosting phytoestrogens, polyphenols and antioxidants—had more enjoyable and pleasurable sex than those who didn’t. (And while you’re selecting a fruit to finish off your meal, avoid the cantaloupe; it’s rich in a molecule called myoinositol that has been proven to decrease desire-driving testosterone in women by a whopping 65 percent.)


More green tea makes you sexier, for the simple fact that it blasts belly fat with abandon. Its metabolism-boosting compounds, called catechins, increase metabolism and speed the liver’s capacity for turning fat into energy. But that’s not all: Catechins also boost desire by promoting blood flow to your nether region. “Catechins kill off free radicals that damage and inflame blood vessels, increasing their ability to transport blood,” says Cassie Bjork, RD, LD, of Healthy Simple Life. “Catechins also cause blood vessel cells to release nitric oxide, which increases the size of the blood vessels, leading to improved blood flow.” Nitric oxide just happens to be the active ingredient in Viagra. Jump start your weight loss and sex drive—and lose up to 10 pounds in one week, like our test panelists—with The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse!


If you’re looking for a way to simultaneously boost your libido and calm those pre-date jitters, pour yourself just one glass of red wine. Women who drank one to two glasses of the stuff had heightened sexual desire compared to ladies who didn’t down any vino, a Journal of Sexual Medicine study found. The elixir has a rich antioxidant profile that, like green tea, triggers nitric oxide production in the blood, relaxing artery walls. This increases blood flow down south, creating feelings of sexual excitement. Just be sure to cut yourself off after your second glass; enjoying more than that didn’t stimulate any further arousal, and knocking back too much can put a damper on your sexual performance and pleasure. And if you’re a vodka drinker, consider switching: James Bond aside, University of Washington researchers found that the women who drank vodka-based cocktails had less desire to have sex with a new partner than their sober counterparts.


Having some red meat with that red wine can set you up for an even more relaxing and invigorating evening. “One of the primary reasons couples stop having sex is because they’re tired and stressed. But sometimes, there’s a biological component at play,” says psychotherapist and sex expert Tammy Nelson, Ph.D. One of the causes of fatigue in women is iron deficiency. The condition can zap energy, which may result in a low sex drive. Bjork says remedying the situation requires a two-part approach: “If you think your diet lacks iron, focus on eating more grass-fed meat. Then, ensure sure your body is able to utilize the iron,” she says. “Consuming probiotic-rich yogurt, fatty fish and an L-glutamine supplement can improve gut health and help your body to absorb iron more efficiently.” And while you’re burning up the sheets, burn up calories with these 29 Best-Ever High-Protein Foods!


The next time you order a sandwich, swap omega-6-heavy mayo for omega-3-loaded mustard and get an instant mental health boost. While essential, omega-6s are also inflammatory and are linked to obesity, diabetes and depression. Mayonnaise, made from grain and seed oils, provides a whopping 11,359 mg of omega-6 per ounce. The humble yellow mustard, on the other hand, is among the top dozen or so sources of omega-3 acids, with nearly half as much, ounce per ounce, as canned tuna. A 2013 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that higher levels of omega-3s were linked to lower risks of depression.


Eating spinach, a green rich in appetite-suppressing compounds, can not only give you a lingerie-ready figure but also put you in the mood by increasing blood flow below the belt. “Spinach is rich in magnesium, a mineral that decreases inflammation in blood vessels, increasing blood flow,” explains Bjork. Although that may not sound sexy, you’re sure to enjoy the effects. “Increased blood flow drives blood to the extremities, which, like Viagra, can increase arousal and make sex more pleasurable,” Nelson adds. “Women will find it is easier to have an orgasm, and men will find that erections come more naturally.” (Suffice it to say, spinach is one of these 50 Best Foods for His Penis.)


The darker the chocolate, the sweeter the sex. That’s because cacao, the actual cocoa bean that’s found in far greater quantity in dark chocolate, increases levels of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin, which can lower stress levels, boost desire and make it easier to reach orgasm. And that’s not all: Cocoa also increases blood flow through the arteries and relaxes blood vessels, sending blood to all the right regions, which can boost sexual pleasure. (That’s why it’s one of the 8 Foods Better Than Female Viagra!) We like Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate with 88% cacao.


Red bells are high in vitamins C, which might just be the magic sex-mood nutrient. In a study, young adults who took vitamin C supplements reported more sexual frequency and a lower level of depression. They also experienced decreased stress levels, lowered anxiety, and had higher levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Why red? Aren’t all peppers the same? In fact, red bell peppers—which have been allowed to ripen on the vine and not picked when still green—have considerably higher nutrient scores than their underdeveloped brethren—more than double the vitamin C and up to 8 times as much vitamin A.


Brazil nuts are a top source of selenium, vitamin E and magnesium, nutrients that boost testosterone and help increase sex drive. (This is important for women who are on the pill, as they can often find themselves low in magnesium.) Selenium is also critical for keeping his sperm healthy, in case you’re hoping that you-and-me time will one day yield a bundle of joy. To ensure his swimmers are of Olympian quality, stock up on these 8 Best Foods for Male Fertility.


Studies have found that pomegranate juices have positive effects on erectile dysfunction and testosterone. Pomegranates are also loaded with antioxidants that support blood flow, which can help boost sensitivity and pleasure. Just be sure to water your juice down a bit: One cup of the stuff has 31 grams of sugar.


Bananas are one of the top sources of potassium, which helps to counteract the effects of foods high in sodium. Salty foods can not only diminish blood flood to the genitals, which can make it more difficult to reach orgasm, but they can also make you bloated. Keep your waistline slim, and your wallet fat, with these 30 Foods That Uncover Your Abs for Under $1!


Like its namesake from Gilligan’s Island, ginger is a spicy sensation that’s made to titillate. Consuming a mere teaspoon of the stuff a few times a week is all you need to boost the sex-drive hormone testosterone. Use it in place of another popular spice, spearmint: Regular consumption of the herb can reduce testosterone levels significantly, according to a Phytotherapy Research study. For more T-boosting tips, check out these 7 Testosterone-Boosting Foods.


Whether you find Will.I.Am’s beats sexy or not isn’t the point. Those other black-eyed peas are one of the richest sources of the B vitamin folate. Studies show that folate not only helps to reduce depression on its own, but may increase the effectiveness of antidepressants. Peanuts, lentils and leafy greens are also high in the nutrient. Bonus: They’re all among the 25 Best-Ever Carbs to Carve Your Abs!


Halibut, along with tuna and salmon, is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation — a major biological cause of depression. A study at King’s College in London found that omega-3s may be effective in patients at high risk of depression due to chronic inflammation.  The nice thing about halibut is that it’s low in pollutants and ecologically sound, so you won’t end your date with any arguments about your impact on the environment. Instead, it’ll help bring your evening to a more pleasurable conclusion — halibut’s healthy fats are one of the 7 Best Foods for Your Orgasm.

The Sacred Beautiful Places

These places have been inspiring more than just vacation ideas for centuries. Long revered for their gorgeous scenery and spiritual significance, here are 11 beautiful sacred spots—from the Holy Land to the American Southwest—that welcome visitors of all faiths.

Mount Parnassus is the setting of many ancient Greek myths and legends, including the Oracle of Delphi. (age fotostock / SuperStock)

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank, is built over the cave, or grotto, in which Jesus is believed by many to have been born during the reign of Caesar Augustus. (Maria Wachala/Dreamstime)

The first basilica of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was built in the 4th century by the Roman Emperor Constantine and has been a sacred place for Christians and Muslims for centuries, surviving a wide variety of political and religious conflicts. (Asafta/Dreamstime)

The U.S. State Department has a travel advisory posted cautioning Americans about visiting the West Bank, but locals say that despite ongoing tensions in the region, visitors are always welcome at the Church of the Nativity and that Christmas celebrations are appropriately peaceful. (Rrodrickbeiler/Dreamstime)

Mount Sinai in Egypt is where Moses is said to have received the 10 Commandments. (Gelia /

A Greek Orthdox chapel is one of many religious structures that stand on Mount Sinai. (Paul Prescott /

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia is a sacred site to the Anangu people of the Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal tribe. (Twickey /

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is the site of an ancient Aboriginal creation story and is said to be inhabited by ancestor spirits. (Neale Cousland /

Cenote Sagrado in Mexico was the site of ancient Mayan ceremonies and occasional human sacrifice. ( / SuperStock)

Cenote Sagrado was created from a natural limestone cave. (Robert Fried / Alamy)

The ascetic Prince Siddhartha took rest under a native bodhi tree like the Mahabodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, India, and awoke with the enlightenment that is a central tenet of the Buddhist tradition. (John Warburton Lee / SuperStock)

A temple stands near the site of the Mahabodhi Tree. (Photononstop / SuperStock)

Mount Kailas in Tibet is a sacred place to Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains alike. (Glebsokolov /

Tantric Buddhists say Mount Kailas is home to Buddha Demchog, who represents supreme bliss. (Dappax /

The ruins of St. Michael’s Tower at the top of Glastonbury Tor in England. (Radomír Režný /

Ancient Celts believed that Glastonbury Tor was the home of the King of the Underworld. (Woolfenden /

The Klamath tribe of Oregon maintains that Crater Lake was the site of a battle between the Chief of the Above World and the Chief of the Below World. (Matthewjade /

Historians believe that the Klamath people of Oregon may have witnessed the implosion that formed Crater Lake nearly 8,000 years ago. (Andrey Tarantin /

An ancient Greek amphitheatre stands at the Sanctuary of Apollo on Mount Parnassus. (age fotostock / SuperStock)

Lake Atitlán in Guatemala is ringed by Mayan villages and its shores are strewn with archeological sites and ruins, some said to be the mythological “underwater city” of Chiutinamit. (Valery Shanin /

Avoid These Foods to Stay Fit

The Worst Foods for CrossFitters

You’re training like a beast—but if you feast on these foods, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Avoid these like you would avoid a “skinny fat” reputation!

1. Pre-Workout Raw Veggies

“Avoid eating lettuce, cabbage, and broccoli before a workout,” cautions Hayim. “According to the Mayo Clinic, these foods are common sources of gastrointestinal discomfort. While they may be considered healthy and high in fiber, they can cause discomfort during a workout, especially during an intense one like CrossFit.” And besides, you don’t want to be that gassy straggler in class, now do you? So not sexy.

2. High-Sugar Carbohydrates

“Avoid high-sugar carbohydrates, even if it’s from a natural source,” cautions Smiley. “White rice, potatoes and bread are a no-no as they are ridiculously high in the glycemic index, which will spike your insulin levels then drop them down, sending you spiraling through hunger valley looking for a sweet treat.”

But don’t go cold turkey when it comes to carbs. “Whole grains are complex carbohydrates, meaning they digest slowly in your body allowing your body to absorb several nutrients. When carbohydrates are digested, they are absorbed as glycogen that will replenish depleted muscular tissue after that extreme 25-minute AMRAP CrossFit workout. The correct carbohydrate sources will provide CrossFit athletes with ongoing energy and stamina to get every repetition they deserve. Portion control carbohydrates and mostly consume whole grains, fruits, and vegetable-carbohydrate sources like quinoa, farro, sweet potatoes, beets and more,” explains Williams. Find out the 20 Worst Carb Habits of All Time while you’re at it!

3. Fried Foods

Let’s be real, you don’t need a lengthy explanation as to why these crispy, greasy globs are bad for you. So here’s a succinct one: “CrossFit is an intense workout, which requires optimal nutrition to fuel it. Fried foods are nutritionally-void and rich in unhealthy saturated and trans-fats that deplete energy levels and leave you sluggish,” offers Kotsopoulos. And lest we forget, these are foods that make you age faster, too. Yeah, we didn’t think you were interested in that, either.

4. Bouillon Cubes

A little post-workout soup? Hold on. “These may be wonderful for making flavorful soups, but are loaded with an alarming amount of salt,” warns Hayim. “During the hours your body is recovering, you need to focus on replacing your daily fluid losses. While a little bit of salt in the diet can be helpful for athletes, the salt in the bouillon can lead to dehydration that can ultimately impact your muscle contractions during a workout.” WATCH: How to Stop Belly Bloat With a Smoothie

5. Alcohol

Okay, you know you shouldn’t have frozen margaritas when CrossFit training, but even a glass or two of wine can disrupt your workout regime. “Nothing will slow you down quite like alcohol, with lasting negative effects on CrossFit training and performance,” says Williams. “Alcohol has no nutritional value, meaning it is just empty calories. Also, it has been shown to hinder recovery and disrupt sleep, two very important factors in any training program!” For motivation to move away from booze for a bit, check out The Amazing Truth About “Dry January”.

6. Processed Foods

Granola bars, pastries, and even crackers all should get a Donald Trump-status “You’re Fired!” when it comes to your CrossFit performance. “Processed foods are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients. The sugar will increase your waistline making those pull-ups, push-ups, and handstand push-ups even more difficult,” says Williams. And, really, who needs that? “Also, these processed treats do not provide the nutrient density that whole foods deliver, leaving your body short of necessary nutrients to aid in recovery.” So just skip ‘em. Your body will thank you.

7. Bagels

A handy on-the-go food, we know how tempting a bagel with an indulgent schmear of cream cheese can be. “Unfortunately, the high-carbohydrate, high-glycemic index of bagels leave most athletes drained rather than energized,” says Dr. Taz. Thinking you should have one pre-workout to boost your energy? “Most current nutrition research is debunking the old myth of carbo-loading before workouts,” adds Dr. Taz. To enjoy some bread without gaining weight, check out these 20 Secrets for Eating Bread Without Getting Fat!

8. Movie Theater Popcorn

Catching a Friday night movie to avoid the bars and booze before a big CrossFit day? Go ahead, you deserve it, but be sure to steer clear of the popcorn. “While movie theater popcorn looks like the least threatening of options at the concession stand, it’s loaded with salt and saturated fat from the butter. Indulging in this a night before your workout may cause bloating, and early muscle fatigue,” cautions Hayim. You might be able to stop belly bloat fast, but your workout performance will still suffer.

9. Hamburgers

You’re working so hard to sculpt your abs; why ruin it with a fatty calorie bomb? “Loading up on heavy, greasy foods like hamburgers or french fries is CrossFit sabotage. The excessive amount of unhealthy fats is difficult to digest, making workouts more difficult,” shares Dr. Taz. “Healthy fats, on the other hand, provide energy and help rather than block the digestive system.” As for those killer abs, choose these 30 Best Foods for 6-Pack Abs.

10. Flavored Yogurt

It’s tempting but treacherous. “Flavored yogurt doesn’t assist in recovery or muscle building,” offers Hayim. “It has two times less protein compared to Greek yogurt, and is loaded with sodium and sugar, which make you feel bloated and tired.” If you’ve got a hankering for something on the sweeter side, try pairing unsweetened, plain Greek yogurt with sliced banana, a sprinkling of chia seeds, and a touch of honey for a balanced yet decadent treat.

Things to Avoid when Traveling

Travel writers always talk about what to do when you travel. It’s all must-see attractions and things to do. Go here, do this, see that, act this way. But what about all the things you shouldn’t do on the road? There are plenty of mistakes travelers make that lead to wasted money, lost time, and missed opportunities. It’s easy to say what to do, but we sometimes to forget to mention the don’ts.

A lot of the old conventional travel wisdom (using traveler’s checks or booking early) is out of date in an increasingly digital and connected world. I believe that by not telling travelers “Hey, don’t do this anymore” we keep a lot of myths going strong. We insiders know the tricks, but unless we tell the general public, they won’t!

So today, I want to share some of the common travel mistakes you should avoid. I’ve made many of these mistakes in the past, but doing things wrong shows you how to do them right.

If you avoid these common mistakes, you’ll be traveling cheaper, smarter, and longer.

DON’T eat near a major tourist site

don't eat near major tourist attractions
The food near any major attraction is going to be double the price and half the flavor of what you’ll find elsewhere. When restaurants know people aren’t coming back, they don’t have to worry about consistent quality. And anyways, what do tourists know about quality local food, right? They just arrived. It’s all amazing to them, and many are happy to return home talking about how they ate “amazing” pizza in front of the Colosseum. Restaurants lack the incentive to be top-notch.

However, local, nontouristy restaurants must be high quality or else locals will stop going there. These places can’t get by by serving slop. Instead of eating in a tourist trap, walk at least five blocks away from one. The further away you are, the more local, cheaper, and tastier the food will be. Use websites like Yelp, Foursquare, or OpenRice to find out what the locals are rating highly if you aren’t comfortable walking into a random restaurant. Avoid restaurants with glossy menus in multiple languages. That’s a sure sign of a tourist trap.

DON’T exchange money at the airport

DON’T exchange money at the airport
You’ll get the worst exchange rates if you do. You’re better off lighting your money on fire. To get the best rates, use an ATM or credit card. This is will be as close to the interbank rate as you can get and ensures that you are not getting ripped off.

Never exchange cash unless you absolutely have to (and there are times when you have to). I once had to exchange cash in an airport in Romania when my ATM card didn’t work, but that was an emergency. If you do need to exchange money, try to do so at a bank downtown where you’ll get better rates and fewer fees. But stick to plastic as much as possible.

DON’T bring traveler’s checks

Traveler’s checks are checks issued by banks for a predetermined value that allow the bearer to exchange the check for cash anywhere in the world. In the time before widespread ATM and credit card acceptance, it was the best way for travelers to have access to money without carrying a lot of cash. They are absolutely useless these days, with few banks willing to accept them and offering little protection if they are lost or stolen. There’s no need to use them anymore.

DON’T use a bank card with fees

taking money from an atm
I don’t like giving banks my money. I’d rather use it for travel, and it’s been years since I paid a bank fee of any kind. Get a bank and credit card that has no foreign transaction fees so you can avoid ATM fees and other surcharges. In the United States, my favorites are Charles Schwab for a no-fee ATM card and Capital One for the simplest no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card (though I prefer the Chase Sapphire or Barclays Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard because you can earn points with them, but those come with yearly fees not everyone wants to pay). There are a lot of options out there so be sure to check with your local bank.

Here are some resources to help you find a no-fee card if you live outside the United States:

UK citizens can also check out this no-overseas-fee card, the Post Office: Post Office Credit Card UK

DON’T look at only US-based search engines

flying around the world sunset
All search engines have blind spots, no matter where they are in the world, but by limiting your searching to only the large search engines, you are reducing the chance you’ll find a deal. Many sites don’t feature smaller budget airlines or seasonal carriers. While no flight search website is the best 100% of the time, avoid sticking to just Kayak or Expedia — expand your horizons. I like Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Momondo and always use them in my search for cheap flights.

DON’T skip travel insurance

It may seem like a ridiculous added expense, but travel is about the unknown, and you never know what can happen on the road. You can break a leg, lose a camera, pop an eardrum scuba diving, or have to leave a country because of a natural disaster. Travel insurance protects you when you are overseas and shouldn’t be avoided — it’s the smart thing to get. It is there to protect you for both medical and nonmedical emergencies. If something does happen to you and you don’t have insurance, it can cost thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses. I had a friend let her insurance lapse because she wasn’t using it; she later broke an arm in South America. It cost her thousands in doctor’s fees. I use World Nomads insurance when I’m on the road. You can read more here about how to find the perfect policy.

DON’T rule out hostels

Most people think hostels have smelly, unclean, bedbug-ridden facilities that are aimed at poor college students. It’s a common stereotype perpetuated on TV and in movies over the years. My mom is always horrified when I tell her I stay in hostels. She pictures the ones she stayed at in the 1970s and pleads with me to be careful. While hostels used to be that way, nowadays, most hostels are cleaner than most hotels! They offer a variety of amenities, from pool tables to movie rooms, Xboxes, free computers, and laundry facilities, as well as organized tours, day trips, free Wi-Fi, and small private dorm rooms perfect for families, couples, or seniors who want affordable accommodation and a travel community without the hotel cost. The modern hostel is not just for cheap backpackers but also for those looking to be involved in a community. They are hubs for like-minded, travel-loving individuals.

DON’T avoid hospitality networks

table and chair in someone's home
Networks like Couchsurfing or Hospitality Club let travelers stay with locals for free and also swap stories and participate in cross-cultural exchange. First, you don’t always get a couch. I’ve slept on couches and beds, in guest rooms, and in mansions. Second, they aren’t just for single travelers. I’ve stayed with couples, families, college students, and twenty-somethings and have hosted single travelers, groups, and couples. Many traveling families use this as a way to meet other families from around the globe and expose their kids to the world. It’s nice to have a free place to stay, but the real benefit of this is the ability to meet and make friends with people from different places and gain insider knowledge about your destination. I’ve made many friends through these networks. Don’t overlook them.

DON’T take taxis

Taxis are where budgets go to die — they are always overpriced. Skip them. The only time these are worth using is if you are splitting the fare among many people or need to get somewhere super late at night. Use public transportation as much as possible.

DON’T be penny wise but pound foolish

don't waste time when you travel
As they say, time is money and, since travelers tend to have more time than money, they save money at the expense of time. However, your time is worth something. It may save you $2 by walking instead of taking the bus, but if it takes you an extra hour to get to where you are going, is that really worth it? You may be able to save $30 by taking a flight with two connections, but is the savings worth it when you know you’re going to be miserable and arrive tired? Budget travel is not a race to the bottom. It’s about being smart with both your money and time. Avoid wasting time as much as you avoid wasting money.

DON’T book too early

I understand it’s easy to get excited about your trip and — to make it feel real — book your flight, hotel, or resort right away. It’s done and you are going! But that’s a mistake. You’ll be the person who ended up paying more than others. When it comes to travel, the early bird doesn’t always get the worm. Don’t be overeager. Wait for the deals.

For your flight, wait about three to four months before your trip. This is when airlines start to raise or lower prices based on demand. For cruises or tour groups, wait until the last minute. Companies have to fill boats and tours, so they offer amazing last-minute deals to fill unused space — no one wants to set off with a boat half full. Here are some posts that expand on this idea more:

DON’T skip the local tourist office

luxemborg tourism board
I’m always surprised at how few tourists visit the local tourism board. It’s always my first stop on any trip. They have advice on current events, festivals, and off-the-beaten-path information you aren’t going to find in any guidebook. Their job is to literally know everything about where you are. They get paid to help you. When you get to a new city, be sure to head to the tourism office and ask for information on what to see and do, and where the deals are. They have maps and discount cards, and they can help book accommodations.

Avoiding these common mistakes will help you stop wasting money, save time, find more rewarding and cheaper travel experiences, get off the beaten path, and be a better traveler. People who follow the guidebooks and just “click and go” when they book online end up paying more. If you put in some extra work, you’ll save big, and the less you spend, the more you can travel!

Be smart, be savvy, and learn to travel with ease.