A Night Out Abroad: 5 Don'ts

This post was contributed by Steven Knollmeyer. 


Let’s face it – you’re living across the ocean from home, you’re on an intoxicating roller-coaster of new experiences, and [with most likely the help of a few too many cheap hostel pregame vodkas] you may feel a bit more daring than your usual self back home. I’m no stranger to becoming a messy disaster on a night out while traveling, so please learn from my mistakes before you [ALLEGEDLY] end up in the drunk tank in Ibiza. Not that I would know, of course.

  1. DON’T take unknown substances from strangers. 

Now I know what you’re thinking: DUH.

But believe me when I say that when you’re on the high of the “when in Rome” mentality, you’re going to be more inclined to say “yes” to some crazy shenanigans the person you left at home would have never dreamed of. I can almost guarantee you that at least one time in some bathroom of some bar of some undisclosed foreign country, you’re going to meet a stranger that seems like your new BFF and will offer you some innocent-looking little pill which will “make you have the time of your life.” You’ll think to yourself: “you know what, if I don’t try it now when will I ever?!”

Cut to you puking on yourself in the club, having cops and paramedics called on you, and being locked up in the drunk tank cell (if you’re lucky and don’t get thrown in with the actual criminals) of some crusty jail.

Believe me, it is *not* a cute lewk. Again, not that I would know of course.

  1. DON’T believe that your regular drink limit translates equally to other countries

This especially applies to my fellow Americans. I don’t care if you can down six Bud Lights in your local dive bar, downing six Oktoberfest beers in Germany or six caipirinhas in Brazil will leave you face down, a$$ up on the street.

Normal alcohol content for drinks can vary drastically by country, so while you may be trying to “get lit” on a night out, let’s do a little research first so you don’t totally burn out and ruin your night.

  1. DON’T go to creepy guy from the bar’s house.

So you’ve ignored my last piece of advice and you’ve now downed those six caipirinhas, and that guy (or gal, or any identity- 2020, people!) that you didn’t even give a passing glance to when you first arrived now looks like Harry Styles [after he got that haircut for his acting role in the movie Dunkirk and you question why you even started mentally cheating on him by giving all of your attention to Shawn Mendes when you should have known that Harry was the supreme pop god all along – I DIGRESS] and he’s trying to take you back to his/her/their place. Short answer? Don’t. There’s something magical about the idea of finding love abroad, but honey, this ain’t love. This is some unknown virus from a sober 3 out of 10 – if you’re lucky. Save the foreign romance for the cutie in the coffee shop the next morning when you’re able to walk in a straight line.

There’s something magical about the idea of finding love abroad, but honey, this ain’t love.

  1. DON’T tell the people you went out with that you can find your way home back on your own.

Great, you’ve ignored my advice again and now you’re pursuing this drunken suitor and told the people that you went out with that it’s fine for them to go home, you can manage to get back on your own. Listen, I’m all about independence, I firmly believe that every person can navigate themselves around the globe on their own, but when you’re nearing or already blacked out the buddy system is a glorious thing. You may just meet some new friends from your hostel in London, think you’re not that drunk, tell your hostel friends that you’ll meet up with them in a bit, and then wake up the next morning confused and alone on the Eurostar in France having zero idea how you got there. Not that I would know first-hand, of course.

  1. DON’T try to mug your mugger.

Similar to my first piece of advice, you’re probably thinking: DUH. But oh, let me tell you when you’re beyond intoxicated at 3 AM and you catch someone stealing your stuff – your only items to your name in this fantasy life abroad – you may just snap and do something stupidly dangerous. Someone may steal your phone right out of your pocket and your instinct may be to throw this full-time criminal against the wall of a touristy bar and steal his wallet from his pocket demanding that you need your phone back if he wants his wallet back (not that I would know from personal experience, of course) but trust me, this is a very bad idea. While many pick-pocketers are generally unarmed and the least violent of robbers, you never know and it’s not worth risking. No matter how tight of a budget you’re traveling on, your life is always invaluable and any material item that someone steals from you can always be replaced. So as hard as it may be, let it happen if it comes to it, report it to the police, and then move on with your adventure while trying not to let this one poor experience ruin it for you.

So there you have it – your pro-tips for avoiding becoming a total hot mess that ruins your night out during your epic international adventure. Not that I would know any of this from personal experience, of course.


Meet Steven: Another twenty-something New Yorker that can be found anywhere tacos and bottomless mimosas are served. Keep up with him on IG. 

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