Public transportation – For locals it's a hell-chariot locked in a never-ending loop between dull jobs and dull homes. For tourists, it's a Wonka-esque boat-ride around the dream factory.
Museums – We take our own history and culture for granted. But when it's another country, their drab paintings and people in funny clothes look so much more fun than ours.
Friendly locals – Abroad, solicitous locals are fonts of cherished authenticity. But get us on home turf and the five most terrifying words in the English language are "mind if i join you?"
Questionable food – Food hygiene standards are for the daily grind, not for vacation. Sure, it can be hard to know if those symptoms are E. coli or a massive sangria hangover, but at least you don't have to get up for work in the morning.
Swimwear in the street – Walking into a shop in your underwear normally happens only in nightmares, shortly before your teeth fall out on the morning of the big exam. On vacation? All good.
Getting lost – When there's no hurry to get from A to B, stumbling across a great coffee shop at F or a cool little bar at Q is a delight. Until night falls and we find ourselves beneath a creepy bridge at X, a long way from the hotel back at C.
Parades – What a tourist sees: a community coming together in joyful celebration. What a local sees: a sequined traffic disruption.
Grocery stores – If we didn't need to replenish life-giving supplies of milk, bread and corn snacks, we'd never go. Visit another country, however, and it's a trove of artifacts from an alien culture -- such as milk, bread and corn snacks, but with different packaging and sometimes hilarious brand names. Spotted you-know-what, anyone?
Bad customer service – "Excuse me. There seem to be bugs on my burger."
"I cannot see them."
"No, really, there are about 12 or 13 of them. There, on top of the cheese."
"Are you calling me a liar? Are you calling my wife, who made this burger, a dirty woman?"
Without experiences like this, what stories would we have to tell when we get home?
Street performers – Raise a smile, living statue. Don't be shy, jazz flute busker. You may be pariahs among your own countrymen, but -- like David Hasselhoff in Germany -- there's an audience out there who loves you.
Causing an obstruction – Weaving along the sidewalk like an inebriated tortoise, halting without warning to take a selfie or to swing your rucksack into someone's face. We wouldn't do it at home, so why do we think it's acceptable elsewhere?
Cold weather – OK so there's the ice, snow, blizzards, traffic chaos, burst pipes and early-stage frostbite, but winter scenes sure are Instagrammable. Just gotta remember to wear some touchscreen gloves when taking snaps with shivering hands.
Bad movies – Movie tickets aren't cheap, so it makes sense to be choosy. But settle back with your in-flight entertainment system and the corny rom-com, cheesy action flick and the so-bad-it's-really-very-bad "comedy" are all within tempting reach. But beware, your seatmate is judging you.
Cheap thrillers – Honestly, the rest of the year it's existential philosophy, but those Proust tomes are too heavy to pack. This airport potboiler about a sexy mathematician who solves crimes will just have to do.
Wearing idiotic hats – Be it cultural misappropriation or failed fashion experiment, vacations are the time to try new headgear. Imagine the howls of derision if we tried to get away with that Panama in our local bar.
Medieval levels of sanitation – Our ancestors gave us sewers and hot, clean running water for what? So we could go roll around in mud at a music festival or pee behind a bush while camping?
Exotic booze – Imagine nail polish remover with a Coca Cola mixer. And yet, he's likely having the time of his life -- because he's living the authentic vacation experience.