Photo Credit: Ketut Subiyanto
6 Things Locals Wish Tourists Would Stop Doing While Traveling
As tourists, everything seems new and exciting. And if you’re anything like us, you have spent an inordinate amount of time roaming the streets, stopping to capture every moment or landmark as a reminder of your vacay or maybe just to stunt on the ‘gram.
Unfortunately, many don’t realize what’s new to us is old hat to the locals, and these people are just trying to go about their everyday lives. If you want to blend in on your next adventure, take note of these tips from people across the globe who weighed in on how not to stick out like a sore thumb.
These are the things locals wish tourists would stop doing while traveling.
Leaving kids unattended at attractions
It’s always fun to see things through a child’s eyes when they travel for the first time. But parents need to ensure that they keep their eyes on their kids as well, particularly in areas with delicate artifacts or merchandise.
“I worked in a museum at home with many rare pieces,” shared Marianne from France. “Please do not touch the exhibits and if you have kids, control them. You won’t believe the number of tourists who let their children roam freely in these places.”
The last thing you want to do is cause an international incident by ruining a priceless work of art.
Not taking safety seriously
When you plan for that long-awaited vacation, the idea is usually to relax and enjoy a carefree existence. But you should never completely let your guard down in new surroundings. No matter how safe an area seems, it’s still important to be alert, be aware of your surroundings, and protect your valuables.
“Adventure and exploring are great but there is something to be said for being too adventurous for your own good,” said Remi from Los Angeles. “Do research before coming to the city about the safest areas to frequent. There is nowhere in the world that is 100% safe.”
Not being aware of culture
We mentioned research earlier in the context of safety. But generally, it’s always wise to learn something about the customs and norms of your intended destination. This knowledge will help you navigate more smoothly.
“Surely if you’ve chosen to visit Amsterdam, you’ve done a bit of research,” said Sara. “So you know we’re pretty famous for our cycling. Take all the photos you want and get high in the Red-Light District, but it would be amazing if tourists would pay attention and stay out of our bike lanes. Those bells are ringing for a reason.”
You may have heard that different nationalities embody certain traits and characteristics. Some of the more common ones are Canadians being exceedingly polite, Italians are passionate, Germans love beer, and English people love a good chat about the weather. And while some of these are pretty harmless and in some cases very complimentary, it can be dangerous to brush everyone with a broad stroke.
“Don’t ask for weed,” instructed Jamie from Grenada. “Contrary to popular belief the majority of Caribbean people don’t smoke marijuana. In fact, it is illegal.”
There are moments in every destination’s history that they will never forget, whether good or bad. But some are very painful and there are locals who might not mind discussing it and others who would rather not revisit those memories. Read the room before proceeding with select discussions.
“We’re more than Katrina in New Orleans. It was a horrible event and I know people mean well but we’re still trying to move on so maybe try another topic of conversation,” suggested Kendra from Louisiana.
Being inconsiderate for a photo op
Photos are probably the best way to make a trip last forever. And there are some images that are so iconic and representative of countries or cities that it would be a shame if you didn’t try and capture a shot. But depending on the location, it might not be the most practical spot. And while you have all the time in the world, locals are trying to get on with their daily life.
“The Beatles are iconic and if you’re a fan, a visit to Abbey Road is a must. But have some consideration. It’s virtually impossible to recreate the album cover without annoying drivers. This is a very busy road, so it’s incredibly inconvenient to have to wait while your photographer tries to capture the exact photo as you walk in slow motion on the crosswalk. Plus, there are dozens of others trying to do the same as you. You’re better off photoshopping yourself onto a photo. Also, it’s not even the original crosswalk.” — Henry, Great Britain
“Dealey Plaza in Dallas, where JFK got shot, is a nightmare. I can’t tell you the number of tourists who run into the street to take photos on the ‘X’. That’s not even the exact spot. It’s just an ‘X’ someone sprayed there. This is also a busy street with constant traffic. Stop trying to have entire photo shoots out there!” — Josh, Texas