Going to a new destination is always exciting. There are plenty of things on your to-do-and-see list and major tourist attractions are inevitably on it. As much as we hate to admit it – we are tourists and can stick out like a sore thumb. While the world is a wonderful place, unfortunately, there are people who try and make a quick buck by taking advantage of tourists. Thankfully with the right amount of savvy and know-how, you can avoid falling into these traps. Read on for our top tips on how to avoid tourist traps so you can have the vacation you’ve always dreamed about.
Avoiding Tourist Traps Starts with Planning
Whether your next holiday is a trip to Barbados or la belle Paree, put in some time researching your destination. Suppose you can plan a holiday at a time that’s away from peak tourist seasons, so much the better. Trust us, Paris is still as romantic during the chilly winter months as it is in summer. You’ll find better deals on tickets and accommodation and many activities might be cheaper too.
Book Tickets Beforehand
Plan as much sightseeing as possible before you get on that plane. Book tickets wherever possible too. Many popular attractions are sold out weeks in advance, so by booking tickets online you can be assured that you’ll have the experiences you want on your holiday. This also helps you avoid having to deal with ticket touts offering tickets at exorbitant prices at sold-out attractions.
Use Public Transport Where You Can
Take some time to understand your destination’s public transport system. Most popular tourist destinations have well-designed public transport that swings by all the popular attractions. Take a subway, train, or bus to feel like a local. It’ll help you save a lot of money compared to expensive Ubers and cabs. When in doubt – walk. You may find yourself wandering down picturesque little roads you would have never discovered otherwise.
Pro tip: Google Maps is your best friend when it comes to navigating allowing you to choose public transport as a travel option. It tells you whether you should use a bus, train, tram ferry or a combination of them to get you to where you want to go!
Avoid Tourist Hubs
Many holiday destinations have neighbourhoods filled with chain hotels that are popular with tourists. The restaurants and shopping around these places all cater to tourists with marked-up prices and often below-average quality. Avoid sleeping in these tourist zones. Try and find a hotel or an Airbnb that’s a little away from these hubs. You’ll be able to experience life more like the locals do in terms of places to hang out, eat and shop.
If a restaurant requires touts to pull crowds in, it means that they don’t cater to the locals. This in turn means that they probably don’t care about returning clientele and therefore quality. Instead ask locals where they like to eat or shop. You may need to phrase your questions carefully to avoid getting answers that direct you to regular touristy restaurants. For example, ask where you like going out for dinner on a Saturday night.
Similarly, if you do want a guided tour of an attraction, book one from a reputable company online instead of trying to find one at the attraction itself. You’ll get a more authentic and informative experience. You can also find out if an attraction offers audio guides or an interactive app if you want to explore on your own.
Learn the Local Language
No, you don’t need to be fluent in a local language before you visit a place. However, learning a few words of the language spoken at your holiday destination can score you some serious points with the locals. You’ll find that they open up to you more and are more willing to help you because you’ve put in some effort to understand their culture and language. For example, check out this article for some helpful Japanese words to know before visiting Japan.
Just a little bit of homework goes a long way toward giving you the experiences you crave without leaving a sour taste in your mouth. You’ll thank us later! Happy vacationing!