Yes we all have been tourists at some point in our lives and seen other tourists too making same annoying mistakes forcing some places be labeled as “Not for Tourists”. And lets confess it …we all love to whine about those annoying touristy habits. Don’t we?? I think you will be able to relate to this post even more if you live in a popular tourist city. We say it in travel world that visit a place like a local, I wonder how many of us have actually experienced it.From cutting the lines on ticket counters to walking on the streets while gazing at buildings, we have been guilty of some travel sins ourselves. So I thought why not put a list together of such peeves which in future might save us from touristy embarrassment. Lets start…. Shall we!!
Playing “I am new to this place, I don’t know ” stupid Tourist Card :
A new place do presents new challenges. Language, currency, culture etc just to name a few. But it is the disregard to traffic rules and other regulations by tourists that really gets on to the nerves of locals. Getting into “One way” street just because its closer to that fav restaurant you saw online , or not driving as per the speed limit , and parking right under “NO PARKING” sign ,is bound to annoy the locals. Many travelers don’t realize that just because they are bringing in business does not place them above the rules.
“That is all..this country is so cheap” Tourists:
Please try to curb your enthusiasm in front of locals when you hit that jackpot of finding things ‘CHEAP’. In many countries people work hard to make it to minimum wage line and trivialising their effort by claiming it as cheap, is simply very insensitive.Specially in developing economies like Philippines or Cambodia the prices might feel lower (I will not use the word cheap) compared to the west.But bullhorning about that as if you can buy the whole country is simply offensive.
“Me First! Me First!” Tourists :
I dont think it takes rocket science to master the art of standing in a queue and waiting for your turn to come. All it requires is a little patience and respect for the fellow humans in the line. Pushing people, trying to be first and cutting the line are surely going to annoy anyone.Well it surely annoyed me when I was once standing in a queue outside a bakery in my hometown and this tourist (right behind me) went to the counter and started explaining how he was getting late for sight seeing and if he could be served before everybody else.The rules of standing in a queue are very simple – Do not shove! Do not Push! And please do not walk to the front…just wait for your turn.
“Oh my God!! People do not even speak English here” Tourists:
Since not everyone has the urge or means to learn new language other than mother tongue, criticizing locals for not knowing English is a big no-no. Also it is always advised to learn few common local language words (hello, goodmorning, good bye, how are you? ) before you visit any place where English is neither national language nor business language.Simple hand gestures, body language and pointing go a long way towards breaking through the language barrier. According to recent stats , the range of people speaking English as a first language is between 4.65 to 7.25% and for individuals who have English as a second language, the range is between 3.01% and 9.08%. So now knowing these stats, don’t you think its irrational to expect English speaking people everywhere.
“We are tourists, we can CLICK anyone!” Tourists:
As travelers, photographers or creative geniuses we all want pictures of unguarded moments of people . Being said that it is important to realize that photographing someone without letting them know is breach of their privacy and also might entitle you for being called “CREEPY”. It is okay to try soaking in the local culture with the help of your camera but it is not okay to take those pictures without asking for a permission.In many countries it is indeed frowned upon and can seriously get you in trouble. So next time when you want that candid shot, do ask your subject .I think they deserve this much respect. And I am sure in many cases people will be happy to pose for you if they find you genuine.
“Bigger screen means bigger photo…… so use Ipad” Tourists:
Please, lets all take this pledge together ” No more tablet pictures… “.I can never understand why would people use an ipad instead of point and shoot camera or iPhones. Not to mention those stretched out arms with enormous metal piece in hands put you on spotlight from a long distance . Holding an ipad in a public place and taking a photo screams ” I am that lame tourist.” in all the directions. Not to mention these devices are expensive and gives that impression to those shady people who were looking for loaded tourists like you.
“Slow walking” Tourists :
While I know you want bang for the buck while roaming around on the streets by staring at everything, there are many locals who just want to get to their work place. And this particular point goes out to all those who stop in the middle of the sidewalk to take pictures of tall buildings, those who stop in the middle of busy streets to stare at their maps and last not but not the least those who start crossing a busy signal when it is almost over bringing whole traffic to a complete halt. Please take a hint from the stares of passerby’s and just walk.
“I know it all!!!” Tourist:
I am sure you do your homework before reaching your destination but then there are certain things about a place that only a local can tell you. Be mindful about this next time when you start arguing with a local about which restaurant is the best for the local cuisine. You may have read a lot about the destination that you are visiting, but that still doesn’t make you an expert on the issues that locals face. Take time to understand the customs, norms and traditions. Complaining and comparing the place you are in with your homeland for anything and everything is indeed very annoying.
“Back in my home country, things are so much better than here “ Tourists :
Now this is classic and I know the comparison is unavoidable but please be mindful while doing these comparisons in front of locals. Belittling food, culture or sports team of the place you’re visiting is surely gonna land you in trouble. Want to test this ?? Try criticizing Sachin Tendulkar and Cricket all at once while visiting India. I will pray for you to stay alive. It’s always ok for a local to criticize their home , but getting a mouthful from a visitor is surely going to irk them.
“Wow this is so better than what I had expected after watching that movie ” Tourist:
I know in this digital age of media where movies play a key role in advertising tourism of any country, basing your travel opinions solely on movies is annoying as hell. And I am saying this because I can’t count how many times people have asked me if India is actually what they saw in Slumdog Millionaire.. Seriously… so should I believe that Vegas is run by mobsters coz every second gangster movie is shot there.Things like ” Oh wow ,I thought there would be slums everywhere.” just annoys hell out of me.
I don’t know what is that something about travelling that brings peculiar behavior out of people. Is it stress of travelling or over excitement of exploring new place.Now surely, this doesn’t apply to all the tourists. But I think if we cautiously make an effort of not annoying others, we can save ourselves from being labeled “that guy” or “that girl” .Is there anything that you think I missed that makes a tourist stand apart from a local crowd. I am sure you must be guilty of somethings listed above. Well I am not ashamed of confessing that I am. Feel free to add to this list in comments below. I will love to hear your opinion. Thank you for stopping by.