Monday, 8 October 2012

A note tourist traps...

I want to take this opportunity to talk about the controversial topic of tourist traps. There is an unavoidable downside to discussing your holiday plans with someone else, it seems that as soon as you mention travel they instantly become an expert on the destination at hand. The self righteous ones will tell you to avoid all the tourist traps and popular destinations because a "real" traveler should seek out a unique experience at every possible chance! At the same time your easily entertained friends will spend all their time trying to convince you to ensure you see every attraction mentioned in the Lonely Planet top ten. My advice (because I am obviously the final word in travel *sarcasm*) is to do a comfortable mixture. Tourist traps are necessary and there is no way around it! Your first trip to Paris would be a bust if you didn't see the Eiffel tower, but that doesn't mean you have to visit it every time you go to Paris. The biggest downside to tourist traps is the crowds of people trying to do exactly the same thing as you. I think that the two most successful ways to ensure you don't get frustrated with the crowds and have the entire experience ruin the whole city for you (don't even talk to me about Pisa) is firstly lower your expectations. The Statue of Liberty is much smaller than you think and Hollywood is a lot less glamourous so if you hype it up you will most probably be disappointed (I sound like a killjoy but it is human nature to try and make things look better than they actually are so if you arrive with lower expectations you will appreciate things more). Secondly, you need to research! It really makes a difference if you research things like; the best time to visit, the best place to buy tickets (avoiding queues always makes me happier), your favourite way to deal with rude people (I always enjoy doing a little dance to amuse myself while waiting for Mr Tubby McLinecutter to finish taking up my space) and the best way to have your own unique experience because essentially these sights are what you make them. Now go forth and unashamedly be a massive tourist, you can even take tacky perspective photos... I know I do.

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