If you’ve ever lived in a tourist town, then you know that clueless visitors are often more trouble than they (or their wallets) are worth. And because you’ve likely tripped over enough clueless clods, you probably already know how NOT to be one when you’re the out-of-towner.
But in case you don’t know, we’ve enumerated these few easily avoidable vacation pitfalls to help you enjoy your next trip and not make a spectacle of yourself.
Making no attempt to blend in/trying too hard to fit in
There’s a fine line to tread when visiting someplace new: you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb, but trying to avoid being “that tourist guy” can make you look like a foolish wannabe. If you simply must wear your Mets cap and dress Asics, at least follow these two basic rules: shirts with the name of the place you’re visiting should only be worn once you’re home, while your country flag tees shouldn’t be worn… at all.
Taking pictures of everything
While it’s always nice to enjoy vacation photos, it’s even nicer to enjoy the actual vacation. If you spend the entire trip trying to capture the absolute best shot of the Taj Mahal, it cheapens the whole experience. Not to mention, it can drive your travel partner(s) insane. Take the photo and put the camera down.
Skipping local restaurants for the stuff you eat at home
Even if you’re not a diehard foodie willing to try anything once, there’s really no excuse for dining at the Hard Rock Cafe in Florence. Unless you collect the pint glasses. OK, still no. You’ve already spent a boatload to fly miles away from the local Cracker Barrel, so why not give the regional specialties a try? If you don’t like ’em, you can at least feel justified when you tell people that fresh pasta and Chianti are totally overrated.
Breaking the law
Being a foreigner, you’ve already got one strike against you. Don’t add fuel to the fire by starting a fight, relieving yourself on a statue, or flaunting your Buddha tattoo. If you’re lucky, you’ll spend an hour in a holding cell before paying a fine. If you’re unlucky, the arresting officers might opt to give you a wood shampoo instead, or worse.
Expecting every shop to take credit cards
You might think plastic should be an acceptable form of payment in every Mumbai shirt peddler’s back-alley stall, but think again. Not only is it impractical in some places, but not all shops want to pay the fees that accompany accepting credit cards. Be smart and keep cash on hand, or else you might not get to take that hilarious “most bargained” tee home with you.