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How to Avoid Tourist Traps while on Vacation

Being a seasoned traveler will often alleviate many of the escapades one will endure if caught in a location that is a tourist trap. World’s Top Tourist Traps – Forbes Traveler refers to the experience of Bruce Northam saying this, “Travel writer Bruce Northam of AmericanDetour.com says you know a real tourist trap by the noise level and inflated price tags.”

Boy isn’t that the truth. If you are surrounded by hordes of people excitedly browsing the gift shops, snapping pictures of everything but the scenery around them, paying five dollars for a post card, or piece of candy when down a few blocks and around the corner you can find it a lot cheaper, you’re in the tourist zone. Beware, or be prepared to pay high prices for things.

A good tip for avoiding tourist traps so you can get the most of a well deserved and relaxing vacation, is to research the location you are going to. Perhaps you know someone there who can be your tour guide. Some places have off the beat bed and breakfast areas where you can relax off the main throughway’s at a fraction of the cost. There are many options available when it comes to resting spots.

Familiarizing yourself with the local customs and lifestyles of the places you will visit, will help you to be more adventurous in taking a less beaten path and perhaps experiencing an adventure that will go down in history as one of your best. With all things caution is needed. Be sure you know the location and the laws so you don’t get lost or do something that can get you into trouble.

Josh Schonwald, editor of TheContrarianTraveller.com says this, “Finding alternate attractions is paramount to avoiding the worst tourist traps.” This is excellent advice. In 1995 I had the privilege of going to London, England. It was a once in a lifetime experience, so I wanted to make the most of it. My companions and I grabbed a local map of the Tube (Rail system} which is color coordinated and set out to experience London by ourselves. We mapped out the sites we wanted to see. Even though they were packed with tourist, by our finding our own way there we were able to see other things that most of the tourist didn’t get to. Beautiful gardens hidden away from the eyes of tourist. Architecture so breathtakingly beautiful, unless you happened by it like we did you would have never seen it.

So if the opportunity arises for you to get to visit certain locations, be open to exploring the less traveled paths of tourist. Of course, I would stress being aware of the customs and laws and stay in contact with your hotel or bed and breakfast, you can then have a safe and happy experience outside the areas traveled by the every day tourist.

The Forbes Traveler also brings out a good thought worth mentioning, “Experts say, the trick isn’t always avoiding tourist traps, so much as zigging when others zag.” Bruce Northam says, “Certain places, you have to go. But you can do it when the crowds aren’t quite as insane.”

Another thought to consider when traveling to places which are bound to have tourist traps is to, travel off season. You will find by traveling off season you can get cheaper fares on just about everything, and the places you visit will not be as crowded.

So when traveling, plan ahead, familiarize yourself with your vacation spots, try visiting off the beaten path places, what is expensive in a tourist locale, can be many dollars cheaper a few blocks away, and travel off season if this is available for you. Know the laws and customs. Whatever you decide to do, go for it, but be smart and be prepared.

Reference Material: World’s Top Tourist Traps – Forbes Travler