Regardless of what country or city you are traveling to, they all have the notorious tourist traps. Some are a must do regardless of who you are. Others, I want to smack people for doing because it is insanity-in my opinion.
Examples of acceptable tourist traps:
- Notable monuments/statues, I mean, why even go to Paris if you are not going to take the obligatory perfect Eiffel Tower insta picture?
- Hop On and Hop Off buses. I think that these are great especially if you are unfamiliar with the city. They help you get a feel for where you are and you hit all the main monuments and such at your leisure and with half the walking!
- Buying anything from the people in the middle of the streets screaming “how much?” “5 for 1 euro” “cheaper than free” “certified (insert item name here)” First off, it is illegal for them to be doing this. If you stop for a second and watch them, they lay their items out on a cloth with strings all around it. This is so that if/when the police come, they can gather it all up and be out of there with in seconds.
- Buying roses at night from the same people that tried to sell you 5 gondola key chains earlier in the day that will rust and turn green by tomorrow. Again, the rose selling is illegal and they will die before the end of the night.
- Choosing to sit down and eat at a restaurant right next to a big well-known area such as Lunch next to the Rialto Bridge looking out onto the Grand Canal or Dinner in San Marc Square. No. no. no. no. the view may be nice. It may even be a good insta set up but no. These restaurants are often highly priced for low quality. Instead, go around the corner to a more intimate or local place.
- Eating at a restaurant that offers a prix fix menu or a “tourist menu”. r i p o f f. You can usually tell that these are not good restaurants as they display a tacky loud and obnoxious menu, are on a main road, and have waiters calling you over to show you the menu. Again, high priced and low quality.
- Gondola rides. I guess that if you must, once is okay but, do not expect them to sing like in the movies unless you want to pay an extra 50 Euro on top of the 80 you just paid for a 30 minute ride or 140 you paid for an hour. Also if you are going at night, expect the price to be higher.
- Street Performers...y'all WALK AWAY. I have two issues with this 1. they aren't standing out there performing for their health.. they are preforming for money. If they perform they want you to pay them. 2. it could be a scam. it has been reported that a lot of people get a crowd together and start to perform. then they have someone in the crowd pick pocketing the audience. if you really feel like you need to see the man painted in all silver acting like a statue act like a statue, watch from a far.
- Wishing wells/coin tosses (exception:Trevi Fountain). stop throwin' your damn coins in there! If you ask a local, they will tell you the homeless people collect them at night. Great wish that was!
- "Don't Talk To Strangers" the most valuable thing I learned from traveling solo to Europe this past summer was that locals are the best and most informative travel resource. Sure, you can have every Rick Steve's book known to man but, a real local knows what is what. Now, I am NOT saying find some sketch ball in a dark alley, tell him your life story, bank account info and that you are traveling alone.. I am saying, if you visit a museum or monument, ask a person working there where they would recommend for a meal.
Do you fall for the traps or are you smarter than the average traveler?!