Throughout the year, the number of tourists increases more and more thanks to lower flight prices and the rise of tourist activity platforms such as Civitatis, but along with this comes a tourist mistake or two.
The tourism boom has allowed millions of people to open their minds year after year, discover new cultures, be fascinated by monuments as impressive and diverse as Machu Picchu or the Colosseum in Rome… But there are more and more tourists who aren’t aware of the impact they can have on the destination.
When we travel we need to know what mistakes to avoid, if we don’t want to be an irresponsible and irritating tourist. Below you can find a list of the top 10 tourist mistakes that you should avoid at all costs!
1. Being too relaxed
So you want to show off your new dance moves to the streets of Rome, or you want to shout out loud during your pub crawl in New York, but the locals won’t be amused! Be respectful of your neighbours, respect their schedules and above all, behave as you would in your hometown: being abroad doesn’t make you invisible or immune!
2. Not respecting the local culture
Every culture is a world unto itself, and they each deserve the utmost respect. However strange some customs or traditions may seem to you, it’s absolutely necessary that you don’t make fun of them or take them as a game, as you may offend more than one person. Don’t fall into this top 10 tourist mistake.
3. Comparing the destination to your home town
“Well, in Bristol you can eat better and cheaper”, “The metro closes at midnight? In London there’s transport all night!”, “They make such a big deal out of this? The Empire State Building is taller! These are phrases that we have all heard and even said at some point, but this is an important top 10 tourist mistake to avoid. Don’t make your experience negative and appreciate the new location.
4. Thinking you’re smarter
Bargaining to the point of exhaustion in the souk in Marrakech, not respecting the limits on taking photos in the Sistine Chapel, doing everything possible to enter a monument without paying… This tourist mistake doesn’t go down well! This can lead to all kinds of problems that are best avoided. Holidays are there to be enjoyed!
5. Not wanting to try the local cuisine
It’s perfectly acceptable to prefer your mum’s roast lunch or your dad’s pie to the pad thai on the Bangkok food tour, but don’t close your mind to it! Food is culture, and trying new recipes is a taste of a country’s culture. You’ll have time to eat your favourite dishes when you get back home, but in the meantime avoid this top 10 tourist mistake.
6. Being late for excursions or guided tours
6 am, the whole bus is ready to leave for a trip to Washington DC… And you’re late. But you’re still amazed if the group leaves without you? When you’re on the road, remember to be extremely punctual on all your tours and excursions. It’s an essential show of respect to your fellow travellers and also to your own pocket, as you may lose the chance to try out the activity.
7. Not bothering to learn a few local words
Granted, learning the Icelandic language or the Cantonese dialect in China can be mission impossible, especially for a trip lasting only a few weeks, but this is one of the most common top 10 tourist mistakes. Learning the basics doesn’t cost that much! Words like “please”, “thank you” or “good morning” can bring a smile to your face anywhere in the world, so take the trouble to learn them in the language of your destination.
8. Only exploring the superficial side of the destination
It’s logical that when you travel to Rome you’ll want to see the Pantheon or go crazy to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, but that’s not enough! Both cities and museums are always home to lesser-known wonders that are equally worth a visit, in many cases even more than the highlights! So don’t make the tourist mistake of only visiting the most popular sights, delve into the local culture and discover some real gems.
9. Bringing the city to a standstill for a selfie
All tourists want a selfie with the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen or the Manneken Pis in Brussels, but the world doesn’t revolve around you! When you want to remember the moment next to your favourite monument, be respectful of the locals and don’t take too long to take the picture – tourists, neighbours and your own fellow travellers will thank you for avoiding this tourist mistake!
10. Not respecting the environment
Who would have thought it would be hot in Lisbon in the middle of August? Be proactive and take a metal water bottle with you to avoid having to buy bottled water, thus helping to eliminate the use of plastics and reduce waste. There are hundreds of tips and practices to respect the environment, such as using a bicycle as transport instead of a car or not disturbing the nature of the destination you’re visiting. It’s important to be sustainable when you travel!