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How to Avoid Tourist Traps

Updated on January 28, 2011

How to Avoid Tourist Traps

Whenever you start traveling you will eventually notice that a lot of the time you are falling in to tourist trap after tourist trap. Avoiding these is not particularly easy, in some cases the very thing you went to see turns out to be the tourist trap, with an exorbitant entry fee, and a gift shop maze situated at the end.

Tourist traps are simply a way of life for most travelers, fortunately there are some simple things you can do to cut down on the tourist trail, and instead find the real gems behind the tourist facade.

By avoiding the tourist trail you really will find some great places in any city, and you might even manage to get away from the tourist masses all together. You may even find yourself in another city.

Tourist Trap
Tourist Trap

How to Avoid Tourist Traps

Sometimes the biggest challenge of avoiding tourist traps is simply finding out what else to do. There are several ways to find alternatives to the tourist traps in every destination. Sites like Couchsurfing are filled with thousands of experienced travelers. You can also get iPhone guided tours such as touringZ. Having an iPhone app with tours in many global cities, many of which are created by users, is a great way to find hidden treasures, and also create your own tours for others to follow!

The important thing to remember is that while it is nice to visit certain parts of the tourist trail, see some of the World's biggest monuments, see a famous play, of visit a historical building, there is a whole lot more to the World around you. Escaping from the tourist trap could be as simple as going to an out of the way bar, meeting some of the locals, and hanging out with them around their own city.

iPhone apps and Internet communities might help you get some of the way to finding a little bit more. In the long run however it will always be the people who inhabit a city who will really be able to give you the best advice. They will know the best places to eat, to dance and to relax. they will also know which places to avoid, and which areas of a city you would be better to steer clear of,

Why Should I Avoid the Tourist Traps

You would not believe how often I am asked why the tourist traps even need to be avoided. Sometimes people want to be tourists. These people are right in some ways, the tourist areas do have a lot of interesting things.  But to really get to know the people of a city, to actually visit a city, you need to delve a little deeper than the cordoned off area for tourism.

Breaking free of the tourist area really does allow you to meet new types of people, find new types of culture, and broaden your own horizons!


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    • J Sunhawk profile image

      J Sunhawk 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      I love tourist traps. I go to various shops, buy cheap junk and give them to the kids of friends and relatives. You can always find cheap stuff on sale to buy. Friends and relatives see that you're thinking about them and appreciate it. And the kids love the junk.

      It's a win-win situation.

    • thisisoli profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Austin, Texas (From York, England!)

      Good advice right there!

    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 

      7 years ago from South East Asia

      Wise advice. My best tip to not being taken for a 'tourist ride' is not to walk around with 'Lonely Planet' or equivalent guide in your hand. Study it in your room. Make a few notes on a scrap of paper and go purposefully to your destination. If you need to check again then pop into a cafe or bar and have another look over a drink. Carrying those guides makes you a 'mark' for any scam artist who sees you.


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