Tourist Traps: How to Avoid Them

Tourist Traps

An astonishing 7 million people visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris every year.

While some will argue this iconic monument is an international treasure, there’s no denying it’s also one of the world’s most famous tourist traps. After all, you can experience its wonder from all over the city without actually climbing it or visiting the gift shop!

If you’re the kind of traveler interested in getting to know the real side of a city or country, you’ve arrived at the right article. Below, we tell you how to avoid the sites overrun with selfie-stick-wielding, tacky-tourist-cap-wearing visitors.

Research Before You Travel

One of the best ways to avoid tourist traps is to thoroughly check out the place you want to visit online before you book your plane tickets or accommodation.

Travel sites like TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet let users review sites, so you can get an honest insight into whether a place will be overrun with tourists.

Are the Taxi Drivers Honest?

Have you ever tried canceling a timeshare? It’s a frustrating experience at best and one of the dangers of tourist traps; without professional help, it’s hard to get an answer on the policies and contractual obligations.

Similarly, if you want to know where the tourist traps are, try hailing a taxi or two. Unfortunately, taxi drivers can be less than honest in places where tourists frequent. Maybe they’ll tell you their meter’s broken or will be reluctant to tell you how much your trip will cost upfront.

Can You See Any Locals?

Are you still asking, “What is a tourist trap?” If none of the above tips have provided the insight you need, this one should help!

When visiting a site, look to see if you can spot any locals. If none are there and the area is obviously filled with fellow tourists, you’re probably in a place designed to cater to the tourist trade.

Do the Tours Cater to the Masses?

One surefire way to end up visiting a tourist trap is by booking a tour designed to cater to the tourist trade.

Check travel sites to see what people say about the tour and see user-submitted photos and videos. Hunt down boutique, independently-run, or small tours that use the words “authentic,” “real,” or “genuine” in their information.

Alternatively, use Google maps and internet research to develop a bespoke tour itinerary.

Avoiding Tourist Traps Isn’t Always Easy—But It’s Worth the Effort

If you thoroughly research an area before you arrive and choose areas where international tourism is limited, you have the best chance to avoid tourist traps.

Of course, sometimes you’re roped into visiting an area that relies heavily on tourist income with family or friends. In this case, avoid heavily advertised areas, look for tours organized by boutique providers (or do a self-tour instead), and don’t go to places where vendors sell souvenirs.

If you’re seeking travel and tourism advice you can rely on, check out the other articles on our website.