When visiting a new city or planning a trip, most people like to hit all the major stops of the big cities. You might not want to come across as a typical tourist, but there’s a reason that places like the Eiffel Tower or tours of the Pyramids are so popular.
While you’re traipsing your way around these new cities, though, you need to be wary of people trying to take advantage of typical tourists and the spots that just aren’t worth your time.
These travelers have shared the traps they’ve encountered so you won’t have to.
Don’t Fall For The Ferry Fees
“PSA: The Staten Island Ferry is FREE. If people are trying to charge you for tickets, they’re scam artists. If you’re traveling to New York, it’s worth visiting for the views, especially considering the cost, or lack thereof.”
Shouldn’t Tricking Tourists At The Vatican Count As A Sin?
“If you go to Rome and visit Vatican City, on the way to the Vatican, there will be people trying to sell you tickets, as ‘the queues are very long today.’ They say that every day. All day, every day. Ignore them. You don’t even get to see the Pope.”
Don’t Pay For Tickets At The Pyramids
“At the pyramids in Egypt, people with fake badges will tell you that you are required to pay them extra to see the Sphinx. It’s included with your park ticket.”
The Guide Books Are Misguided About Las Ramblas
“Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Lovely city, but everybody hypes up this one street that’s crowded full of people. It’s practically highlighted in every tour guide of the city, yet I still don’t understand the draw.
“Every restaurant and shop on the street is a tourist trap as well: overpriced and under-quality.”
The Dust Has Settled At Ellen’s Stardust Diner
“Ellen’s Stardust Diner. ‘Home of the Singing Waitstaff.’
“It was miserable, and not just because it was so absurdly tacky. We waited in line outside for like an hour to get in, and then the kids working made no secret of how much they hated their lives—one of them kept making self-deprecating ‘jokes’ about how much he had to bust his butt doing this for ungrateful tourists and was wasting his life away, all because he was told it might lead to his Big Break. I spent the whole meal wanting to die.”
The Prawns Are A Trap In Portugal
“Had this in Portugal at a restaurant… The restaurant first brought out olives as we were browsing, then we ordered, and 5 minutes later they came out with bread, something else, and these prawns—all of which we did not order.
“I asked if it was just for the table since we didn’t order them and got them to admit that no, they were not free. They just put food on our table hoping we’d touch it and be charged a huge amount.”
Never Going Back To Cinque Terre
“Cinque Terre. And it’s a damn shame because that place is beautiful. Just chock full of tourists, unhappy shopkeepers, and over-priced trinkets. Still glad I went, but wouldn’t go back.”
Shine Your Own Shoes In Shanghai Or In Turkey
“In Turkey, shoeshine operators ‘accidentally’ dropping the brush in front of you then offering to clean your shoes after you stop to pick it up. Followed by charging an extortionate price for the job.”
“In Shanghai, they put the shining grease on your shoe when you are walking by. Then you have to get your shoes shined or you end up with one shiny spot. One guy also tried to do it on my canvas shoes.”
What’s So Special About A Rock?
“Plymouth Rock. It is the most underwhelming thing you will ever see. It is literally just an average-sized rock with 1620 carved into it sitting at the bottom of a pit.”
Scammers At Sacré-Coeur
“Scammers at Sacré-Coeur in Paris. They block a chokepoint on the stairs up to the top of the hill and will pester you about signing some bollocks petition. If you are lucky, they will just demand some money after you sign. If you are unlucky, you’ll get pickpocketed while distracted and signing.”
Only Use ATMs You Trust In Europe
“Look up exchange rates before you get there, and use ATMs inside bank branches. There are companies that operate ATMs in airports and train stations who just want to take advantage of confused tourists by offering them terrible exchange rates and setting the default amount for withdrawal too high.
“In Prague for example, some ATMs have as their default withdrawal amounts the equivalent of a month’s rent.”
Promotional Pushing In Phuket
“In Phuket, our taxi from the airport had to make ‘a quick stop’ at a travel agency. He left us in the back of the cab so he could ‘go to the bathroom.’
“One of the salesmen from the travel agency came out speaking perfect English trying to trick us into buying every type of tour, luxury hotel, dinner—you name it and he was trying to sell it.”
Haggle Your Way Through The Mercato Nuovo
“ALSO if you’re in outdoor markets like the Mercato Nuovo in Florence, always haggle. Things are priced way higher than they are actually valued because they know tourists will spend ridiculous amounts of money.”
Watch The Ball Drop On NYE At Home
“Times Square for New Year’s Eve. Why stand in the crowd for hours in the freezing cold (with no chance to leave to use a bathroom) for something that lasts just a few seconds, and then deal with the massive crowds heading out?”
Stick To New York’s Broadway
“Nashville, Tennessee: Anything on Broadway. These aren’t soon to be breakout country stars, they are people who should have given up 15 years ago. And the food on Broadway is horrible and not a reflection of the awesome food Nashville has to offer.”
Overshadowed By Señor Frogs
“Nassau, Bahamas. It has a few things worth seeing, but they are overshadowed by Señor Frogs, droves of annoying cruise people, and locals trying to sell you stuff everywhere you turn.”
Believe It Or Not, It Was Awful
“Ripley’s believe it or not was awful. Went to one in San Antonio, near the Alamo. Was foolish enough to buy a package that included tickets to a wax museum and a 4-D theater.
“Utter crap. All of it. Couldn’t believe that they can sleep at night selling tickets to such a rundown, low-effort, waste of time.”
Dunn’s Fall Was A Dud
“Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica was massively crowded with people climbing up the falls. All of the natural rocks were covered with cement—like it was poured down from the top.
“Groups were told to hold hands as they climbed, and the guides would run ahead and take video to sell back to everyone later, while encouraging everyone to yell ‘Yah mon!’ and pretend they were enjoying themselves.”
Save Your Time And Support A Smaller Business
“The ‘original’ Starbucks in Pike Place Market in Seattle. A) It’s not the original. B) It’s unbelievably crowded all day, every day.”
Let’s be honest, when is any Starbucks ever not busy?
Too Kitschy Ketchikan
“Ketchikan, Alaska. I went on a Disney cruise in Alaska and every town we visited was the exact same with the same merchandise at every store, everything was marked up 40% what you would find anywhere else.
“We visited three towns, all the exact same, but I can only remember the name of the one.”