Monday, July 24, 2017

Do Tourists Have To Be So Touristy?

Being a frequent traveler and a D.C. Resident during the summer tourist season, I've seen more than my fair share of tourists. I always find myself asking the question: do tourists have to be so touristy? Do they have to stand out so much? As a tourist myself, my goal is to never stand out, but for most people it seems as if they are really trying to do so. Do tourists realize how they seem?

Some of my major pet peeves with tourists include the way they dress, the way they carry themselves (the amount of confidence they have), selfie sticks (and other photo taking idiosyncrasies), and their inability to handle weather (rain, heat, etc.). Some of these things are hard for people to adjust, such as having confidence while they wander around a foreign city. Other things seem like common sense that people generally have but seem to lose when they are traveling (e.g. going to India in monsoon season without an umbrella). Why is this?

When I travel, I always try to be prepared and still be myself. I tend to dress the same as I would when I'm home. There is no need for random touristy clothes. I also try to walk around like I know what I'm doing, even if I don't. I think this makes me a safer traveler. I'm not saying I'm not susceptible to crime, but I'm also not making myself a target. I also try to plan ahead, so I know what I might need while I'm traveling. And the more and more I travel, the less and less photos I take. It seems to help me remember my trip better and it doesn't make me stand out as a tourist (aka someone who isn't familiar with their surroundings).

In general, tourists are vulnerable, but usually it's because they make themselves that way. I like to think that the less touristy you are the stronger of a tourist you are. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to protect yourself while still doing what you love.

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