If you have traveled at all, then you know what it’s like to be a tourist. Sometimes it’s great, but sometimes you feel like you’re sticking out like a sore thumb. There might be a reason for that.
Here is a list of things that tourists happen to do in certain areas that really drive the locals crazy. The biggest piece of advice we've got is to just remember that while you're visiting, other people are living. Be respectful.
National Parks and Toilets
One Reddit user has a simple wish for people visiting his place of work. Roughneck16 says, “I work for the National Park Service at a popular tourist destination in Arizona. Our biggest challenge is getting Chinese tourists not to stand on top of the toilet seats. We even installed signs with instructions.” While his username doesn’t make us imagine the most friendly of faces, he or she is not alone.
In the Jackson Hole News & Guide, Mike
“Our maintenance staff was seeing basically broken toilet seats, especially in the vault toilets,’ Grand Teton Park spokesman Andrew White said, ‘In all, about a dozen of the 42 vault toilets in Grand Teton park wound up broken this summer.’”Grand Teton National Park saw 4.8 million visitors in 2016 so you can imagine that 42 broken toilets could become an ongoing issue.
The park has since posted visual posters on how to use the toilets properly, including to flush the handle with your hand instead of your foot and to throw toilet paper into the toilet, not the trash.
Amsterdam and Bike Lanes
If you have ever been to Amsterdam, then you know this situation. You’re meandering along and taking some photos, enjoying the sites, when you hear a rapid bell sound coming closer and closer. You look over your shoulder only to narrowly dodge a cyclist speeding down the bike lane. They were not going to stop.
That's just one of the lessons in traffic in Amsterdam, as they have lanes for bikes, cars, and busses, plus their tram
Writing for CNN, Barry Neild explains his experience with Amsterdam and bikes, saying, “By the time my first hour is up, I've been verbally abused for halting abruptly in a cycle lane, and been loudly tooted at by a tram after getting my tires stuck in its tracks [and] a motor scooter nearly rammed me into a canal.”
There are so many bikes it looks like the Tour de France for normal riders, but in truth, it can be a nightmare. "Tourists think they're in Disneyworld," says Geert Gielissen, who runs FietsConsult, a side-street cycle hire and repair shop in the Dutch capital. "And Dutch people think they're God on a bicycle. It's a problem. As soon as summer starts, I sell more of these things [holding up a giant bike bell] than anything else."
Washington, D.C is one of the biggest growing cities in America. If you’re not moving there, you might be visiting, as their numbers keep them in the top 10 of most visited cities in the USA. Tourists brought in over $7 billion to Washington, D.C with numbers topping around 18 million domestic visitors alone. Thus, there lies the problem.
Visitors may be spending money, which is great, but they aren’t living there, simply visiting. One of the biggest complaints from D.C. locals is that the tourists are never really in a rush and don’t know the etiquette of the city, nor do they bother to learn.
Rule number one: stand on the right side of the escalators, walk up on the left. You may not think that is such an issue, but D.C’s Wheaton Station Metro has the longest escalator in the Western hemisphere and the third longest in the world. Dealing with that, along with all the other issues that pop up with crowded public transportation, is a lot easier when everyone follows the rules.
The issue is a consistent problem, even prompting the Washington Post to say about tourists, “They crowd downtown sidewalks, and their charter buses block the streets. They pester the locals for directions. Worst of all, they stubbornly refuse to learn to stand on the right, walk on the left on Metro escalators.”
If you want to see some more local reactions, check out the replies from D.C.ers to this Reddit comment about people holding up the escalators.
Australia and Wildlife
Most people have heard multiple stories about the crazy animals roaming the country of Australia, including the one about the guy who stormed at a large kangaroo who had taken his dog hostage—he ended up punching said kangaroo squarely in the face.
The point is, Australia has some crazy wildlife, which is all the more reason why Australians hate when tourists come to their homeland and feed them, pet them, or do anything that might endanger the animal or future people.
Just like how bears get accustomed to eating from a trash bin, wild animals who are willingly given human treats may soon begin to expect humans to feed them and then get angry if they don’t. It’s an incredibly dangerous cycle, so much so that Australia's Northern Territory has an entire page on its site dedicated to safety for tourists and wild animals.
The header reads: “The Northern Territory is home to some of the world's most exquisite wildlife, and some of the most dangerous. To keep safe on your holiday, avoid feeding and playing with native animals, and exercise caution when swimming.”
These rules don’t just apply to Australia either; feeding any wild animal creates a dangerous cycle so don’t do it. If you need further proof, watch this video:
Don't worry—nobody was harmed in this video. It goes to show, though, that wild animals are, in fact, wild, and they'll do anything to get a bit more food if they think it's available.
Los Angeles and Celebrities
We get it—Los Angeles is home to most of the celebrities in the entertainment industry. It’s the movie and television capital of the world, home to all the award shows, and where paparazzi even wait outside fancy restaurants. But that doesn't mean the people who live there know where the celebrities are. Celebrities don't wear tracking devices.
I used to be a tour guide at a movie studio and while we, the tour guides, understand you want to see famous people, it’s not like we ever really knew where they would be. It was all happenstance; more than likely they’d be indoors, not out walking around.
Now if you do see someone famous, whether you're in LA or not, try to be cool about it. Sure you can wave or say hello, but remember, they're still people who don't love having their personal space invaded. If you're at a studio tour, for instance, keep in mind that it's still a place of business and those celebrities you love are there for work.
It comes with the job to have fans if you’re a celebrity, but it can be a little much to deal with when you have a bunch of tourists asking for a selfie while you’re trying to memorize your lines, find out where your meeting is, or generally just live your life. It's key to always ask politely for a photo; never assume you can just walk up and take it. Don't run up to them—it'll freak them out and you could potentially get hurt.
The real pro tip from LA locals? If you're really dying to see a celebrity in La La Land, skip the guided bus tours; go to the popular clubs, Instagram–worthy coffee shops, and Whole Foods.