How to avoid tourist traps

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Tourist traps are places and attractions which are aimed solely at tourists. For this reason, they’re insanely overpriced and often of poor quality, seeing as they know that tourists aren’t likely to return for a second visit anyway. So, we’ve got some tips for you that can help you to avoid tourist traps, meaning you can find more authentic, cultural locations, as well as better quality food and service.

Look for languages

If a restaurant or attraction is advertised in more languages than you knew existed – or even just three – then you’ve found yourself a tourist trap. To avoid being sucked into the expensive and poor quality traps, look for places which are advertised in only the country’s native language. This means it is aimed at locals so you might find a much nicer place, with more affordable services. So, if you fancy a traditional meal in Thailand, look for the menu you don’t understand, as bizarre as that sounds, rather than the restaurant which offers a menu in a choice of 18 different languages.

Avoid the popular places

If you’re visiting a landmark or tourist location, try to find a hotel, shops, and restaurants a little way from there. The further from the main sites you are, the more authentic places become. As above, areas which are aimed less at tourists, or are less popular, are more than likely going to serve you better food, charge you less, and treat you better. You might even be able to learn more about the culture and locals in the area.

Guidebooks and online research

One of the most important things to do to avoid traps is research. As well as looking out for a ton of translations, you also want to look out for what people say about different places. Nothing will ruin your vacation quite like a pushy local trying to force you into their shop because they want tourists’ cash. If a restaurant is recommended in a travel guide or site, it’s a tourist trap. If it’s got online reviews about hawkers on the street trying to entice people in, it’s a tourist trap. If reviews say it’s extortionate and wasn’t even that nice… well, you get the picture. Ask locals for recommendations and find quieter places a little further from the main tourist hubs.

Watch your transport

If possible, try to use public transport when you’re abroad, rather than taxis and other services aimed at seriously overcharging tourists. Taxi drivers know they can make a quick buck out of tourists who don’t know the area and will pay whatever price they name, as they don’t have another choice. Therefore, public transport is likely to save you quite a bit.

If you prefer safety in numbers and would rather stick with the hundreds of other tourists, then, by all means, do that, but if you would prefer to get good service, products, and food, for a significantly smaller price tag, deviate from the tourism norms. Look for local areas and authentic companies, and you could save yourself some money while having a considerably better experience than your tourist counterparts.

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