Standing in the lengthy summer queue to catch the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower was mindlessly boring. Standing under the hot sweaty sun and being assailed by illegal street vendors, touts and thieves was not my idea of a good holiday.
The lengthy tedium inspired fond recollections of the at-odds pleasure we had experienced only a few days ago on the London Eye where we had enjoyed walking straight onto our own private pod by choosing to visit just prior to sunset. The stark difference in experiences reaffirmed that avoiding peak times was well worth it.
One of the worst things about being a tourist is that many of the places you want to visit are filled with OTHER TOURISTS! Here are some tips to avoid other tourists as much as possible.
Understand What Typical Tourists Do
Here is a picture of what a typical tourist will do. A typical tourist will:
- Book their holiday in peak season as that is the only time they can get off work, and if they have children then it will be school holiday times.
- Book into a hotel, resort or hostel in a tourist area of a major destination.
- Book into local sightseeing tours, or buy a ‘hop on hop off’ bus ticket to get to the major attractions.
- Eat in restaurants and cafes in the tourist area.
Once you understand what a typical tourist will do you can then make plans to avoid as many of them as possible.
When you initially plan your trip you should carefully consider the time of year you intend to visit. Do you have the option of choosing to travel in either the shoulder season or the off-peak period? If so you should plan to travel in these times, as long as the main things you intend to do and see will still be available.
If you have no choice other than to travel in the peak season then understand up front that you will have to contend with more tourists.
Consider where you intend to travel. Does all of your trip need to be in major destinations or can you mix and match with some smaller off the beaten track options? There are many ‘second tier’ tourist options which will be significantly less trafficked than the ‘first tier’ options.
Travel Accommodation Options
Consider staying away from hotels, hostels and resorts. Look for options to rent an apartment or stay in Bed and Breakfast type accommodation. These options give you the opportunity to live like a local and avoid busy tourist areas.
Premier Tourist Attractions
You still want to see some of the ‘first tier’ tourist attractions. The best way to see these attractions is to go either early or late. By using this strategy you will typically find minimal queues and you also have the advantage of avoiding the worst heat of the day.
Also look into whether you can purchase a pass to the local attractions which will enable you to skip the entry queues. These passes can often be worthwhile to save time.
Many tourists will use tour buses and ‘hop on, hop off’ buses to get around. As a result they may only see the major tourist areas. To avoid the tourists look at using public transport, using local bike hire schemes and walking to get around. You will see more of the locals, and also give yourself more opportunities to have unexpected experiences. You will also avoid turning your trip into a ‘Tick the Box’ tour.
Travel Food Options
When you need to eat or drink search out options which are away from the main tourist areas. They will typically be cheaper, provide more authentic food and will also provide you with better chances to interact with the locals.
When you travel do you aim to avoid other tourists as much as possible? Is it achievable or should you just immerse yourself in the tourist experience? Please share your story in the comments below.
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