It’s OK to be a Tourist, Too

March 13, 2010

It's candy! It's Vegas! It's silly, but awesome!

Here’s one more tip from Pico Iyer:

“Embrace the prospect of being a tourist. Some snooty types will tell you that they’re “travelers,” not tourists. But if being a tourist means wanting to see all the attractions that make a town unique, then what’s so bad about that?”

Generally, I do prefer the term “traveller”. To me that means that I don’t zip by a park to get to another souvenir stand. It means I talk to locals on buses, shop in grocery stores and try to integrate myself into a culture rather than watch it go by through a tour bus window.

But sometimes you should be a tourist, because touristy things can be a lot of fun. If you’re in London, why not take a spin in the London Eye? In Melbourne, ride the free City Circle Tram to get a feel for the city. Vegas is one big tourist trap, but you can have an incredible time there for not a lot of money.

(And if you’re going to do museums, theme parks, aquariums and tours, be sure to get an ISIC and take advantage of all the student discounts those places offer.)

I always say that you should pack an open mind, realistic expectations and flexibility, but you should also leave your “snooty” pretentions at home – something I need to remember every now and then too.

One comment

  1. “It means I talk to locals on buses, shop in grocery stores and try to integrate myself into a culture rather than watch it go by through a tour bus window”.

    I agree that this is a extremely important when visiting new places. Instead of seeing the great attractions of a place just so that you can “check them off your list” , you really experience the culture and the traditions of the place. Our website, http://www.lifebeyondtourism.com, sends the exact same message. It encourages people to look deeper into their own culture and heritage in order to share it with others.
    The website Life Beyond Tourism gives people all over the world the opportunity to share their own cultures, heritages, traditions and travel experiences through posting photos on the photoblogs. These photos should represent what culture, heritage and tradition means to each of us. I think someone with your insight should definitely check it out. You can browse through tons of interesting photos, upload your own or simply leave some comments! The website will provide all the directions you need. Have a great day!

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