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"Tourists Always Fall For It": Locals Are Sharing The Common Mistakes That Travelers Make Around The World

"It's a shame that people fall for this, because there are so many quieter, underrated attractions to see."

If you're a tourist in a new place, it's easy to commit some travel faux pas. But with a little research and understanding for the local customs, you can avoid falling victim to these rookie tourist mistakes. So I browsed the subreddit r/travel and collected responses from the BuzzFeed community. Here are some common mistakes that tourists make in popular destinations around the world.

1. "Underestimating the size of Australia. No, you can’t do a day trip to Cairns from Brisbane. That's like a two day drive. Even driving to Sydney from Brisbane would take you 12 hours."

A car driving next to the ocean.
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2. "They ask: 'I’m going to Oslo, what’s your best advice for seeing the northern lights?' Oslo is too far south to be a reliable destination to see the Northern Lights.”

Northern lights about a fishing town.
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3. "They trust taxi drivers in Greece. When you're in my home country, never trust them. You're just asking to be overcharged. Stick to renting a car or, at the very least, ask a local for typical cab prices before you get in the car."

A taxi beneath an old structure in Athens.
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4. "Eating pretty much anywhere on Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Besides La Boqueria, the city's most famous covered marketplace, there isn't much to be found on busy Las Ramblas in terms of decent food. In fact, most places are huge tourist traps that will lure you in and then charge you a premium for a very bad meal. Instead, walk a few minutes to the Gothic Quarter or El Born neighborhood for amazing restaurants."

A busy pedestrian street with lots of people.
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5. "People come to the US expecting to see too much in one visit. Unless you're prepared to shell out thousands of dollars on very coordinated flights, you aren’t going to see the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, the Alamo, Hollywood and Yosemite Park all in one week. It's a big country, so pick a few states and stick to that."

Statue of Liberty and Tour Boat and lower Manhattan.
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6. "Underestimating how expensive the cost of living is in Norway. I've seen jaws drop when tourists discover the price of the two beers they ordered."

People dining outside in a town square.
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7. "Most people who travel to Taiwan just visit the capital, Taipei, or they go down the west coast. But locals will tell you this is a mistake because the magic is in the east. Yilan is an amazing county with all the allures of Taipei plus beautiful waterfalls and mountains, but a fraction of the cost. If you enjoy hiking, Hualien is the best place to see the amazing Taroko Gorge. Best of all, Taiwan's public transportation makes it easy to see these unique destinations beyond Taipei."

A view of a road and buildings against the sea and sky at sunset.
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8. "Sticking to the touristy neighborhoods in Paris and not exploring the rest of this huge city. Sure, the Eiffel Tower is iconic and Notre Dame is gorgeous, but make sure to spend some time exploring parts of the city where local Parisians hang out and tourists don't often go. These places are total gems. Not sure where to begin? Here are a few suggestions."

A quiet neighborhood by a canal in Paris.
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9. "Tourists visiting London think the Royal Guard in London are just men in silly hats that are not allowed to move. Actually, they're military men who will absolutely knock you out if you mess with them."

The Queen's guard outside Buckingham Palace.
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10. "When you sit down to eat in a restaurant in Portugal, the waiter will usually bring you bread, olives, or some other snacks. I always see tourists get mad when they are charged for eating these seemingly 'free' snacks, but that's just how things work here. If you eat it, expect to pay for it. If you don't touch it, your waiter will take it away and pretend like [they] never existed."

Olives, butter, and bread on a table.
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11. "This happens at beaches all over Australia, but specifically Bondi Beach all the time: People swim out of the flags and then get stuck in rip tides or into water where they're surrounded by surfers."

Aerial View of Sydney Bondi Beach.
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12. "Most tourists who go to Marrakesh book a hotel room, but you should really stay in a riad (a traditional Moroccan house built around a garden) rather than at a hotel or hostel. Riads are a big part of the Marrakech experience. It's unique and the hospitality is awesome. Usually the staff or owners can show you around the chaotic and bustling medina, which is especially helpful."

The courtyard of a riad in Morocco.
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13. "People always visit Hong Kong thinking it's a cheap South Asian destination like Thailand. Yeah...not so much. Hong Kong is pricey. It's an amazing place to visit if you have some cash, but not so much for backpackers on a strict budget."

People eating dum sum at a restautant.
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14. "Coming to New York City and spending time in Times Square. Unless they're going out of necessity to see a Broadway show or something of the sort, tourists avoid this place like the plague. I understand the desire to see Times Square for a few minutes, but make it a quick trip. And don't even bother having a meal there. You'll find the same chain restaurants that exist all over America...only the same meal will cost you triple the price."

Billboards lit up in Times Square at dusk.
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15. "In Japan, tourists speak loudly to others or on the phone in public settings. But that makes you seriously stand out in Japan, where people are generally well-mannered and try not to bother anyone with loud talking, music, or games on their phones. If you have to talk, use your inside voice."

A busy intersection in Tokyo.
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"In public places, quiet restaurants and cafés, and especially on public transportation, the Japanese are silent or discreet about talking to one another. If you want to talk out loud, do so in a way that doesn't draw attention."

Nusrat Sultana


16. "Tourists visiting Los Angeles always underestimate the time it'll take to get from point A to point B. Our traffic is terrible, and you should add 30 minutes to an hour whenever you want to drive anywhere."

Cars on a highway driving towards a city.
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17. "I live in Rome, and I find that tourists come and visit only the city centre (home to the most popular tourist sites like the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum), but they neglect all the other interesting historical sites and nice neighborhoods that Rome has to offer. It's a shame, because there are so many quieter, underrated attractions and everything is easy to get to from the center of the city."

A crowd gathered around Rome's Trevi Fountain.
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18. "Foreigners often don't understand how big America is. One of my dad’s friends was planning a vacation here and was describing his itinerary. He wanted to drive cross-country from New York to Florida to California. He was planning on doing it in five days."

A car on the Olympic National Park road.
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19. "In Canada, don't you dare try to put ketchup on our poutine. Look, I'm a huge ketchup fan, but poutine is already covered in gravy and cheese curds, ketchup doesn't belong anywhere near it."

Poutine served in a takeaway plate.
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20. "Lots of visitors will only visit London, but the U.K. has great seaside towns like Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, and more that are well worth a visit. British seaside holidays have a unique charm that you won't find in the city."

Coastline of Jurassic Coast in Dorset.
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21. "This one is for my hometown of Austin, Texas. A common mistake tourists make here is wasting half a day waiting in line for Franklin's BBQ. Look, the brisket is good, but it's not worth spending half a day of your coveted vacation in line-level good. There are a ton of barbecue joints with just as good or better brisket that have little to no wait."

A plate of Texas barbecue food.
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22. "In Thailand, those who don't know the local customs will often enter someone's home without taking their shoes off. In most places in Thailand (and actually in most Asian countries) it’s customary to take your shoes off before you enter someone’s home. Tourists will just brazenly walk into someone’s house without realizing the proper etiquette."

Two pairs of shoes in a hallway.
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23. "In Paris, tourists always fall for eating their meals in touristy neighborhoods. Restaurants in these areas are pricey and mediocre, serving tourists what they think is traditional French food. If you're in Paris, avoid restaurants around the main attractions like the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, or the Champs Elysées. Instead, go find a cute bistro in the 9th, 10th, 11th, 19th, or 20th arrondissements, where locals actually go out and eat."

People eating outdoors at a Parisian bistro.
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24. "Attempting to spend the whole afternoon shopping in Spain. It's fairly common for stores to close here from roughly 2–4 p.m. (it's called the siesta and it's prime lunch time for Spaniards). So get your shopping done in the morning or wait until stores reopen in the late afternoon.

A building façade in Spain.
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25. "Flying into Manila and spending your whole trip there. Manila might be your typical point of entry to the Philippines, but if you really want to enjoy this tropical country, you need to think beyond the capital. The Philippines has 17 regions, so Manila is hardly representative of the entire archipelago. Each one of the regions has something unique to offer — from tropical beaches and breathtaking mountain ranges to unique cuisine and culture — so it's best to see as much of this diverse country as you can during your stay."

A gorgeous, tropical beach.
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26. "Foreigners almost never realize that everything is really far apart in Canada so plan accordingly. If you're staying in Calgary you're not just going to make a weekend drive to Montreal. Tourists from Europe and Asia always seem to underestimate the sheer size of the country."

An RV driving on a road beside a lake.
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27. "In Italy, only tourists order their coffee to go. Italians drink their espressos at the bar. You'll never see a local carrying a tumbler filled with drip coffee, much less a to-go cup from a local café. Oh, and you won't find any frappuccinos here."

A cut of espresso on a table outdoors.
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28. "In Iceland, people don't realize how expensive everything is here, especially going out to eat. If you're going to a restaurant, expect $30–50 entrees everywhere. Mix in some cheap street food (like Icelandic hot dogs) or find accommodations with a kitchen so you can cook."

A hand holding an Icelandic hot dog.
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29. "In Hawaii, tourists can be ignorant about swimming. ALWAYS check the beach conditions and respect the ocean. You could end up in brown water, getting sucked out to sea, being bashed against the rocks at Oheo Gulch. Also, don't underestimate the power of the ocean. Small shore breaks can seriously hurt you if you're not paying attention."

A tropical black sand beach.
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30. "Eating only at upscale restaurants in Mexico City. It's an amazing city and there are sooo many amazing restaurants to try, but ignoring Mexico City's incredible street food scene would be a huge mistake. Street food stands are literally everywhere, serving the best blue corn quesadillas, life-changing al pastor tacos, and enormous tortas. When planning out your meals, prioritize finding a balance between restaurant dining and street food."

Close up of a Mexican hands making tacos at the street.
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What's a common tourist mistake that foreigners make in your home city? Tell us in the comments below.