As a British citizen who has also lived in the U.S., I’m in a privileged position to see the tourist traps that Americans often fall for while traveling in Europe. These scenarios are a blueprint for how not to act in European cities. If you want to move on from a typical tourist to a traveler exploring new countries, avoid these ten things.
1. Don’t Rent Cars in Major Cities
“Don’t rent a car if you’re going to stay at (in) a major capital; it’s not worth it,” advises the first continental cousin. “It’s much better to use public transport and get an occasional Uber.” European cities mostly have advanced, efficient public transport. Furthermore, you will experience a richer form of the culture.
2. Actually Leave The Capital Cities
I have a particular affinity for warning Americans that London is about as English as New York. As cool a city as my capital can be, a long weekend will suffice. We have far more civilized cities to enjoy, such as Bath or Durham — and this goes for all European countries. A commenter agrees, “Much like the U.S., many other big cities have their own distinct style and a lot to offer.”
3. Refuse Street Flowers
Sadly, with huge cities comes opportunities for people on the fringes of society, such as undocumented visitors. They have a series of money-making scams and guilt-based grifts you must be wary of, such as giving you flowers or herbs. “Once it is in your hands, they start asking for money. They even gave a flower to one of my kids and then wouldn’t take it back,” warns a tourist. “Just set it on the ground and walk away.”
4. Never Tell Anyone Where You Are Staying
Liam Neeson cannot be there to save us all in Europe. For obvious reasons, never reveal to strangers which hotel or district you stay in. Someone visiting Rome speaks of a scam where people try to attach a wrist bracelet on tourists for supposed cash. However, they will use these bracelets to mark someone and source their hotel — never accept these gifts.
5. Fall Into Canals
The Dutch often lament the number of tourists coming to their egalitarian, high-tech city centers. However, densely populated cities with many canals come with health risks, and far too many tourists fall into canals. “Wait, that’s not part of the normal tourist program for Amsterdam?” jokes a commenter. A Dutch local sets them straight, saying, “Falling in canal no; obstructing the bicycle path, very much.”
6. Blocking Bike Lanes
American cities are mostly automobile-friendly, pedestrian-exclusive places, though this has been improving more recently. While Britain plays catch up, most European cities are a cyclist’s dream. However, stand in the bike lane at your own risk! “If the paving is red, you’re on a bike path,” jokes one Euro-cyclist. “If it’s not red, you might still be on a bike path.” You’ve been warned — kind of.
7. Reveal Your Name To Strangers
The tourist scammer relies on people’s better nature, namely the guilt of not treating locals nicely. Never reveal your name to a street peddler, notes one contributor. “They will rush to personalize something and then cause a scene if you won’t buy it,” says the tourism hawk. “Guilt is a helluva thing for these guys.”
8. Look Like A Wealthy Tourist
Unfortunately, in some poorer areas of Europe, dressing like wealthy tourists is a flag for any city’s unsavory elements — jewelry, expensive shoes, or sunglasses will make you look like an easy mark.
9. Ignore Customs or Local Laws
In Germany, it is illegal to mock national socialism in the form of a raised arm salute. This insult can be filed with taking selfies at the Holocaust museum, writing narcissistic remarks in the Anne Frank Museum visitor log, or denying the Holocaust — which is “illegal in 18 European countries,” according to a commenter.
10. Choose The Closest Restaurant to Attractions
Another tourist sage gives American holidaymakers sound culinary advice, wearing people to avoid “restaurants in touristy areas that have signs out front with pictures of the meals and the price featured prominently.”
These are invariably not the best place to eat — food factories focused more on profit than quality. Another member takes it further, saying to keep walking “if the menu is translated to several languages that aren’t spoken in the country.”
People From This State Get Scammed The Most While Traveling
According to a Scams.info study, Indiana residents fall victim to travel scams the most — about 5.20 times on average. Travelers from Montana, Connecticut, Nebraska, and Kentucky follow them.
Travelers Beware: The 8 Most Common Travel Scams Around The World
A shocking 52% of Americans surveyed have either lost money to travel scams or know someone who has, with the average amount lost totaling $380. So keep your money in your pocket by preparing to face these most common scams targeting tourists around the world.
The Safest Places to Travel Announced
For the eighth year in a row, travel insurance provider Berkshire Hathaway has combined travelers’ feedback with data to create the State of Travel Insurance Safest Destinations report.
So if you want to book an international vacation in 2023, take a travel planning shortcut and book a trip to one of their 15 safest countries or 15 safest cities.
Dream Destinations Unveiled: TIME Magazine’s Exclusive List of the World’s Greatest Travel Spots
Want to explore our big beautiful world but need help figuring out where to start? Well, TIME magazine revealed its fifth annual list of the World’s Greatest Places, highlighting 50 extraordinary travel destinations around the world.
To compile this list of the top spots to visit this year, TIME solicited nominations from its international network of correspondents and contributors, with an eye toward those offering new and exciting experiences. The result is a combination of far-flung and familiar spots plus seven don’t miss U.S. destinations for those staying closer to home.
For the Second Year in a Row, Travelers Voted This Vacation Destination the Best in the World
TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award winners are chosen by millions of travelers from around the world who provide their real and unbiased reviews or opinions on destinations, activities, and experiences. And for the second year in a row, the luxe Middle East destination Dubai was voted the #1 place to go in the world.
This article was produced by Planner at Heart and sourced from Reddit.