Travel is exciting and fun and can feel exotic, but some travelers must remember that they are visitors to others’ homes. In addition, they sometimes forget that they’re temporary guests of a place and should respect the residents and the land. Here are 20 things locals want visitors to their destination to stop doing.
Leaving Initials and Other Graffiti Behind
No one needs a permanent reminder of who was there or who loved whom. Leave the trees, bricks, and other vandalism-prone features as they are.
Trespassing on Private Property
Tourist towns often have charming residential properties but are not public museums. It’s astonishing how often visitors decide to tour private property and even peek inside doors and windows.
Ignoring Warning Signs and Creating Rescue Situations
When there are signs warning of unstable cliffs, dangerous currents, and other hazards, pay heed to them. Don’t be that person who gets stranded on the rocks when the tide comes in and needs a rescue that endangers the first responders.
Bears, buffalo, moose, and other large animals are dangerous and unpredictable. Every year, people get injured or killed while seeking photo ops next to these animals. Even the tiny, “harmless” animals deserve to be left alone and appreciated only from a distance.
The local wildlife doesn’t need our help finding food. Human foods can be dangerous to them. Plus, fed animals can lose their ability to forage, leaving them to starve in the winter when all the tourists are gone.
Stopping in the Middle of the Road
Spotting wildlife or a lovely vista doesn’t give the right to stop the car and take pictures. This creates jams, frustration, and accidents. If there’s no safe pullout to use, appreciate what you saw and hope there’s a pullout the next time.
Taking Selfies All the Time
Please keep in mind your surroundings. People constantly posing for selfies and recording on their phones intrude on other people’s enjoyment of the location. Sometimes, these people suffer fatal accidents when they walk backward off a cliff trying to get the perfect selfie shot.
Complaining About the Sounds and Smells of Nature
One of the things locals find most confounding is tourists who show up and complain about all the nature, keeping them awake or distracted. If you don’t like nature as it is, visit cities instead.
Being Condescending to Locals
The locals are there to make a living. It’s their home. Please treat them with respect no matter how large the perceived difference is between their socioeconomic status and yours.
Leaving Trash Behind
Locals cannot stand when tourists come and then leave a mess. Always clean up after yourself. Leave the place the way you found it or better. As the saying goes, “Take only pictures, leave only footprints.”
Parking Where You Feel Like It
Being a paying tourist doesn’t mean you get to park in handicapped spaces or take up two spaces. As a guest, all the same rules still apply.
Expecting Locals To Do Things Your Way
Part of the thrill of visiting new places is experiencing different customs and ways of life. If they do things differently where you’re visiting, don’t get impatient or bossy; take it as an opportunity to broaden your perspective.
Acting Like a Jerk Because You’re Paying
No, the customer is not always right. Paying the bills doesn’t entitle anyone to act like a jerk, make a mess, etc. Being a good guest means you’ll be welcome back.
Threatening To Leave a Bad Review
Again, if something isn’t how you like it, don’t try to intimidate others into giving you what you want. Threatening to leave a bad review out of spite is one of the most malicious things people can do to a small business.
Because it’s vacation, people often drink more alcohol than usual. That doesn’t make it any less dangerous to drive under the influence and endanger yourself and others.
Not Being Properly Equipped
Before you set out on a hiking trail, have the proper clothing and equipment for the weather and the terrain. Don’t be that person hiking a hot desert trail in flip-flops with a tiny water bottle.
Making a Ton of Noise
There’s a time and place for partying, playing loud music, talking on the phone loudly, or otherwise making a lot of noise, especially in public. It isn’t late at night in your hotel or rented house or when everyone else around you is trying to enjoy the scenery.
Not Respecting the Land
Once, some Colorado locals described out-of-state ATV riders going off the trail and tearing through delicate alpine tundra. This scars the land for decades. Don’t deface, degrade, or destroy the land around you.
Locals have endless tales of oblivious tourists sauntering out into traffic as they go about their itineraries. This isn’t just inconsiderate; it’s also dangerous, especially to the unaware tourists who will lose if a car strikes them.
Not Respecting Local Customs and Rules
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” This has always been the best advice for having a positive experience and staying out of trouble when you venture from home to become a guest somewhere else.
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