“Would you like to take this hop-on hop-off tour of Washington DC?”
“No I’m from New York!”
“So you’re visiting DC then, take this tour!”
“Didn’t you hear me? I’m from New York. We despise these tourist traps and know better!”
That exchange happened between a friend of mine in DC and a tour-bus sales guy. You know the ones who sell you over-priced tickets to sit on a double-decker bus and have a guide tell you mostly true things about the city while you can take it all in and get off at various local attractions. One of those attractions always being Madame Tussaud’s wax museum btw.
I enjoyed my friend’s conversation at the time and have tried to embody that same New Yorker attitude throughout my travels. In Italy I made it a rule to keep looking for food if I could hear someone selling a “selfie stick”. It has been a great rule because I’ve never felt concerned about pick-pockets, I’ve always found amazing tasting and well-priced food, and I’ve had an enjoyable day.
The closest I’ve gotten to something similar are the student-led walking tours. These I respect a lot as its typically history or art students giving a walking tour for free to a group of people. In Barcelona I found one half-way through and at the end made certain I tipped the guy because that is how he gets paid. Those walking tours have always been well done and give me a very different flair than the tourist traps.
Well today I learned that I travel very differently from my parents. Perhaps its age, perhaps funding, perhaps, attitude. But we got on one of those busses. And to be honest it wasn’t that terrible. It was over-priced. And it was generic. But for people who have limited mobility and are jet-lagged. It wasn’t completely terrible.
I’m still going to go on adventures and meet locals and avoid tourists like the plague, but I will try to do it with less judgement in he future. These things have a place, its just not for me. Like viking river cruises, maybe I’ll appreciate them when I’m old.