How not to fall for an over hyped tourist trap

Tourist Trap
A tourist trap. There's one lurking everywhere for the unsuspecting tourist! Locals in your dream destination have families to feed. And for a lot of the natives in the countries we travellers visit. Life isn't very fun. Or even very fair. So my complaints aren't really directed at these folk. Who can't seem to help but assume that us tourists are living the perfect. Care free life. Just waiting to give them some generous handouts.

What really get's to me are the companies themselves. Along with those sponsored influencers who brighten. Lighten. Filter and Photoshop any remaining reality out of their travel content.

It's getting harder and harder each year. Not to be deceived by the images we see of "abc" in tourist hot spot Bali and "Xyz" in the coveted Seychelles.

With the real life parts of being a tourist often left out of sponsored reviews and Instagram captions.

Nobody told the novice. First time traveller, that your favourite Instagram travel influencer was up at 4am getting ready with a team. To go and take a candid photo at a beautiful tourist landmark. Way before crowds of people arrive to spoil any chance of getting the perfect shot!

I'm not hating on the hustle. I just don't agree with the lack of transparency and honesty surrounding a large part of the travel and tourist industry. Some of us are saving our very last pennies to jet off somewhere expecting to be mind blown. Only to be hugely disappointed when our expectations in no way meet reality. Photos and short video clips can only tell you so much about a destination. Those of us living a mundane way of life are bound to let our minds trail off into some elaborate fantasy about how much greener the grass is on the other side. The destructive culture of music and social media boasting further helps to create victims of a tourist trap.

So without further ado. Below are some ways to avoid getting caught up in a tourist trap and to stop being cat-fished by travel media and marketing!


  • Lower your expectations : 

I don't want to go as far as to say expect the worst so you can be relieved when the worst doesn't happen. However. You do need to quit fantasising and mentally prepare yourself for the possibility that your dream destination won't be completely as expected. Nothing in life really is!

  • Read the bad reviews : 

Even if there is only one bad review. Read it. See what went wrong. This way you'll be even more prepared ahead of time.

  • Watch out for smoke and mirrors : 

Remember that photos and videos can often be staged and edited. So what you've seen in the press. Might not be what you'll see in the flesh.

  • Don't believe the hype: 

Visit less popular destinations to avoid a tourist trap. Or go to the tourist trap. Ahem.. hot spot out of season. When a travel location goes viral. Prices increase and so do the number of visitors. Meaning a location that was supposed to be peaceful and scenic. Is turned into a loud, chaotic tourist trap!


  • Re-consider your itinerary : 

Have you ever booked to go somewhere. Found yourself in transit for far too long. Only to arrive stressed? To make matters worse. Your booked holiday or excursion is all over so fast. In comparison to the time it took to arrive and settle! Let me tell you. It's not fun and can really ruin what was meant to be an enjoyable break or excursion. To avoid this tourist trap. Calculate the duration of getting from point A to point B. With added time for things like delays and diversions. Planning to travel in the fastest and most comfortable way possible is one of the best things you can do. Along with making sure that you don't try to be too overly ambitious with how much you expect to get done. Unless you're going away on a long vacation.

  • Double your money : 

Never travel without extra cash. Things can and almost certainly will cost a bit more than you expected. Even if you think you have budgeted really well. Nobody wants to experience the tourist trap of being caught short in a foreign location.

  • Stay up to date : 

A location might have looked gorgeous and unspoiled three years ago. Only to be littered with rubbish. Burned down. Blown away. Overpopulated or ruined by graffiti in its present time. Always investigate the year and season that a review was written. Or when a photo was taken. Do the same with hotels. Hostels. Villas and Bnb's. If you don't fancy staying in accommodation with damp. Mold. Mildew or old, tattered furnishings. Finding out how long the property has been running and it's last renovation can help to avoid yet another nasty tourist trap.

Happy holidays!


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