What’s Wrong with Being a Tourist?

We live in a society that associates the word tourist and what it means to be a tourist with a negative connotation, but what’s wrong with being a tourist? I find myself asking this question pretty frequently lately. I constantly see blog posts with titles like “How to Not Look Like a Tourist in {insert popular city}”, “How to Live Like a Local in {insert another popular city}”, and even “How to Not Pack Like a Tourist”.

You get my drift.

I’m not even sure how people pack like tourists? Anyways, I digress.

I think most people view a tourist as someone who is disrespectful of the local culture, thinks everything is going to be just like home, looks down on the locals, or someone who doesn’t try the local food. I’ll admit, I’m definitely guilty of not trying local food in certain places.

Iceland, I love you, but I’m talking about you

At one time I hated the thought of someone considering me a tourist. The label itself just screamed fanny pack and selfie stick. But the older I’ve gotten and the more I’ve traveled, I’ve started asking myself, what’s wrong with someone thinking I’m a tourist?

The answer? Nothing. Because I am a tourist.

Me being a tourist in Iceland

There’s so much pressure on trying to not be a tourist, but you should be a tourist. You should visit the Eiffel Tower when you’re in Paris and the Trevi Fountain when you’re in Rome. No matter how crowded it is. And you should absolutely ride a double decker bus in London and the visit the Ubud Monkey Forest in Bali. These are things that are considered pretty touristy but they are all experiences you should partake in and enjoy! Especially if you ever find yourself in any of those cities or countries. After all, those opportunities may only come around once. Don’t be afraid to pull out your selfie stick, just be respectful of the people around you. And definitely rock that fanny pack like you’re a 90s mom at Disney World!
What’s wrong with being a tourist

Roaming around Barbados

Travel elitism is a real thing and it’s this ridiculous belief that one way of traveling or experiencing a new destination is superior to another way of experiencing the same destination. There’s nothing wrong with eating at a Michelin star restaurant instead of trying local street food. Or staying in a hotel instead of a local hostel or Airbnb. Doing one over the other doesn’t make either person a better traveler than the other.
What’s wrong with being a tourist
When traveling, I do love finding off the beaten track locations and visiting places that aren’t touristy, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying places that are touristy. I have started wearing my tourist badge with honor and I’m not afraid to admit that I actually love being a tourist! We should all stop worrying about how other people are traveling, and instead, let’s all focus on something we actually have in common – our shared love of traveling and seeing the world.
Do you like being a tourist? Leave me a comment below or tweet me {@michele_aaron} with your answer.

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