When you look for tourism inspiration, you’ll see a lot of references to doing things differently. You’ll find articles about going off the beaten track, avoiding the crowds, finding something weird to do. It’s a fun thing to consider, but it does miss one essential point.
Sometimes, the touristy things to do are that way because they’re fun to do.
It’s okay to feel like a tourist sometimes. Why? Because you are. That doesn’t mean you have to take the bad trappings of the concept of being a tourist. You can still experience the “real” country and immerse yourself in the culture; and no, you don’t have to wear a fanny pack to do it. But by denying yourself the simple pleasures from the place you are visiting, you still can end up missing out. So save your pursuit of the unusual for a little while, and do something with a touch of the cliche – but heavy on the experience front.
Tourist Trap #1: The London Eye
The huge ferris wheel that sits on the bank of the River Thames, near the Houses of Parliament, seems an obvious London thing to do. It’s right up there with black cabs and red telephone boxes. Yet it provides views of the city that are quite unparallelled. The entire flight – which is what a trip is called – takes over 45 minutes, so it’s a brief respite of calm in a maddeningly busy city.
Tourist Trap #2: The Eiffel Tower
Yes, on the surface of it, it’s just a massive metal tower. Although at the time of construction it was a world record holder, it’s now dwarfed by much bigger competition. Going up the Tower is busy, fraught – and totally worth it. The views are spectacular and being on such an old feat of engineering boggles the mind. Plus, anyone you tell you went to Paris is going to ask if you did it – so why not just go for it?
Tourist Trap #3: Flight Over New York
New York is an island both in geographical reality and its entire ethos. It’s its own little eco system, and sometimes, the only way to appreciate it is from above. Helicopter tours in NYC can give you that perspective, with the added fun and novelty of a helicopter ride.
Tourist Trap #4: Talking of Helicopters… The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is the work of hundreds of thousands of years of erosion, and it’s simply not possible to appreciate it from the ground. While there are now fancy viewing platforms to enjoy, the entire scope of it can only be appreciated fully with a bird’s eye view.
Tourist Trap #5: The Las Vegas Strip
It’s bright, it’s blingy and it’s an overall assault on the senses – but it’s meant to be. Las Vegas is tacky and proud, and it’d be a shame not to spend a little time reveling in it. Walk, ride the rollercoasters and shop to your heart’s content; if only for one day, it’s an experience like no other.