My recent trip to Ireland has once again inspired in me a hatred for that person we all become at least once or twice in our lives:  the tourist.  Now, I write this with full knowledge of the fact that I have been a tourist many, many times in my life.  However, after living in one of the most visited cities in the US as well as having traveled abroad a few times in the past few years, I have noticed that there are certain qualities that people possess that just scream, “I’m a tourist, why don’t you rob/pickpocket me, because I’ve made myself very stupidly visible.”

Jared and I always hope that wherever we go, people will think we are local.  And, I am proud to say that on more than one occasion in our travels, we have been asked for directions or recommendations that only locals could make.  Why?  Because we have a certain air about us that doesn’t scream DisneyWorld tourist.  Here, however, are my top pet peeves for the quintessential tourist:

1.)  Let’s Walk, People. There should be a section of the street for people like this….the people that feel it is appropriate to just stop in the middle of a sidewalk because they are lost or too caught up in looking at things around them.  Haven’t you ever heard of moving off to the side to do whatever it is you need to do?  Stop being so oblivious and get the heck out of everyone elses way.

This goes for the airport too, where there should be a line for stupid, amateur travelers.  I’m not as seasoned as some, but how hard is it to follow the million signs posted around security and other areas and do what you’re told??  Take off your freaking shoes, and move along once you are finished.  Do NOT stop in the middle of the pathways with your big, giant, never going to fit in overhead storage suitcase to find whatever it is you seem to have misplaced.  Once again, act like you’re driving and PULL OVER.

2.)  The Camera Necklace. Nothing screams “I’m here on holiday” than the guy with sixteen cameras around his neck.  Save it for Disney, my friend.  In populated cities, it only makes you a prime target for pickpockets and my blogging rants.  Oh, and you need to keep moving as well.  Quit stopping in the middle of my path to take a picture of the top of a building.

3.)  The Flash Happy. I take a lot of pictures, I will admit that.  However, when traveling abroad, or anywhere for that matter, I try to do so in a fashion that is discreet.  Last week, when I was having tea at Bewley’s, I saw a couple I identified as tourists right away (see #4) taking pictures of their food.  Because a bagel really looks different in the EU than anywhere else??  I’ve also witnessed people taking pictures of gas stations and random houses.  I guess there is a “certain charm” in Esso, but really?  What are you going to do with these pictures?  Save that flash for the historic landmarks and things that are actually relevant.

4.)  I ❤ Whatever City I’m In. That couple taking pictures of their food?  I knew immediately they were tourists because they were decked out in “I Love Ireland” gear.  Now, I have my fair share of Jersey Girl clothing, but I actually live there.  I know getting clothing emblazoned with your country of choice is fairly common, but I think it’s weird to wear it while you’re still there.  And to be all matchy matchy about it….

5.)  Tour Book Wielding Traveler. I understand the need to have a map on you when you’re traveling around a foreign city.  In fact, I’ve referred to my small one in the privacy of a street corner at a few points this week.  But really, don’t carry it around, flipping through pages, looking aimlessly around trying to figure out where you are going.  Not only do you set yourself up to be robbed by being so oblivious, but also, you’re in everyone else’s way.  Once again, pull over and consult that guide book.  Don’t do it right in the middle of a busy city sidewalk.

I could go on, but I’ll stop for now….

Some might find this harsh, but for those of us that have ever lived in a city populated by tour book wielding, camera necklace, flash happy, oblivious tourists, we know that all of this is true.  Not only is it unsafe to be this oblivious when you’re traveling, it’s also annoying to those around you :).  So please, get your wits about you before you begin your day, and remember:  that bagel looks the same wherever you’re from as it does here.