Smile and say, “Tourist!”
Spotted: tourists. Everywhere.
Welcome to summer — the top travel time of the year. If you can find time off from internships, jobs and summer courses, now’s your chance to see some stellar places.
The days are long and the weather’s ideal, so while the sun’s shining on the best sites around the country or around the world, tourists flock. Camera in hand, backpack on stomach, maps out –- the whole works.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we’ve all been there. But is there really any shame in being a stereotypical tourist? In a new city, it’s inevitable, kind of like being the obvious freshman on campus.
But hey, I’d rather travel than not, and I’d rather be a freshman than a senior. And summer is a prime time for traveling, especially for college students.
According to a recent USA TODAY article, the summer is clearly the busiest season for U.S. airlines. Last year, 22 million more people traveled in July compared to February.
How many of these stereotypical-tourist categories have you fallen into while traveling?
Backpack on stomach.
Tourists are on guard. I get it, there’s a need to keep your things safe, especially if you’re carrying possessions like cameras, smartphones and passports. Backpacks are an especially easy target for pickpocketers on crowded public transportation, but walking down the streets, this looks quite silly. No one walks around his or her own city like this, but for some reason, it’s a common practice amongst tourists. Better safe than sorry, right?
Camera in hand.
Lately, it seems as if there isn’t a picture of it –- whatever “it” is –- it didn’t happen. Everywhere we go, every sight we see and every night out comes with a need for documentation. Tourists are the worst about this, with their cameras glued to their hands at every moment. I actually saw someone walking down the street with a GoPro attached to a helmet, which was snapping pictures of everything he walked by. That’s a tad extreme.
Whether using an old-school, physical map or zooming in and out of street views on a smartphone, tourists are always lost. Stopping on a street corner, squinting around and pointing at streets signs is a dead giveaway, too.
Apparel with English.
Or Greek letters. In a foreign country, students who travel around wearing the letters of their fraternity or sorority with random slogans, or other club names, are clearly American and clearly tourists. But I guess it is kind of cool to represent your organization wherever you are –- and to get cool pictures doing so. In a recent Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) newsletter, students are encouraged to “get your picture taken in THON gear” wherever they’re traveling this summer.
Guilty of any of these? Well, whether you try to fit in or embrace your head-to-toe tourist essence, bon voyage and safe travels!
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