It's Summer Vacation Season, So People Who Live In Popular Travel Spots Are Sharing The "Biggest Mistake" Tourists Constantly Make

When you live in a tourist destination, you get pretty good at spotting folks who aren't from around here — and it's often because you see them making a big mistake that locals would never.

woman in an airport with her luggage
woman in an airport with her luggage

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For example, I'm from San Diego, and year after year, tourists who visit our city during "May Gray" and "June Gloom" are disappointed that their beach vacation was not the sunshine fantasy they were expecting. Meanwhile, locals know that the water and weather are usually warmest in August and September.

Recently, I asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share the mistakes tourists make in their locations, and people had A LOT to say — especially when it comes to sidewalk etiquette. Here are some of their replies:

1."Fellow San Diegan here. If you are coming here during the summer, avoid the week surrounding Comic-con. That is, unless that is WHY you are here. It gets insanely crowded in Downtown and Coronado and rates are through the roof. Also, Hotel Del Coronado is meh."

crowd inside the san diego convention center during comic con
Araya Doheny / Getty Images

2."In London, don't stand on the left of the escalators on the tube. You will be pushed aside and tutted at. Be wary of traveling during rush hour — there's a lot of us trying to get to/from the office and we know exactly where we're going and where we're standing. Also, stay away from the 'American Candy' stores that have been popping up around Central London recently. They're a front for tax evasion and much of the 'candy' is either fake, stolen, or out of date. Not to mention horribly overpriced."

london tube train
Sopa Images / SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

3."I’m in Philadelphia and yes, the Liberty Bell rings true in our hearts but it’s really not a very large bell. Please don’t expect it to knock your socks off. People and places were SMALL in the 18th century. If you enter Independence Hall — please do! — be prepared to feel crowded. These are actual rooms where the American Experiment unfolded, not Disney World. Otherwise, come for the three-H’s: History, Humidity, and Heart! And Hollering! Four H’s."

liberty bell

4."In NYC, you STAND on the RIGHT side of the escalator and WALK on the LEFT side of the escalator! Seeing a tourist walk up like four steps of the escalator at Times Square and then just stop is so frustrating. It's like being in the passing lane of the highway and going under the speed limit. Also, don't as a group form a line across the whole freaking sidewalk."

street view of times square
Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

5."Arizona here. Folks LOVE the springtime. Don’t walk through those fields of wildflowers — we have poisonous things that also like those flowers. If you’re that far out of the valley it’s a LONG ride for help. Also pack some damned water. Whatever you think you need, double it, especially if you’re hiking. We don’t have shade trees in the desert and you won’t like leaning against a cactus. By the time you realize you’re dehydrated, it’s usually far worse than you think. Oh, and stay on the trails. The mountains in the valley are more treacherous than you think. People die on those mountains!"

wildflowers blooming near an arizona lake
Siep Bueneker / Getty Images/iStockphoto

6."Los Angeles native here. Do not underestimate how BIG LA is, or how bad traffic is. Try to group your outings in the same area of the city (Hollywood one day, beach another day), leave earlier than you think you should, and consider a split stay if you’re going to places that are really far apart. If you’re going to theme parks, stay at theme-park area hotels the night before and the night after your visit. You’ll appreciate not having a long drive back to the hotel."

rush hour traffic in LA

7."I live near Orlando, aka theme park city. And people drive so damn slow here. Especially on I-4. Like keep up with the traffic and don't slow down. Also if you are taking your child to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, make sure they are above elementary school age. I see kids crying hysterically because of how scary it is. Like, you can leave your child at the hotel and enjoy your time there. Don't make a child scarred for life."

people outside the entrance of universal studios in florida
Astrid860 / Getty Images

8."I live next-door to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is a temperate rainforest. Just assume that it’s going to rain every day, and if it doesn’t rain, then it was just a bonus. We get people here all the time complaining about how it has rained for their entire vacation. Just expect it. Also, don’t complain about going up hills all the time. Hello, mountains!"

waterfalls in a stream in the great smoky mountains national park
Dean Fikar / Getty Images

9."I live in Florida on the gulf coast, and people all too often come in June or September — during hurricane season — and then complain about the daily rainstorms, or are surprised when a hurricane comes through and derails their travel plans. A little research when planning your Florida vacation goes a long way!!"

weather map showing a hurricane over Florida
Harvepino / Getty Images/iStockphoto

10."I'm in Washington D.C. On escalators, stand on the right, walk on the left, especially during morning and evening work commutes. Otherwise you will get yelled at, brushed past, or run over. Learn the airport codes and connect with the name. You would not believe how common it is for people to end up at the wrong airport and only figure it out at the security gate. IAD- Dulles; DCA- Reagan; BWI- Baltimore."

street leading up to the US capitol building
Allan Baxter / Getty Images

11."I live on the southeast Florida coast. Pay attention to the warning flags on the beach. A riptide can take you out in seconds and without help you won't make it back."

rip current warning sign on a beach
Sherwoodimagery / Getty Images/iStockphoto

12."I live 20 minutes away from Niagara Falls, and the biggest mistake I see people make is going to the falls on the American side. Once you get there and look over to the Canadian side and see how much other stuff there is on their side, you will be disappointed."

aerial view of niagara falls showing the canadian side
George Pachantouris / Getty Images

13."Australian here. DO NOT visit during our summer (mid-December to mid-March). We have no protection from the ozone layer, and you will be miserable I promise! You’ll get the worst sunburn of your life, there’s always bushfires somewhere, snakes come out to play, and many people and businesses are on holidays during January. We’re not at our best. Come during the shoulder seasons (late March to April and September to November) and then we’ll really put the shrimp on the barbie for you! (Don’t say that to us though, you’ll get eye rolls.)"

beach with rock formations in Australia
Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

14."I live in NYC and one mistake I always see people doing is going to Coney Island decked out with floaties, bathing suits, etc. only to get there and see that it's basically just litter, clouds, and dirty water."

crowd on coney island for memorial day
Yuki Iwamura / AFP via Getty Images

15."I live in Maine and the biggest tourist mistake I see is people staying in the touristy areas for lunch and paying triple for a lobster roll or other seafood instead of going to a local mom and pop shop. The food is just as good and so much cheaper!"

lobster roll served with pickles and fries
Brandon Rosenblum / Getty Images

16."I live in Puerto Rico. People will stay in San Juan and think they saw Puerto Rico. Try visiting Guavate for incredible food, or some of the east or west coast beaches. Eat breakfast at the local bakeries because it’s cheap, filling, and delicious. Learn some basic Spanish and respect the locals. Don’t stay in Airbnbs because they’re causing a housing crisis and are often owned by outsiders."

aerial view of the waterfront in san juan
Laurie Chamberlain / Getty Images

17."New Orleans here! Please don’t Airbnb. It’s contributing to the housing crisis and hotels are much safer because security is present and are in safer neighborhoods. Also, tip your servers and if you video street performers, tip 'em too! And please don’t take up the whole walkway! Then, just have a good time!"

musicians on parade in the french quarter of new orleans

18."If you’re visiting Seattle and use an umbrella, you will look like a tourist. Locals just have a good raincoat with a hood."

person walking in seattle wearing a hooded coat

19."I am from Hawaii, and just can't with the entitlement tourists feel when coming here. Yes we have aloha spirit but it is to be met with respect in return. You are coming into someone else’s home, so it should be treated with respect and not trashed because you believe we 'owe it to you' and it’s your dream vacation. Also stop ruining secret spots by posting it on social media, trashing our beaches, and putting locals in danger if you know you can’t handle the strong currents of Hawaii."

honolulu airport

20."I live in Amsterdam. Please DON’T rent a bike. Tourists aren’t familiar with our traffic and some try it while they can barely even ride a bike. You are extremely dangerous and basically asking for an accident. You can compare it to a slow driving, zigzagging car in the middle of a fast paced highway. Also, as a pedestrian, please learn to recognize our bike roads and stay off of them. It is again, dangerous, to walk on them."

woman cycling in amsterdam
Lechatnoir / Getty Images

21."I live in Sonoma County, California which is a wine destination. People always underestimate the size of the county. People see a 30 mile distance, but it’s all back country roads that you have to take slow. People also try to do too many wineries in a day. You get burnt out faster than you think and your palate gets fried by the end. Slow down, really enjoy yourselves. Three wineries per day MAX. Two is ideal with a great lunch and a walk in the middle."

group of people sitting around a long table for a wine tasting in a vineyard
Halbergman / Getty Images

22."I live in Nashville. DONT GO DOWN BROADWAY AT NIGHT! Not one single person who lives here likes going there. We will if we feel obligated to. If you insist on going, use it as a pregame place during the day and then ask someone who lives there where to really go. Too many tourists are down on Broadway and it’s sooooo overpriced. People get way too drunk and then end up on Scoop Nashville. So many people get arrested down there. It’s not fun and not worth it. Go to East Nash, Midtown, or The Gulch. You can even venture over to Printer’s Alley or go to bars still in the city just not on that strip. It’s an actual nightmare."

neon signs on broadway at night

23."I’m from Ojai, California, and I hate to say it but tourism has ruined our town. The influx of people coming here as a fun escape from LA used to help keep our small businesses afloat, but it’s gotten completely out of hand. All of the locally-owned small businesses I grew up with have been driven out of business only to be replaced by horrifically overpriced boutiques and restaurants. Basically it’s just become a tiny hipster LA. So many families who have lived in Ojai for decades can no longer afford to live there and have been forced to relocate. The town is now so populated with rich LA tourists-turned-residents that all of the local businesses and even the public schools are being shut down."

archway over the street in Ojai

24."If you come to London, don’t got to Piccadilly Circus — there is nothing worth seeing there. It’s a sad rival to Times Square except smaller, so you’ll be overrun by swarms of crowds and/or pickpockets. The restaurants and attractions are just awful and you won’t experience anything beyond pure tourist traps. Leicester Square is pretty much the same: chains and crowds. There’s an M&Ms store which I see all tourists carrying purchase bags for, so I guess when they get there they feel like its only redeeming quality is to shop there?"

billboards and tourists in Piccadilly Square
Pawel Libera / Getty Images

25."I worked in DC for 16 years. Two things: 1. Unless you like heat and humidity, avoid summers. DC was built in a swamp so it's usually humid, and all of the concrete and asphalt absorb heat during the day and release it all night. It never really cools down."

lincoln memorial on a sunny summer day

26."I live in a beach resort seasonal town on the East Coast. If we had a dollar for every time per day (yes. Per. DAY.) tourists ask workers in stores/food and/or the lifeguards on duty what time the 'Dolphin Show' starts we’d all be rich enough to quit working at the places where we get asked that all the time. There’s only one Disney World, and our little town isn’t it! I love Disney, trust me, but thinking these wild animals are trained and part of a show when they clearly are in the open ocean just makes zero sense."

wild dolphin jumping out of the water
Catherine Clark / Getty Images

27."Born and raised in Florida. Stop feeding the seagulls. You're just asking to be pooped on. In fact, don't feed any of our wildlife, especially alligators. Alligators are naturally afraid of humans and will avoid them, unless you feed them. Once they see humans as a food provider, they will start to become aggressive and a nuisance, which will ultimately lead them to be trapped and killed. Also, it's safe to assume there are gators in every body of freshwater (it's rare but they can even show up in saltwater down in South Florida)."


28."San Francisco here: Everyone assumes, 'it’s California, it’ll be nice weather!' Yeah, it can be. But more often I see tourists freezing their asses off walking across the Golden Gate Bridge as their hair blows in their face from the wind. Look at the weather people! It gets foggy in the bay."

fog setting in over the golden gate bridge
Steve Proehl / Getty Images

29."I lived on the border of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Every summer, tourists get gored by buffalo because they get too close. It’s not a petting zoo, and those animals aren’t dairy cows. DO NOT APPROACH THE WILDLIFE!!"

bighorn ram on the rocks at yellowstone

What mistakes do visitors make in your area? Tell me all about them in the comments.