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The 15 steps of becoming a tourist

by Victor Eekhof
How to become a tourist

As I’ve traveled to different places, I have noticed a pattern in a certain type of people I saw in the more well-known places. Think Paris, London, Barcelona and yes, also Amsterdam. These fascinating individuals were mostly spotted in groups, and seem to be completely unaware of their surroundings and mostly crammed together in a small fraction of the city center.

I’m talking of course about the stereotype referred to as “tourists“. I always wonder why people choose to behave in a certain way: is it insecurity to travel alone, or do they simply love traveling in like-minded groups? Sometimes I do wonder however if that’s the case when I look at the mostly sad faces staring out of a 60-person coach. But, as I said before, I spotted a few patterns that shine a satirical light on the behavior and actions of the tourists we’ve all encountered more than once. I’m not here to judge, but simply to observe.

  1. Get yourself a Segway

    Tourist Segway

    They see me rollin’, they hatin’. Most often I see people on Segways waiting at traffic lights or struggling to drive in a straight line, or being parked to listen to the tour guide’s stories. Is it that much more fun on a Segway?

  2. Travel exclusively by sightseeing coach or taxi

    Tourist sightseeing bus

    If you have (very) limited time in a city, this might not even be such a bad option.. But otherwise, it feels to me as a bit of a “too easy” way of sightseeing, and most of all an expensive one too! It kind of takes the fun out of getting around on your own and getting lost; that’s when you often find the coolest things! Photo by Holly Wang

  3. Travel with 4 large bags, even if you’re going away for a weekend

    Preferably let others (ushers/taxi drivers) carry them for you.

    Usher carrying bags

    You take half of your house, you deal with it yourself. Am I right? Photo by Duncan Rawlinson

  4. Get an audio tour for everything

    Tourist audio tour

    “If you look outside you can see people enjoying the sun in the park. But no, you chose to listen to my dry history lesson for 2 and a half hours on this boring audio tour…”. Photo by Patrick Haney

  5. Wear an expensive, oversized camera around your neck

    Tourist with camera

    The matching hats and slightly open mouths are bonus points. Photo by Carlos Lorenzo

  6. Stick to your group at all times, and follow the flag

    Tourists follow a flag

    Follow the flag or get lost (literally).

  7. Look at all the sights you are presented with through the screen of your iPad only

    Tourist with iPad

    $10 if you can name one (meaningful) scenario where you would show this picture to someone else, or even look at it yourself afterward. Photo by Tamara Craiu

  8. Stay in a centrally located chain hotel

    Hilton hotel

    When you don’t have enough money for luxury, but also don’t want to try things like Airbnb or Couchsurfing, it leaves you with a somewhat sad mid-level (mass-)accommodation with unfriendly staff and complaining guests. Photo by Marc Tarlock.

  9. Take awkward pictures of your travel companion

    Preferably with a background that doesn’t add to the picture or one that is full with others trying to take that exact same picture. Also, point at or otherwise interact with the main object in the picture, so that there can be absolutely no way around it: you have seen the thing!

    Tourists taking pictures

    “Wow! It really looks like you’re leaning against the [object here]”, said no one ever.. Photo by EthanChiang

  10. Carry a large fold-out paper map which you open at every street corner.

    Argue with your spouse on which way to go for bonus points.

    Tourists with fold-out map

    Opening a fold-out map is basically an open invitation to get robbed. Photo by Jo Guldi

  11. Be generally in the way of others.

    Stop in the middle of roads, busy sidewalks or cycling paths. Take several steps back when taking a picture without looking where you’re going.

    Tourists in the way

    No, no! Please stop! Photo by Greg Dunlap

  12. Try to get a picture without tourists in the background in the most touristy areas.

    When a queue of people forms that wait for the picture to be taken, take at least 10 seconds to get that perfect focus.

  13. Eat only at restaurants that are on the main square or street, and where a very friendly waiter lures you in

    Tourist waiter

    The more friendly the waiter, the better the food.. Right? Photo by Let Ideas Compete

  14. Wear a baseball cap, sun visor, fisherman hat or sweater with your university’s name on it.

    Tourist fisherman hat

    A friendly looking fellow, but that hat! Photo by Dennis Jarvis

  15. Don’t try to blend into the local culture

    Mostly, stick to your (difficult) eating habits and wonder why nobody speaks your language.

    Chinese McDonalds

    The final stage of becoming a tourist: immediately locate the nearest McDonalds and have breakfast there on the first day of your holiday. Photo by Greg Walters.

    How to be a tourist

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I love the nature and making new friends plus seeing new places that makes me feel better I have been to many different places… Am in love with the art of tourism… Keep the art up


Actually I am a person who loves travelling. But still now I didn’t gone to any place other than my native town. While seeing u just getting jealous . Live happily and enjoy ur travelling too the most. Travelling is my biggest dream passion.


Wow it’s really wonderful


I love this, great observation! I think your list is really fun. As a frequent traveller I can appreciate the satirical light 🙂

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

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