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How to be a good tourist in Barcelona? E-mail

How to be a good tourist in Barcelona
 
Why be a good tourist and how to be a good tourist? There are many reasons not to be a bad tourist.

A good tourist helps preserve and nurture the destination you are visiting. A bad tourits helps erode and destroy it. A good tourist is a goodwill ambassador for his own country and culture and indirectly promotes tourism in their own country. A bad tourist is a badwill ambassador and deters people from visiting their country. A good tourist see himself/herself as a guest in another's house and respects the rules, customs and local population and leaves a contribution in the right places. A bad tourist is a gatecrasher who disturbs the local rules, customs and leaves a contribution in the wrong places.

Here are some tips on how to be a good tourist.

1. Remember you are a guest. Be respectful of the local population, customs and rules. For you this is a vacation but you are entering into other people's daily life. They have to work, eat and sleep undisturbed every day. Remember also that you are an ambassador for your country and tourism might be important for your country too. So be nice, kind, polite and don't complain if things are not the same as in your country. If you want things to be the same as in your country, why travel?

2. Don't buy cheap fake souvenirs that are probably made in China. Ok. A fridge magnet is fine, but many of the tourist shops are full of mass produced rubbish that is made in factories in cheap labour countries. You are not getting a real souvenir from Barcelona when you buy a key ring with a bull on it. By supporting tacky touristy souvenir shops you are helping edge out more traditional shops. By asking for burgers and french fries you are helping replace traditional food shops with burger chains. Why cross the globe to see a street full of international chains and mass produced souvenirs.

3. Look for the hand-made artisan craft souvenirs. Then you will be helping support local familes, traditions and customs.

4. Don't visit the burger joints. The more tourists support the international chains the more money they make to open in even more locations in the city centre. In Barcelona this means fewer authentic and quality restaurants in the city centre and more fries.

5. Don't drink or party to excess. Rowdy night clubbers disturb local families with children and the elderly. Unless you live in the Vatican city where there are few Irish bars, then presumably you have many pubs and bars in your hometown. So why waste money in cities that often charge tourists more for alchohol anyway. And why waste the next day sleeping it off and missing a beautiful day. Or sleeping on the beach where you might get robbed. Go the clubs, pay the entrance fee and have a couple of drinks but don't lose control and wreck it all for yourself and your host city.

6. Don't complain. Different folks, different strokes. You might be the customer and you might be paying, but you are not always right in someone else's country. If you neighbour at home invited you round, would you tell him what's wrong with his house. Of course not. Just because you are paying does not mean you can dictate and bully locals and local establishments. You travel to see how others live, not to criticise them for not being as perfect as you think you and your country is. You can in some cases respectfully give them your opinion, but no more.

7. Don't judge. First appearances are often wrong and you might see things in a different light if you knew more about other peoples' lives. Then you might understand more about their business.

8. Don't compare. Comparing food in Barcelona with food in Paris, or prices in London with prices in Melbourne doesn't really make much sense and can create negative impressions. The prices in different cities reflect the cost and standard of living. Bad tourists think that they either are being ripped off all the time  - or are entitled to cheap deals. A good tourist accepts the local price level and then decides if they want to pay.

So travel, see the world, but be a good tourist, not a bad one!

And don't forget to visit Barcelona.


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