"I See So Many People Genuinely Disappointed By This": People Are Sharing The Top Mistakes Tourists Make When Visiting Popular Destinations (And What They Should Do Instead)

I remember the first time I visited Barcelona, I showed up at a restaurant to eat dinner around 7:30 p.m. The restaurant — a popular spot, no less — was nearly empty. Turns out, dinnertime in this city is closer to 9 p.m., and I had made a classic tourist mistake.

Outdoor café with patrons dining and walking in a European city's square at dusk

When you're visiting a new place, it's easy to fall prey to some classic tourist mix-ups. And in the same vein, there are probably a handful of things you'd want travelers to be aware of before visiting your hometown.

Jackf / Getty Images/iStockphoto

So I asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell me something they wish tourists knew before visiting their hometowns. Here's what they said, along with comments from some redditors from around the world.

1."In San Francisco, no tourists seem to check the weather before they visit because they assume it's like Los Angeles. Please know that it is cold year-round here. In August, it's 100 degrees or hotter in the Central Valley but 60 degrees in the city due to the ocean, fog, and mist. So bring a coat! Also, please call it 'San Francisco.' No one here says 'San Fran,' 'Frisco,' or 'Cali.' Oh, and stop going to Pier 39 and Lombard Street. They're tourist traps (or at least keep that in mind if you really, really want to go). There are so many lovely neighborhoods and museums and parks to see instead."

Golden Gate Bridge partially obscured by fog, with traffic and surrounding landscape
Steve Proehl / Getty Images

2."I live in New York City, and I find that so many tourists treat the city like it's Disneyland, and the locals like we're staff. New Yorkers aren't rude, we just don't appreciate being asked to walk you through how to put money on your MetroCard at 8:30 a.m. on a Wednesday while we're running late for work and you're sipping a latte. Walk faster, stay to the right on the sidewalk and the escalator, step out of the flow of traffic to take pictures or look at your phone, and for the love of god, do not stop directly outside the subway doors."

Pedestrians crossing a busy street in Times Square with billboards and buildings in the background
Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

3."When visiting Edinburgh, by all means visit the Greyfriars Kirkyard, but for the love of god, don’t rub the nose of the statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby! This all began because a tour guide thought it was cute, but it won't give you good luck. Leave the statue alone!"

Old cemetery with gravestones in front of a historic building, surrounded by greenery
Andrea Pucci / Getty Images

4."I am from Austria. Most people who live here haven't even seen The Sound of Music, so maybe don't bring it up."

Aerial view of a village nestled in a valley with mountains partially obscured by clouds
Pol Albarrán / Getty Images

5."I’m from Seattle, and I have two pieces of advice for tourists. First of all, stop going up the Space Needle. Instead, go to Smith Tower so you get the skyline view including the Space Needle! Second, please remember that Pike Place Market is also a place where locals go to shop for groceries. Have some spatial awareness and please get out of the way when you're taking your photos. And if you’re going to do bizarre influencer things, please refrain from doing them in high-traffic areas. You’re getting in the way of workers and deliveries and locals who just want to buy some radishes."

Two women browsing a vibrant flower market with assorted bouquets
Stuart Westmorland / Getty Images

6."I live in Chicago, and I'd tell tourists to stop visiting the stupid Bean. It's literally a metal bean sculpture. Check out the renowned museums like the Museum of Science and Industry, all of Chicago's vibrant neighborhoods, and amazing food options instead. You'll have a much better experience!"

The Bean sculpture in Chicago
Nurphoto / NurPhoto via Getty Images

7."When you're visiting Paris (or really any city in France), please stop wearing a beret. No one actually wears a beret here besides grandfathers in the countryside."

Woman in a checkered jacket and red beret from Emily in Paris

8."As a Californian, I want you to know that In-N-Out Burger is overrated. It is literally just a fast-food burger. There are so many better places to eat here. If you’re hungry for something cheap, sure, indulge. But don’t go out of your way to wait in a long line for a greasy, flat slab of ground beef."

Double cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato
Naida Smajic / Getty Images/iStockphoto

9."I live in Finland, and I wish people would stop just visiting Lapland. We have beautiful scenery, national parks, and cities that are well worth a visit. You do not have to go to the biggest tourist attraction in the country when there are so many other amazing places to experience."

Glass igloos nestled in snow under a sunrise
Chalermkiat Seedokmai / Getty Images

10."I've seen many tourists in Copenhagen become upset upon realizing that the statue of the Little Mermaid is…little. Tourists visit and expect a Statue of Liberty–sized statue, but she’s only a little one. I see so many people genuinely disappointed by this."

Tourists gathered around the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen
Picture Alliance / DPA / Picture Alliance via Getty Images

11."Brazilian here. I wish that people who travel here would stop trying to speak to locals in Spanish. We speak Portuguese. Some words may sound similar, but they're completely different languages. Also, our capital is not Rio de Janeiro."

Crowded beach with people sunbathing and umbrellas in Rio
Gonzalo Azumendi / Getty Images

12."You can't climb on the Joshua trees, folks. I know they're gorgeous and weird and cool. I know you want the photo, but they're fragile! And it's actually illegal to climb on them. When you come to visit the desert, please help us protect this important ecosystem so that visitors can enjoy it with us for many generations to come."

Joshua trees with rocky outcrops in a desert landscape at dusk


Photography by Deb Snelson / Getty Images

13."Having lived in Maui, I can say it's terribly annoying when tourists are oblivious drivers. Especially while driving the Road to Hana or upcountry to Haleakalā. If you're driving slowly to take in the views, there are so many spots to pull over so the person behind you can pass. These locals are driving the roads to get somewhere. It's very obvious that all the convertibles and Jeeps are rental cars. Just pull over for a second and do the locals a favor."

A scenic coastal road winding around a lush green hillside with the ocean in the background


Royce Bair / Getty Images

14."Please stop putting locks on bridges. Sincerely, a Parisian."

Padlocks attached to a bridge's fence with blurred Paris cityscape and bridge in the background


Grant Faint / Getty Images

15."Don't expect free tap water at restaurants in Germany. You are expected to buy bottles of water even if you bought food or alcohol."

Woman pouring water into a glass in a restaurant


Westend61 / Getty Images/Westend61

16."I'm from Colorado. If you're traveling to the mountains and you’re not used to high altitudes, let me tell you that altitude sickness is no joke. And it sneaks up on you. Walk and climb more slowly than you normally would, take frequent breaks even if you think you’re not tired, and sip water very frequently."

Ski lift with chairs ascending and descending a snowy mountain slope, surrounded by trees
Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

17."I'm speaking as an Orlandian who also works at the theme parks: Please know that if you visit in the summer, it will rain. Likely every single day. Be prepared. Summer is the rainy season, and the name isn’t just for fun."

A stormy sky over Disney World
Orlando Sentinel / TNS

18."I live in Arizona and have noticed that people like to visit in the winter, thinking it will be hot here. It's not! Sure, it's warmer than many other states, but we can have days in the 40s and nights in the 20s. You will be greatly disappointed if you think it's going to be hot enough to swim!"

Rafters floating down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon
Draper White / Getty Images

19."Hi, from Beijing! My advice for visiting my city (and pretty much anywhere in China) is to ALWAYS carry your own toilet paper with you. The public bathrooms don’t provide any. Also, get comfortable using a squat toilet."

Hand grabbing toilet paper from the top of a toilet tank
Aitor Diago / Getty Images

20."I live in Sonoma County and work in the wine industry. Too many people try to do far too many wine tastings when they visit. Shoot for three wineries max in a single day. People who think they can do five or six to maximize their experience are going to regret it. Visiting wineries here is all about quality, not quantity."

Sunset in the vineyards of Sonoma County, California
Latypova / Getty Images/iStockphoto

21."I live in Rome, and I find that tourists come and visit only the city center (home to the most popular tourist sites, like the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum), but they neglect all the other interesting historical sites and nice neighborhoods that Rome has to offer. It's a shame, because there are so many quieter, underrated attractions, and everything is easy to get to from the center of the city."

Narrow cobblestone street lined with motorcycles and ivy-covered buildings
Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

22."I'm from Nashville, and you should probably not wear Western boots and hats when you visit. If I see that, I know you're a tourist...especially if you're with a large group of women. We see plenty of bachelorette parties all doing the same thing."

View of woman wearing Western-style boots


Shestock / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

23."People visit Iceland and don't realize beforehand how expensive everything is here, especially going out to eat. If you're going to a restaurant, expect $30–$50 entrées everywhere. Mix in some cheap street food (like Icelandic hot dogs) or find accommodations with a kitchen so you can cook."

Hand holding a hot dog with condiments
Pete Ark / Getty Images

24."If you come to London, don’t go 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&M's store that I see all tourists carrying purchase bags for, so I guess when they get there, they feel that its only redeeming quality is being able to shop at that store?"

Aerial view of Piccadilly Circus in London with buses and pedestrians
Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

25."Canadian here. If you are visiting any of the Canadian mountain destinations in the wintertime and you are not used to winter mountain driving, please don’t! The weather can change quickly in the mountains. Unless you are experienced driving on snow and ice, you are a hazard to everyone on the road. Look into public transportation and then sit back and enjoy the amazing views!"

Empty road leading toward snow-covered mountains with pine trees on both sides
Chinaface / Getty Images

Have something else to add? Share your thoughts in the comments or drop a note into this Google form.

Note: Some entries have been edited for length and/or clarity.