People Who Live In Tourist Hotspots Share Secrets Travelers Don't Know

People Who Live In Tourist Hotspots Share Secrets Travelers Don't Know

One of the best parts of traveling is feeling like a local. Most travel guides, however, don't have the kind of insider information you need to feel that way. But we do! We asked people who live in popular tourist destinations to share their secrets. What to do, what to avoid, and most importantly, where to eat: our tourist hotspot locals didn't hold anything back.

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45. But you are a leprechaun, right?

Tourists visiting Ireland expect the Irish to be partying and belligerent all the time. Actually, we are pretty proud of how friendly and welcoming we are. Even in our biggest cities there's always someone willing to help a lost tourist close by. We are not always drinking Guinness or always looking for fights.


44. Do one or the other, not both.

I'm an Angeleno born and raised. The tourist attractions (Hollywood, theme parks, beaches etc) are all either too expensive or underwhelming / not worth the trouble. Also, I wish visitors understood how sprawling greater Los Angeles is. No, you absolutely can't see it all in one weekend. You can't even do all of Disneyland and California Adventure in one weekend. That said, greater LA is an absolutely wonderful place to live, if you can afford it.


43. People in paradise live with their parents.

I only lived there for a little while, but it’s a common misconception that Hawaii is a great place to live. Don’t get me wrong - it might be the most beautiful place on earth and there are many, many exceptional things about living there. But it’s terribly expensive just to grocery shop, let alone try to buy a house. Many people just live with their parents and grandparents because no one can afford to move out. So many houses and apartments/condos are bought as vacation properties, which drives up the price. Then, houses/apartments in residential neighborhoods have a revolving door of vacationers coming in and out, which is disruptive to normal life. (People on vacation care very little about how much noise they’re making, etc.) It’s a catch-22 because so much of Hawaii’s money comes from tourism, but tourism is making it impossible for locals to buy homes.

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42. Welcome to the hotel California, that'll be $6000.

I'm from California. Retirees are moving out to Palm Springs thinking the weather is nice, when it's really over 110 degrees for 4 months of the year. People dying of heat stroke is a huge problem in the desert communities. And because everyone wants to move to CA, rent is sky-high. You can live with 5 roommates and get a small space for $600/month in downtown LA, or move 1 hour away from the city and spend $400 for the same room. Rich foreigners are also buying tons of investment land in California, and are building overpriced apartments on it.



41. George Clooney is not your tour guide.

I'm from Los Angeles, specifically Hollywood. Literally everything about it is underwhelming. The Walk of Fame is cool for 2 seconds, Grauman's Chinese Theatre is smaller than you'd think, the Hollywood sign is just a big sign, and no, you're not going to run into a celebrities walking around. All the while it's incredibly crowded, smells terrible, and you have to dodge costumed street performers in droves.


40. Let's name him Bouncy.

The biggest tourist misconception about Australia relates to Kangaroos. Foreigners assume that we revere them as a national icon, have them as pets or put them in zoos.

Well, yes, you can find Kangaroos in wildlife sancturaries but there's also 50 million of them and they compete with livestock. They're big and stupid and have a habit of totaling cars on highways.

We also eat them.


39. They grow up fast in Vegas.

Vegas is a great place to live, but it’s a terrible place to raise children. Do not try to raise children in Las Vegas, we have incredibly poor schools and culturally despise any and all forms of filtering. If you don’t want your children to see or hear very adult themed media/human interactions, don’t bring them to Vegas ever. People like to move here and act like we are supposed to bend to the rules they brought with them from LA and middle America.


38. Hollywood ain't so glamorous.

Hollywood is a great example of someplace that tourists don't know until they go there. Lived there for years and I can tell you it is gross and sketchy. On Hollywood Blvd the costumed street performers are scary, but the tourists often act like their interacting with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland. Meanwhile the fake Elmo is getting cuffed and put into a cop car. I love LA but I avoid Hollywood as much as possible. If you plan to visit you should only make Hollywood Blvd a very very short part of your trip to LA. Also everyone is always trying to drive up to the Hollywood sign which you can not really do, so just take a picture from a distance and don't waste your time.

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37. Here to go on walkabout.

I used to work in a tourist centre in a super small town way out in a pretty rural area in Australia. The amount of tourists who would come from overseas and decide they wanted to do the Nullarbor or just a “day trip” out to the desert with NO planning or information was ludicrous. If you get stuck or your car breaks down, THERE IS NOBODY AROUND TO HELP YOU FOR HOURS AND NO PHONE SIGNAL.

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36. Nope; Disneyworld.

I live in Orlando, so basically we only exist as a tourist destination. It’s actually a fun city away from the Disney and tourist area. Downtown and Winter Park, in one of the suburbs, we have great local restaurants. Also a short drive away are a few natural springs which really give you a really wonderful nature experience.

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35. So, throw a sweater over that bikini?

I grew up near San Fransisco. Lemme tell you folks out there that still believe this: California is not a tropical paradise; the northern coast gets pretty cold. San Francisco is consistently foggy, where there are only pockets of late summer and autumn where you don’t need a sweater. At the warf/more coastal parts of San Francisco, you will most likely need a sweater regardless of how it is in the downtown. Just save yourself the misery and check the forecast before you pack/dress.

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35. Things aren't always chill in Alaska.

I live in Alaska. Where to begin? It’s not always dark. In fact, in the summer it’s quite light. Hence some difficulty viewing the northern lights in summer months. Also it's not always cold — we do have summer. In Fairbanks we regularly hit 80° in the summer, sometimes hotter. But also our state is HUGE. So what’s true of Fairbanks isn’t necessarily true of Anchorage. Or Juneau. In fact southeast (Juneau, Ketchikan, etc - the cruise ship circuit) is almost like a separate state. They’re more like Seattle than the rest of AK.

People don’t ride around all day on dog sleds. We don’t live in igloos. We are Americans. Our Indigenous cultures are diverse and are not all Eskimo. Oh, and most of us can’t see Russia from our back yards.


34. No standing in the bike lanes.

I live in Copenhagen. Stay out of the bike lanes. Consider it a highway and you'll understand why Danes get so mad about someone standing there taking a picture. I've hit 5 tourists who just carelessly walked into the bike lanes.

Do not ride 2-3 wide on them either. The number of times I've seen tourists running 3 deep going 2 MPH is infuriating. People are pretty relaxed but they got work to do.

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33. Pull out the Urban Dictionary for this one.

Tokyo here. There are a lot of insider things people should know before coming here, but one for sure is that people are not going to accept (or even respond politely to) outrageous weebishness. If you roll up in Shibuya with a Naruto headband and a Hello Kitty backpack, trying to communicate through a handful of anime catchphrases while creepily leering at schoolgirls, people are rightly going to give you a wide berth.


32. Fastest route from A to B.

I'm from the Bahamas. What's funny is when people come to the main island, and are surprised to find out that the entire place isn't a clean, beautiful, sandy tropical island no matter where you go. It's also funny when they find out the homicide rate (which is high in comparison to the size and population).

Other popular misconceptions by people who know nothing about us are that we are (and I have seriously heard every last one of these) loincloth-wearing savages that fish all day, drink out of coconuts, and live in straw houses, and sleep in hammocks. That does however perfectly describe the native people who were killed off by the Spanish hundreds of years ago soon after the western world was discovered. Someone once seriously asked me, "Do you guys ride dolphins or are they just friends?" My response was, "They are our main form of transportation, as decreed by King Aquaman."

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31. Name two things you know about Amsterdam.

I lived in Amsterdam for five years. I realized pretty quick for the rest of my life saying you lived in Amsterdam means people assume you’re really into weed, illicit drugs, crazy parties, hookers, or a combination of all that. In actuality, most of my going out was for drinks with colleagues, I don’t like pot, and only ever went to the red light district when someone visiting me was curious enough to see it.

I am also well aware that Dutch people who don’t live in Amsterdam usually hate it. This is typical in small countries where one city dominates the international perspective, but frankly I won’t join in others complaining about it because living there was a highlight of my life.

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30. Never heard that about Australia.

Australia is big, varied, and safe. There are dangerous animals here, but your biggest risk is yourself. Just read the signs (not a metaphor - there's signs about every danger everywhere) and use common sense.

Honestly, I've seen Americans and Canadians, who have been near grizzlies, freak out over a lizard. Just relax man, it's nice here.


29. It's the Maine event.

I grew up on the seacoast of Maine. You've definitely seen a picture of my hometown at some point in your life.

Lots of people spend their summers here. Which is cool! But they mostly don't interact with the locals, so their ideas about what real Mainers are like is largely influenced by stereotypes and internet inside jokes. One thing in particular that stands out is tourists ordering coffee brandy with milk at the bar because they think that's what locals do. While it's true that Allen's Coffee Brandy is the #1 selling liquor in Maine, that's because locals put it in our coffee in the morning. It gets wicked cold up here, bub!

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28. It's ok to go West, after all.

In LA, the only tourist stuff that’s really worth going to are the theme parks, but they’re expensive. Other than that, there’s some great hikes in LA county.

The food is great everywhere. As for restaurant hubs, there’s nice upscale restaurants in Downtown LA, Malibu and Santa Monica. But often, the best food is at cheap mom and pop ethnic restaurants in the enclaves.

I’ve heard a lot of people saying the beaches aren’t worth it, but that’s 100% not true. Beaches like Venice are tourist traps (although they’re fun to people watch at for a quick minute). But there’s some really nice beaches if you head to Malibu or Orange County. Some hidden beaches are harder to get to but worth the trek.

Also, we have some cool museums (the Gettys, Griffith Observatory etc) if that’s your thing. Lots of people hate on LA, but if you stay away from the tourist traps and the hobos, there’s plenty of cool stuff to do.


27. What about a Matt Damon movie?

I'm from Boston. If you're expecting everyone to talk like a Ben Affleck movie you'll be sorely disappointed.

Not a single person calls this place Beantown. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Now the Beanpot....that's some good local food and you should totally go if you're in town in February.

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26. Those places are pretty good, though.

I live in Paris and all the tourists go to the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre museum. Sorry but noooo, there are so many other superb places in Paris.

Also I hate how everybody says Paris is city of love. Sorry but noooo, you walk out of your apartment and you have 1000 cigarettes littering the street. It's just disgusting.

To all tourists, please go to other cities in France, there are many better places in France, Paris is the worst.

You should go for an unforgettable trip to the Alps and Marseille, or in the north of Provence, it's beautiful.


25. It's almost like it's a continent or something.

Australian here. Sydney and stuff are expensive. But the one thing that people underestimate about our country is the sheer size of it. People go to the hotspots like Uluru, GBR, Sydney and Melbourne but they forget that it is a country nearly the size of USA. It's not small and you will meet people who have never left their state before.



24. Eat pizza, look up, repeat.

Here's the thing about New York: while NY has some of the best pizza in the world, there’s also billions of REALLY bad pizza places in NY. Odds are, if you pop into a random pizza place in the city, you’re in for a really bad time. Although it's probably still better than pizza anywhere else.

Also: stop slowly wandering the city looking straight up. People WILL walk into you. Move to the side, stop, and admire the view. We don’t have time to deal with you clogging the sidewalks.


23. The city of no love.

Quebec City here. People need to realize that we are not like a smaller Paris and we are nowhere near as nice as tourist guides make us out to be. Yes, we will be nice toward tourists, but in reality, out of all of the Canadian cities with a population of over 300 000 people, we are among the the most racist and close-minded people. We are almost like the stereotypical redneck.

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22. New Bali not like the old Bali.

I'm currently living in Bali. Yes, there are some beautiful places but generally it's really dirty here. There is literally garbage everywhere as the local government doesn't have a trash collection program. People burn their trash everywhere. Also tons of corruption by police that try to supplement their income. Lots of poverty and poor people from the whole of Indonesia trying their luck here. And there is a reason why the Indonesian government is trying to steer tourists to the "new Bali's" - it is overcrowded.


21. It's a big country.

AMSTERDAM IS NOT THE NETHERLANDS!!!! Honestly if you wanted to visit the Netherlands, go to another city like The Hague and just take the train up to spend like a day in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is beautiful with it's canals and everything but it smells like cheap weed, it's waaaaay too crowded and traffic is ridiculous. I love my city but I would strongly advice you to look into other places in the Netherlands. Our country is amazing but tiny and public transport is great in comparison to most countries so yeah, just think about it!


20. Getting lost in Whistler is no joke.

I live in Whistler BC, the number of people who come up here having done no research and then complain that everything is so expensive and shuts early is overwhelming. First of all, yes, it's expensive, it's a resort town. Half of the people you interact with are working multiple jobs at minimum wage to be here. And if we operated any later it would be at huge risk, it gets dark and cold fast around here. If something happens to you, like you get lost in the snow, you want that extra hour of sunlight so people can come find you.


19. More than meet the eye to New Orleans.

I'm from New Orleans. No, I don't live in the Quarters, no I don't hang out on Bourbon Street, no I don't eat crawfish everyday, and I only drink maybe a couple glasses of wine a couple days a week. Also, there is so much more to this city than the Quarter that is still in your touristy agenda, so stop getting so wasted that you're sick everyday of your trip and see what else we have!

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18. Nordic guidance for the win.

I live in Norway. A ton of tourists forget that Norway is a big country. It’s not the size of Australia, but it’s big and empty and mountainous. I see so many tourists wanting to “do” Trolltunga (which is a difficult hike, averaging around 10 hours each way), then road trip to Bergen, Trondheim, Oslo, and Tromsø. And catch the northern lights. In July. All in the space of a week. From Oslo to Tromsø is about 20 hours of nonstop driving.

Oslo is a really boring city, in my opinion. It’s small with not much to do. I’ve never been to any of the others, but I’m sure tourists would like Bergen and Tromsø much better than Oslo and Trondheim.

Norway is scenic and beautiful, but take your time if you go.

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17. Good news from Cymry.

I live in a touristy part of Wales and would like this cleared up:

We don’t all suddenly switch to speaking Welsh when an English tourist arrives.

There are genuinely people that believe as soon as an English person enters a pub, say, that all the Welsh people who were previously speaking English suddenly switch. No. We have our own language and speak it all the time, just like you do.

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16. Protect what you love.

I’m from Hawai’i. People live here full time - and not in grass huts. The poverty in my home is terrible, drugs are rampant, and our beaches are being destroyed by foreigners (including mainlanders) that don’t respect our land. Yet, I moonlight working in an industry that is pretty tourist-centered, because that’s what brings in money. It’s a vicious cycle.

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15. Domo arigato.

I live in Tokyo. It's not the perfect paradise people imagine it to be. It's a major city, just like London, New York, Toronto, etc, and has major city problems.

The trains run at 130% capacity; garbage & graffiti are almost everywhere; rats, cockroaches, feral cats, & attack crows roam the city; the homeless population just gets shunted around or thrown in jail, and there's little support for them.


14. Common sense from New York.

Most people think that New Yorkers are rude. We can be, totally. But it’s because you tourists mess up the flow of the rest of us who need to get somewhere.

If you get lost a New Yorker will jump at the chance to help. Need a photo taken for your vacation? Someone will take the snapshot.

But here's a tip: If you are sight seeing move to the side and not in the middle of a side walk and never stand more then two people wide unless you got a small child in tow, cool?

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13. Florida wisdom.

Floridian here with some advice.

The best beaches are on the gulf coast, not South Florida and definitely not the Keys.

Alligators are mostly big shy scaredy-cats . Attacks are very rare. They’re not out there eating everybody.

We love the Florida Man meme more than anybody. But most of the people and events here are just as disappointingly normal and boring as they are where you live.

Florida is not a very homogeneous state culturally. The panhandle and most of north Florida is “the South”, but the rest is this mix of Midwest, Northeast and Cuba.

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12. A requiem for Scotland.

Scotland is seen as a wild and untamed land. In reality our hills have been burned for grouse or grazed into oblivion by sheep and deer after all of our large native predators were hunted to extinction. A lot of those iconic barren hills used to have actual scrub and plant life on them. Livestock farming and hunting have ruined our countryside. A report came out the other day that also states that wildlife is declining faster in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK. The people want change - particularly doing away with the big estates causing a lot of the destruction - but money talks like anywhere else. I still love my country with all my heart which is why it is incredibly difficult to watch it being destroyed.

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11. In the dark heart of Africa.

I hail from Cape Town, South Africa. Firstly, the moment people see AFRICA, they think we all own baby lion cubs and ride on elephants from A-B. We do not. Cape Town is a modern, developed city.

They also expect great things due to our rich culture and history. Table Mountain, penguins at Boulders beach, you name it. Sadly, They don't think we have internet or any other form of modern technology. They're in for a big surprise when they get here.

I think the biggest surprise is the way our poverty will hit them when they land in Cape Town. We have a "settlement" filled with clusters of shacks right next to the airport. So the scenic drive from the airport to the main city is filled with shacks. It can be very shocking.


10. Capital advice about Capitol Hill.

I was born and raised in Washington, DC. No, I don't know the president, stop asking. Most politicians are jerks in person, and no, they don't care about you.

Also, treat the Washington Mall like an American airport. Don't say the word "bomb" or do anything sketchy. Secret Service is everywhere and they don't joke. Also, for the love of god, if you come to DC for an inauguration or parade or whatever else OBEY PARKING LAWS. They do not mess around when it comes to towing in DC. It's a crowded city with high traffic rates. Every four years a bunch of tourists think they're cute parking on private property or on the curb, or wherever else thinking they're immune to the law here or something, only to come back and realize their car has been towed and they're now stranded hundreds of miles from home bawling their eyes out to the authorities who've long since grown indifferent and cold to the same song and dance they hear every four years.

I'm not kidding you, some tourist once parked in my mother's front lawn during Obama's first inauguration. Don't do that.

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9. Also, Bob Marley.

A lot of people think of Jamaica as a tropical paradise.

No, it isn’t. A lot of people can’t afford food, water, and electricity at the same time (apparently electricity used to be cheaper but since the government sold it to some private company, now it’s expensive.)

Sadly one of the things we are known for is crime. Our crimes are pretty bad. Not as bad as Latin America, but it’s still bad, and our job market isn’t exactly helping its case.

The people here are nice: well yes, but actually no. We will treat tourists nicely if you're a tourist because you're basically one of the few things that fuel our economy.

And don’t come if you're gay, they won’t mind killing you and your spouse for being bad to the Bible or some nonsense.

The country is nice, but we could really use a do over.

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8. It's not all tacos in Texas.

I'm from Austin, Texas. People who aren't from Austin tend to think of it like a cool hipster town. Lots of good craft beer, quirky and fun stuff to do, nice bars, live music, good food.

While all that is true, at least for parts of the city, it wasn't always the case. Somehow we got really popular, drew in a lot of tech talent and tourists, and anything that was a local hangout or some kind of Austin legend got pushed out or bulldozed. Yeah some of the new eateries are cool, but anything over 15 years old probably isnt around any more, and a lot of it was better and cheaper. Now we have expensive condos where our pubs, clubs, and burger joints once stood.

It's like Austin was known for being a college town where you could live off street tacos and cheap beer, and then everybody figured that out and it all just vanished.

It's a well known fact that Austinites hate tourists. I'd say we dont really hate tourists (unless they're on those stupid scooters and then yeah, definitely), we hate what their traffic did to our city.

Another misconception about Austin is that I can afford to live here and enjoy all the city has to offer. Cost of living is a joke, and so is the job market. Can't enjoy SXSW or ACL if I have to work through it to pay rent, you know?

food-mexican-food-pastor-tacos-211177-300x224.jpgPhoto by Eduardo Ponce de Leon from Pexels

7. High tech / low tech in Seoul.

I live in Seoul but moved here from the UK, so I'd probably say it's how everyone expects it to be: super high-tech, convenient, and modern because South Korea managed to get that reputation due to having (at the time) crazy fast internet. The super hightech/convenient stuff (in my opinion) would be:

  • Constant wifi, even in the subways.
  • Almost every PC Bang (essentially gaming cafes) I've been to allows you to order food and drink FROM your computer and people will bring it over for you. I thought it was really interesting that they had their system for ordering food and drink without leaving your chair.
  • In the 5 or so years I've lived here, I've never lived in or been in apartment that still uses physical keys. Usually it's an electronic number lock and you will usually get a card that unlocks it as well.

The less than modern / inconvenient things would be:

  • Doing almost anything online requires you to have a phone contract that's bound to the ID card you're legally required to carry at all times.
  • Banks charge fees for EVERYTHING. Even my own bank charges me like 50c to withdraw cash.
  • Online banking usually requires you to use third party security software, which is starting to get better but still an issue. I literally just use my phone to do all my banking because it's soo much easier.
  • Korean websites usually look like a 2005 forum, like the whole website is made using tables.
  • If you live in an older part of Seoul or in a less modern city in general, you'll probably have terrible sewage systems that require you to put used tissue in a bin, rather than flushing it down the toilet.

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6. Temperature is subjective.

I'm from Phoenix. A lot of tourists plan a desert resort vacation then complain the entire time that they’re in a desert.

It’s mostly brown if you come from a place with lush vegetation, the air is as dry as it gets so if your skin likes humidity, you probably won’t like this city & it’s quite possibly one of the most sprawling cities in the US with a heavy emphasis on suburbia so it’s not like it’s poppin’ all over like Scottsdale/downtown Phoenix. Seen people book an Airbnb in Gilbert & complain the whole time that it was just surburbia. Yes. Yes it is. Do your research.

Also it is NOT warm in the winter. It may be warmer than the Midwest/northeast (thank god for that) but it’s pretty much not warm enough to swim from October to May & the warmest it gets between December and March is maybe 75-80 if we’re having a warm winter. Don’t expect 90+F in January my dudes. It doesn’t happen regularly, if at all.

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5. Flying insects won't deter most tourists.

Grew up in LA and San Francisco, and spent 5 years+ on Oahu.

LA and SF are unbelievably crowded (obviously). The tourist traps of downtown LA aren't all that great. The Walk of Fame is good for a second, and that's about it. The Grauman's Chinese theatre (TCL) isn't all that big. The Hollywood sign is a pain to get to and isn't worth the drive/traffic.

In SF, Fisherman's wharf is highly priced seafood you can literally buy for a tenth of the price if you travel 5 miles away. The Golden Gate Bridge is just a bridge. Lombard Street is just a Street. Dolores park is filled with hippies and homeless people (including mission district). Downtown is filled with traffic, homeless, and smells of uniqueness.

In Oahu, the "you're so lucky you live in Hawaii" from friends and family gets tiresome. When they visit, you HAVE to play tour guide. It gets rather expensive. Driving down to Honolulu/Waikiki area is a pain due to traffic and the amount of overly priced parking spots (unless you're military.)

A lot of tourist that visit have limited English and don't follow rules about littering in the ocean and staying off the coral reefs. The amount of people that try to do the stairway to heaven hike is stupid as most get injured. Same goes with a VERY touristy hike of diamond head. A lot of tourist get heat stroke due to the elevation and humidity. Yes living on Oahu was great, but the thing they don't tell you about in the guides is flying cockroaches and centipedes!

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4. It's not everyone's idea of paradise.

I lived in Hawaii for about 8 years before moving to Texas. My grocery bill is about a third of what it was out there and that’s buying higher quality food as well. I can’t imagine raising a family in Hawaii with the high cost of living out there, I was single at the time and it was tough.

The best part was the year I was living out there and my company at the time had their annual awards trip. Usually it was to some nice all-inclusive resort in the Bahamas or Fiji or Mexico. The year I win? It’s at the Hawaiian resort literally two blocks away from where I lived.


3. The City of Hungry Angels.

The food scene in Los Angeles is sensational. We have over 100 different countries represented here, and cuisines from every one of them. Not just Mexican, but every region in Mexico. Not just Thailand or Japan or Korea or China, but every single region in those countries as well. Every possible cuisine from Central America and South America. Polynesian, Filipino. Russia, Armenia. Ethiopia, Moroccan, Egyptian, all kinds of middle eastern food too.

We have a huge Persian population and the most amazing shawarma and falafel restaurants. Italian, German, French, Polish. British. Irish pubs. Amazing food trucks. Seafood joints. Great burgers of literally every kind for every palate. Sausages. Incredible Jewish delis. Amazing high-end fancy steakhouses and seafood restaurants. Weird indie coffee joints, vegan restaurants, super fresh health farm-to-table restaurants.

The best part is they're so used to picky celebs that you can usually customize things on the menu if you have some kind of dietary needs. And the coolest thing is that new restaurants open every single week. Check Eater LA for a lot of food news. It's a great city if you enjoy trying all kinds of new stuff.

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2. No more kiwi for you.

New Zealand here. It's sold as a clean green eco country where there are views out every window and you can romp along the empty tracks and beaches to your heart's delight. The reality is a lot different. The country is going through an eco crisis, water quality in most rivers has dropped to the point where they are not swimmable, old school sewerage overflows are contaminating the beaches and every track of international note is shuffling room only. While there is still stunning scenery, the rest of the country is struggling to keep up with an influx of people alongside a housing crisis that's made home ownership a pipe dream for many.

Tourists often think that, being such a small country, they can drive from A-B in X hours as that's what it would take back home for that distance. The realty is that the majority of our roads/highways are single lanes on winding roads with one-way bridges and few chances to overtake. The drivers suck and you will cop a gesture or two if you dare look at another driver.

For the most part people are nice and friendly but it's like every other developed country. Leave something of value in your car and it'll get nicked. Walk down a dark street at night and some hooligan will try one over on you. Flash a bit of coin and someone will figure out a way to part you from it.

New Zealand's a great country but it is a heavily developed country which comes with all the associated problems. It's a long time since it's been 100% pure.

new-zealand-73230_1920-300x225.jpgImage by nadine_simoner from Pixabay

1. Go tell it on the mountains.

I live in beautiful Jasper, Alberta. People who visit think it is a huge, thriving, tourist city. It’s not. Outside of the housing district, it’s literally a city block of shops, most of them selling the same cheap touristy crap. There are a few gems though - Anna Lee’s Candy, Jasper Rock & Jade, and Ransom are all that is really worth hitting up. There are only three really good restaurants. (Montana’s, The Curry House, and Something Else). The rest are “meh”.

It’s not as expensive to live as some other places, but trying to find accommodations as an employee in Jasper is brutal. You need to make 200K or more a year to afford anything, and there is nothing available. Got pets? You might as well give up looking. Almost every house is insanely expensive tourist accommodation or is so restrictive, you can’t even breathe indoors without facing eviction. Food/goods are about average price for the area, but the nearest general supply store is an hour away (Hinton) and it’s a super tiny Wal-Mart that generally has bare shelves. Edson is two hours away, and they’ve got a Wal-Mart super centre, buuutttt that’s it. Anything good (Costco, variety) is 3 hours away.

Sure, if you’re outdoorsy, there’s a lot of amazing, beautiful things to see and do. I can list off hundreds of really awesome things worth doing. Driving the 93 is the most breathtakingly beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Even if that road is crazy and deadly.

The sheer number of tour companies herding people through the more popular attractions kills a few really nice, natural spots. Not to mention tourists are dirty! They leave trash EVERYWHERE. (And if they need to relieve themselves, apparently anywhere will do). They also don’t pay attention to signs telling you to stay on the trails, causing damage, harassing wildlife, and making huge messes.

Those that drive, DON’T EMERGENCY STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HIGHWAY TO LOOK AT ELK!!! Pull over, at least! Or wait until a town site. They are literally everywhere. You’re on a major federal highway, you’re going to cause a major accident, get whacked by a rig, and really tick off Parks (and locals who have to take the only road in/out of town). Also stay off the train bridge! Heck yeah, it’s absolutely an amazing view, and old, scenic bridge, but track speed is 80 MPH. Don’t put an innocent crew through hitting your dumb self! You’re also trespassing, which is major fines.

Banff is kind of the same go. Just bigger, with a few more cool things to see/do.

And, yeah, Canadians are cool. We’re pretty chill. Yes, most of the staff in these places are Kiwis or Aussies. Not Canadians. We’re friendly and happy to see you, but are even happier when you leave.

Footnote - Yes, Canada is massive and driving anywhere can be a day or two affair. Plan accordingly. Also, bring warm clothing, regardless of time of year. The mountains often still have snow in the middle of summer.

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