Even though the connotation for what “tourist traps” is quite often significantly less than appealing, many of these places are in reality interesting on a less than mainstream kind of way. You will find people these days that will rather enjoy quaint, off-road, eccentric places than the most used tourist spots. Tourist traps, usually, are roadside or tourist attractions that have acquired bad reputations. And this reputation has been steadily drilled into public consciousness by unscrupulous individuals who are following a quick buck. Their main victims are unsuspecting out-of-town visitors or overseas tourists who’d not dare raise issues for anxiety about upsetting the locals’ sensibilities. Today, tourist traps have become synonymous with cheesy out-of-the-way places that offer nothing more than cheaply made trinkets with exorbitant price tags. Karimunjawa More frequently than not, these places are surrounded by small stores offering food, beverage and a good sampler of the area brew. Interestingly, these small stores make a substantial income from tourists who just want to get far from the madness of the place. And yes, all these places have rest rooms – usually the one consistent element that produces them attractive to passer-bys. Unfortunately, a number of them request a certain fee for performing normal bodily functions.
Tourist traps originally started as innocuous roadside attractions. There is an occasion when cross country traveling on solid ground became all the rage among erstwhile travelers – think for one moment of pre-commercial airlines flight period. These places were (and still is) frequently advertised all throughout main thoroughfares. Huge billboards and even haphazardly staked signs were intended to catch the interest of tourists without planned itineraries.
These “places of interest” were considered as brief interludes to a traveler’s journey – except that a few of these places had hardly any to offer, or in a few extreme cases, were outright shams. These places usually charged for entrance fees, but their main almost all income was from selling merchandise promoting the place. Postcards, cheap shirts and even cheaper caps were the norm. However, there had been other unique pieces like rocks harvested from the location, beaded jewelry created by the locals and other unique curiosities that you’d probably see in another the main country (at a portion of the price.)
Today, tourist traps remain virtually the same. Many of them evolved from previously respectable tourist attractions which became so outdated people wonder why they still exist. Others are places specifically intended to attract more visitors to a certain location; great examples of these are establishments with novelty architecture (buildings with unusual shapes like a huge tea cup house or a large doughnut-shaped bakery); and small town places with one unique product (like the World’s Largest Ball of Twine.) Others yet, are legitimate tourist attractions which can be overrun by commercialism and unchecked tourist population.
Not all tourist traps are gateways to a prolonged hell, though. You will find enough activities in a few of these places; enough to ensure that a few of then are dubbed unofficially as “family attraction stops.” There could be services that provide arcade games, carnival rides, pony rides, thematic restaurants, and even wax museums. However, if you’d rather not work the trails of the tourist traps, here are some suggestions regarding how you can differentiate legit tourist attractions and tourist traps – and eventually, avoid them altogether.
There is a fine line about what tourist attractions and what tourist traps are. Most legitimate attractions simply succumb to the call of commercialism; or rather, the entrepreneur minded individuals around the location make the most of the glut of tourists, and inadvertently making a tourist trap.
One great indication of a tourist trap could be the price. If everything appears to be swimming in inflation, from the entrance tickets, to the merchandise and even the meals offered in the place (anything at all that can be rightfully constituted to highway robbery,) then this is probably one heck of a tourist trap. In case a specific location is just too much for your wallet, then it could be better to use your luck somewhere else. This really is probably one of the greatest reasons as to the reasons you need to not sign up to the offered packaged tours. Inadvertently, one will add a tourist trap; and since it’s a packaged tour, you really can’t bail out of it.
Another indication may be measured by ratio. When there is a balance involving the ratio of interesting things to see / do / experience versus the merchandise being sold in the place, you then are likely in a legit tourist attraction. Naturally, there will be merchandise sold in these places, but its main focal point could be the structure or architecture it represents. Tourist traps, on the other hand, have hardly any to represent, and they thrive on selling merchandise. It therefore goes without saying that in order to keep the economy afloat around tourist traps, entrepreneurs have to sell merchandise and price them expensively too.