How (and how not) to be a tourist

Last weekend I had the utmost pleasure of visiting Seattle, in a country (USA) that I have never stepped foot in before. My times spent there was joyous, and I’ve made fond memories.

A skyline view from the Columbia tower!

However, there were big blunders in my trip that I made, which could have ruined the trip for me in different circumstances. The thing is, when being a tourist in a new city you have to have an element of common sense as well. Sadly, I lack that occasionally.

So I’m here to talk about what to do, and definitely what not to do, when in a new city either travelling with friends, family, or solo. AKA, how not to make the mistakes that I made!



  • Plan it out (if you can)! 

By doing this step I could have saved valuable time sightseeing other major attractions, as opposed to meandering around at 9am wondering what is even open. Of course this doesn’t mean that planning down to the last detail is key (being spontaneous can be more exciting at times), but definitely having a knowledge of the places you’re  going to be is a good idea.

  • Talk to locals

As much as Google Maps can tell you about the city and the best places to go to lunch, nothing can beat someone who actually knows the area to tell you which places are worth the money. Also, believe me, people are nice, they’ll be definitely willing to help you with anything if you need it (shout out to the woman who showed me where the plug sockets were in the restaurant when my phone was dying)!

  • Be savvy with spending money

I get it, it’s a new place and all you wanna do is spend your money on random snow globes and key rings for your family and friends. However, always ensure you’ve got money for emergency situations, especially in countries where health care is not as kind in cost or functionality as the NHS (if ever you need it).



  • Overlook hotel/accommodation rules and guidelines

Nobody reads terms and conditions, but maybe when staying in a new place it’s best to look over them. For example, while in Seattle I read (just by chance) that the hotel takes no responsibility if somebody broke in and stole something in my room. Honestly, I’m not sure if that’s a normal thing in hotels, but it definitely made me nervous! of course nothing happened, but it did make me extra cautious of making sure you know what you’re signing onto when staying somewhere.

  • Be too carefree with where you put your money

So I did actually ‘lose’ some money that was in my coat pocket in Seattle, and this was shocking, as I’ve never had anything taken from my pockets before. In big cities, where there are lovely people, there are also people that target touristy looking people for extra cash. Another alternative tip is to not ‘look’ touristy (although I found this a lot harder to maintain)!

  • Accidentally lose your bag of souvenirs whilst trying to take pictures of the sunset…



But despite my mistakes, I had a fabulous weekend! Hope these tips shine some good light on your future tourist endeavours.

Have a fabulous week! x

Seattle’s gem: the beloved Space Needle!

If you’re interested in travelling abroad yourself, while at Swansea Uni, have a look at:

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