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Dont be Touristy and Offend the Locals! Here is why!

Are Touristy Sites and Activities More Hype than Value?

To be or not to be Touristy – Are the Sites More Hype or Yes Please? 

Okay I guess the tourist popo will be out with water guns and skimpy mankinis demanding for my pound of flesh. Yet, hear me out when I say dont be touristy and avoid all those over subscribed sites if you can!

If you ever went to Disney World Florida in the heat of summer and suffered the heaving masses and queues with toddlers and no fast pass tickets, you know exactly what I mean! 

Or maybe you wanna go in the low season!  We did and It was just as hot and well the queues were still there lol!


Trust Me You dont want to be Touristy – Here is why! 

Where I grew up, tourists were both admired and disliked a wee bit… A bit of a mix bag here but hear me out! I think there was a bit of envy there as well.

Tourists seemed to have all the money, living in the big hotels and enjoying life…Some walked around in “sapatus” aka flip flops, and littered everywhere…These are the ones we disliked.

Imagine, my mother used to look at them with disdain…she would go: 

How can these clearly better-heeled people be so dirty and uncaring of the city they were visiting?

Seriously most touristy people in Kampala then, littered and acted like they had a picker upper behind them…

Despite all that,…I envied them and their children who seemed to hang out in all the trendy places. 

So, I remembered my childhood dream of travelling the world too. I shared about it in the book I wrote for you: Afro-Brit Travelpreneur Confessions, you can Buy your copy here!

Afro-Brit Travelpreneur Confessions by Julie Sylvia Kalungi

See, I always had a dream of becoming a “Tourist” minus the littering. And I  guess my mom’s disdain of the littering tourists had me falling in love with Traveling like a local. And being mindful of my environment! 


You can imagine when we travel, when the children were younger, they would want to go to a MacDonalds and I would go…Nope, greasy, unhealthy junk…! Let’s find a real local eatery.

Plus I would have raided the hotel’s breakfast Fruits, Yogurt, and breads bar for our snacks and lunch…If we went B&B.

That was before we discovered Half Board and All Inclusive vacations. See we did the maths and we realised it is WAY cheaper to go Half Board or All inclusive. When we saw how much we were spending on B&Bs and Self-Catering Holidays, in a bid to have variety, we were sold!

And to avoid being touristy remember?

We love to see works of art don’t get me wrong, yet we prefer to discover new sites and new views off the touristy trail!

When we first visited Rome, while everyone was heading to the Vatican, we headed to the Keyhole. 😉

Don’t get me wrong, every pilgrim must visit the Vatican and all things Vaticano. Yet, competing with hoards of smart phone totting, selfie taking tourists who were there to visit too was not any fun. Meanwhile the View from the Keyhole was shamazing!

Why Not Be Touristy?

Of course, we all want to see the sites and views a city or country is famous for. Yet, who wants to find themselves behind a long queue of other tourists, possibly in hot environments, led by a guide with a shiny umbrella held high with some tinsel so as not to lose a single tourist on their guided tour?

I tell you it is much more fun to allow yourself to “Get lost” up a hill and into a beautiful local park with local children playing, people picnicking and no tourist in sight!

Below are some of the none touristy things that we have done in our travels and how we learnt about them things.


Definitely Don’t be Touristy in Uganda:

Well of course I grew up in Uganda and I would love for you not to be touristy, rather to be Safe and Enjoy the Pearl of Africa.

In Uganda we literally take local boda-boda’s sometimes to get to a destination in the city centre faster. Even more so in the rural areas where there are way less cars. Be sure to seek out the Safe Bodas. 

At some point, we took the local taxi everywhere. Few tourists ever do this as they are far too scared. Backpackers do it all the time though. Usually these are heading for adventure, adrenaline filled Safaris anyway!  

See, there is no air-conditioning in these taxis and people sit arm pit to arm pit and the smells can be overwhelming… But. It’s authentic. It’s an experience. :) 

[Read More about Doing Uganda like a Local Here.]


Don’t Be Touristy in Los Angeles California

OMG of course you should do all the touristy things in Los Angeles Carli…I mean who doesn’t want to go up the Hollywood Hills Celeb watch, head to Beverley Hills Blvd, go to Rodeo Drive, et al?

BUT, definitely take the time out to Go off the beaten Track. We asked a family friend and they took us around LA, the side tourists don’t get to see.

Including areas, you just might not wish to go on your own doing the Touristy thing. Areas like Vernice… This part is rough and you want to have local company in some neighbourhoods.

Definitely head out to down town LA and do the Staples Stadium, check out Hooters, go shopping in LA Market on the east side and you will think you are in a Turkish market or something…

The designer knock offs you will find here are amazing lol. Including supposed Egyptian cotton bedsheets at 300 thread count…until you get home and wash them…Tourist high five right there.

Talking of touristy. Sometimes we become childlike and allow our children to have an education. We thus indulge them in tour fests of all the tourist sites in some destinations. Mainly because there is lots of Art.

I mean who doesn’t want to visit the Sistine Chapel or the Trevi Fountain? This also helps to keep their spirits up and give them something to show their friends on snapchat and Instagram. After all you are a tourist most times too, so you can do the touristy stuff and enjoy it! Just do not litter will ya!

[Read more about the must visit Areas in Los Angeles Here!]


Don’t Be Touristy – Final Words

Okay, we have been to lots and lots of destinations and every time, we continue to look for the least frequented spots to spend our quality time, while also checking out the Insta-worthy Touristy stuff to keep abreast of the history!

I love finding gems in new destinations so much, I have written about How I love to live like a local in my home city of Liverpool!

[Recommended – How to travel like a local]

So, I could go on about what we do and where, yet, I guess you don’t have the time to read all that stuff. Plus, you do get the message, right?

If you do you agree with me, Don’t Be Touristy, Share your insights below and Do spread the word by Sharing on Facebook… 

Dont be Touristy in any country and offend the locals. Here is what we mean!

See, Do, and Be more!

Syl Kalungi

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15 thoughts on “Are Touristy Sites and Activities More Hype than Value?”

  1. Great post here. It is not something I had thought about before but makes good sense. I hate big crowds and having to queue ages to do the thing.

  2. I feel the same about touristy spots, as much as I want to visit them, and many people recommend them to me, I also want to explore the hidden gems too!

    Ami xxx

  3. Annemarie LeBlanc

    If I can, I prefer places away from crowds. I mean, the reason I went on vacation is to have some rest and relaxation, so why would I go to those crowded places? Defeats the purpose of why I went on vacation in the first place.

  4. I will almost always do the touristy options when ever I go away and although some are overhyped I never regret doing them. Then once I’ve done the touristy bits I always like to just explore x

  5. I think you should find a happy medium between tourist spots and real local places. There are some sites that are so unique, they are basically why I traveled to the place so I couldn’t miss them. But for restaurants and shops, definitely go smaller!

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