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I work near Faneuil Hall, a place writhing with tourists. I, however, have never seen the appeal. From the overpriced marketplace to the nauseating throng of the masses traipsing along like a herd of sheep, Faneuil Hall hardly represents the authentic Boston. The marketplace is basically an outdoor mall with a sprinkle of street performers. The indoor food court is not the best place to sample Boston’s specialties. The food is decent but you would do better off trying clam chowder at Legal Seafood, where you don’t have to stalk people for a table.
The best eating in Faneuil Hall is at Kingfish Hall. The overly popular and historic Durgin Park is cheaper than Kingfish but doesn’t hold a candle to quality. I would recommend eating in the neighboring North End instead.
Unique Suggestions: I wouldn't reccomend spending more than an hour or two in Faneuil Hall / Quincy Market. There is so much within walking distance to see.
Fun Alternatives: Although the Freedom Trail is touristy, you’ll see more of Boston than you will by spending a day at Faneuil Hall. Boston is blessed with a rich history-don’t waste your time shopping for tacky doodads and battling crowds. Go out into Boston’s neighborhoods instead such as the aforementioned North End.
Written Aug 23, 2006
I won't say that it isn't cool to see, but Times Square in New York City is pretty much for the tourists. Like any other tourist trap, there may be plenty to feast your eyes on, but you won't be getting anything other than some eye candy and the chance to buy cheap souvenirs.
Updated Aug 22, 2006
The price of souvenirs at the actual tourist attraction or at the airport is almost always higher than when bought elsewhere, but the real trap is not the price. The real trap is the origin of manufacture. This is true for cheap plastic items and for expensive imitation Navajo blankets. Also beware of the existence of fake brand name items, especially if purchasing off the street or at a flea market.
Unique Suggestions: Look carefully for the 'made in the usa' label if you want something made in the usa.
Fun Alternatives: Traditional American handicrafts are available, but do not expect bargain prices.
Written Jul 2, 2006
Before it became a haven for tourists, Waikiki was a swamp. Nowadays it is all hotels and buildings catering to tourists in order to suck as much money out of their pockets as possible. As far as a Hawai'ian experience that is true and pure, you won't really find it right in Waikiki.
Unique Suggestions: Take a surf lesson on the beach. Get some sun.
Fun Alternatives: The Polynesian Cultural Center.
A drive around the island to it's nooks and crannies.
Written Apr 10, 2006
For some reason people just flock to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. It's a ridiculously fake place with cheesy stores and things to do that have nothing to do with San Francisco. I guess it is the place that people go when they have no desire to learn about the true San Francisco and just want to immerse themselves in something different from their own world and are happy to do it in a place that lacks substance.
Unique Suggestions: See the sea lions. See the fleet of national historic landmark vessels at Hyde Street Pier (all the way at the far end closest to the Golden Gate Bridge).
Fun Alternatives: The Haight/Ashbury district which still has a lot of touristy qualities, but a lot more local personality.
Updated Apr 10, 2006
South of the Border is one of the most ridiculous tourist traps in the United States. Yet...you feel compelled to stop and check it out for some reason...even though you know it is still a tourist trap! Located in South Carolina at the border with North Carolina off I-95, it's a good place to stop for a break and for a few laughs. My most vivid memory from South of the Border (when I was a little kid) was the condoms for bulls they sold at the cash register - they were probably 5 or 6 inches wide. I'm sure my mother would love to hear that story.
Unique Suggestions: Buy something ridiculous, yet funny, to take home.
Fun Alternatives: Keep driving and don't stop.
Updated Apr 10, 2006
dont buy disney stuff in the parks you will find the same stuff in most of the shops and at a lesser cost
Unique Suggestions: buy only small items and promise the kids that they will get twice as much outside.
Fun Alternatives: any shop but not hotel.
Written Aug 17, 2005
Jackson Hole is a real tourist town, completely in western style. They go a long way to make the tourists happy. Every night in the center of town there is a shoot out, which is quite fun to watch, despite the rain that was falling down on me all the time.
I am not a real fan of these tourist places, but after days of only nature it was quite fun to spend the night in this town. It is a little town that provides every need of a tourist like dining, amusement and of course do a lot of shopping.
But Jackson Hole is also a great starting point to visit the Grand Tetons. I had never heard of this park, so I didn't plan to spend any time here. I only planned to drive through it to go to Yellowstone National Park. I wish I had know better.... It is truly a beautiful park and really worth visiting. The next time I go to Yellowstone I will make sure to spend some time here.
Updated Mar 3, 2005
Bias is increasingly creeping into travel agency computers, making it tougher for customers to easily spot the best prices on sites such as Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz or snag the best deals from traditional travel agents.
Written Dec 10, 2004
As a tourist in the USA, I always knew about tipping, but thought it was at my discretion and should be about the same as the state tax added on again eg appr 10% of the bill. Not so in New York City - at some restaurants tipping is NOT at your discretion it is almost compulsory and at a set rate. I always tip and dont mind tipping what I consider a reasonable amount , but in some restaurants it is actually factored into the bill receipt and added on automatically at 15% via the cash register - I didnt even get a choice in it. I will keep my personal opinions about that to myself but its a good idea to be aware you will be up for a 15% whether you think its worth it or not - in once case I left %10 and the owner actually came up to the table to question the tip and why it wasnt the full 15%. He pointed out it was written on the cash register printout - which it was...Being out of town didnt carry any weight. VERY embarassing and not really what i thoght tipping was supposed to be about. So beware...check the local rate in each state in the USA
Unique Suggestions: Not a lot you can do here if their cash register print out has added it on at a pre-determined for you already without your say-so, unless you want to cause a real scene. If paying by a card, check the printout you get back on what the tip rate is. Will be under the total and the tax usually - Fill it in if you are happy with it. You leave it blank and put cash on the table might be the best bet to avoid this 'compulsory' tipping etc.
Updated Nov 23, 2004
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