Rumors and gossip don’t equal the truth. What you’ve heard about some of the best holiday destinations in the world might not actually be what going there is really like.
And pretty much each and every place that’s worth going to has some stereotypes about it. From the romantic and culture-infused Paris to the party beaches of dozens of different towns and countries. But the locals are here to set the record straight.
A group of redditors dispelled the myths about their home cities and countries in a viral r/AskReddit thread, and we’re bringing their insights to you, dear Pandas. Read on and when you’re done, drop on by the comment section to tell us all about the myths about your home town.
Bored Panda got in touch with former art gallery director Shelby Bercume to have a chat about some of the myths about her home state, Florida, a place that got over 122 million visitors in 2021 alone.
“The sun shines all the time. I know we are called the Sunshine State but do recall this is also the land of hurricanes and floods. Also for whatever reason, our ads are always at these solitary beaches and stuff. We are so crowded! I don’t know where people got the idea we’re this laid-back remote beach place. If you know about Florida, so do all your friends. And they are all here to visit.” she quipped. Scroll down to read the rest of Shelby’s great insights, how to easily recognize tourists, as well as her warning about alligators in freshwater sources.
I live in Las Vegas. Listen. What happens in Vegas stays on the internet and also in the stories of every local who saw you do it. Don’t do stupid [things].
Shelby told us a bit about what’s popular in sunny Florida. “Key West is super popular. It has the typical Florida experience with the beaches and the huts and the drinks and the cute beach houses,” she shared with Bored Panda.
“Orlando is also a fun one for the theme parks. If you are a little more adventurous you may also enjoy an airboat ride in the swamps of Everglades National Park,” she gave some awesome suggestions.
Australia is big, varied, and safe. There are dangers 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 f*cking grizzlies, freak out over a lizard. Just relax man, it’s nice here.
Tokyo here. I could name a few, but the one that always gets me is the misconception that people are 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.
According to Florida-based Shelby, it’s always easy to spot someone who isn’t a local. “You can literally tell how long a tourist has been here by how bad their sunburn is. That aside, it is really easy to spot a tourist though. Lots of pictures, walking slow, driving slow, stuff like that. As far as I am concerned, as long as you stay off the road during rush hour and are respectful of others, you are all good in my book,” she subtly noted that tourists have to be considerate of the actual locals, too.
“If you are visiting Florida, assume that there are gators in every source of freshwater. DO NOT go swimming or let your kid or your pet swim in unfamiliar waters. Even if you think, ‘This is a manmade pond. There can’t be gators,’ trust me, there can and there are. Stay out,” she warned everyone to be extremely wary of freshwater sources that they are unfamiliar with.
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 a** 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.
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.
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.
Professor Christine Vogt, the Director of the Center for Sustainable Tourism at Arizona State University, went into detail about traveling and respecting other cultures with us.
She said that learning a bit of the local language and about the local customs is a must when you’re going abroad. “More than likely that is what draws a person to visit a certain place. The more local knowledge a traveler has, the more a traveler can feel like a local and fit in,” she told Bored Panda during an earlier interview.
“Local customs can include how a traveler dresses, eats, uses a cell phone, etc. When a traveler is out in a community such as walking in a downtown area or eating in a restaurant, these local customs can come into play,” Professor Vogt said.
It’s called the ‘Sunshine State’ but it rains every single day in the spring and summer. Tourists always seem surprised by that.
No there is no dome over Disney to control the weather or the bugs – though Disney does have a great mosquito control program.
Also, Miami is nowhere near as sexy as they make it seem on TV. That’s like 2 streets by the beach and that’s it, not that you want to be in that area because everything is more expensive and also sinking into the ocean so things keep collapsing.
The wealth disparity is disgustingly clear.
The REST of Miami is full of poverty, construction that gets abandoned, and tons of homelessness because of the batsh*t housing prices. Florida is only fun for the rich-rich. Don’t come here if you’re not, you WILL struggle.
The bears aren’t friendly, if you feed them, they will come back.
All deer are not Bambi, they will hurt you.
Cougars are not kitty cats, you look like a nice steak dinner to them.
Don’t go hiking or skiing in the back country if you aren’t prepared. You make my job as a search & rescuer hard when you make stupid decisions like that.
Yes snow may be fun for 2 or 3 days of your trip, but from September to July, it gets dull fast.
Am I salty about tourists? You bet
London. People think it’s really quaint and idyllic and we all fart around drinking tea and twirling canes. A huge majority of it is a sh*thole. The buses look very nice on a postcard but they generally stink of piss. The Thames could probably kill you if you dip a toe in. The London Eye is boring as sh*t.
Pubs are good though.
“For example, in Buddhist countries, a woman who has not covered her shoulders or legs may not be allowed into temples or even a restaurant. Learn as many local customs as you can and a few key words to enhance your experience,” she urged.
Unfortunately, some tourists are so disrespectful, they even take ‘souvenirs’ from historic sites. According to Professor Vogt, the locals can post the penalties for stealing, set up signs that would discourage this sort of behavior, and set up cameras to catch any rule-breakers.
Even something as setting up a display of items that have been returned by tourists can help motivate people to respect the local culture and history.
I live in the Caribbean and a lot of people (foreigners) seem to think in my island we live by the sea sipping coconuts all day.
In reality my country is struggling.
We had a hurricane like 3 yrs ago and people still live in sh*t (the government has helped a lot of people with housing to be fair) The man in power may or may not have stole like 1.5 billion dollars, this led to a major protest the other day and election is coming soon so yay more drama.
In other words the Caribbean is not a heavenly get away where nothing bad happens.
“Speaking of bad things, as a random side note” if you take a trip to any Caribbean island rape, robbery especially of white tourists (not really a race thing but a lot of people falsely think they are rich cus white skin) and human trafficking are a very real problem stay safe guys.
(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 murder 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) loin cloth wearing savages that fish all day, drink out of coconuts, and live 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, “They are our main form of transportation as decreed by King Aquaman.”
Alaska. Where to begin?? It’s not always dark. In fact, in the summer it’s quite light. Hence some difficulty viewing northern lights in summer months. Ditto 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.
We lived on the beach in San Diego for years and apparently everyone who comes to visit thinks we like to party 24/7. Especially the AirBnB next door to us.
We would ask nicely the day before to please knock off at 3am but often they would party til 5 and there’s no reasoning with drunk young people.
Since we woke up and left by 7:30am, we would put on a YouTube video titled “12 hours of a crying baby” and turn up the stereo and let it play the 5 or so hours we’d be away.
It certainly opened the channels of dialogue and respect from there on out.
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 live in Munich. We just had Oktoberfest. The most aromatic of all events. Vomit. Urine. Mostly vomit.
Not all of New York City is as crowded as the touristy areas. The vast majority of us aren’t navigating through Times Square as part of our daily commutes (but mad sympathy to those who actually have to).
I live in Las Vegas. People are occasionally shocked when they hear I work at a school. I’ve been told several times, “I didn’t even think Vegas had schools.”
I live in California. Non-Californians be like “ohhh wow I love all the palm trees and the beaches, you are so lucky!”.
I live in the middle of a desert. Nothing but dirt, joshua trees, 70 mph winds, and sagebrush.
I live in Paris and all the tourists go to eiffel tower or the louvre museum. Sorry but noooo, there are so much other superb place in Paris.
Also I hate how everybody says Paris is city of love. Sorry but noooo, you walk out of your appartment and you have 1 000 cigarets/meter on the street. It’s just disgusting.
PS: To all tourists, please go to other cities in France, there are many better places in France, Paris is the worst.
Idk if Ireland necessarily counts as a vacation destination but something that gets really old really fast is that tourists expect us to be drunk and roudy all the time? 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 drunk or always looking for fights.
That New Yorkers are rude.
We can be totally. But it’s because you 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.
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.
I don’t live there, but a lot of my family does and I’ve been there (Jamaica)
It’s a 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 is a total assh*le they sold it to some company and now it’s expensive)
Probably not a misconception because it’s sadly one of the things we are known for (especially if you live in the uk) 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 (it’s pretty bad, and the mlms also are not helping) (do keep in mind that some places are saferthan others, like port Antonio)
The people here are nice
Well yes, but actually no. We tend to be vain and general assh*les to other Jamaicans . We will treat tourists nicely if your a tourist because your basically one of the few things that fuel our economy
And don’t come if your gay, they won’t mind killing you and your spouse for being bad to the Bible or some sh*t.
The country is nice, but we could really use a do over..
I used to live in Bangkok, Thailand.
Not all Thai women are prostitutes and easy. In fact, they’re pretty conservative and preserved.
Most of female millennials are educated white collar workers. And we’re more into Korean or Japanese culture/people than the western. Everyday BKK women won’t approach men first because it’s a big NO NO unless they’re from certain areas.
Those who work in sex industry come from the poor parts of Thailand or near by countries where there’re not many job opportunities.
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 realty 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 P head will try one over on you. Flash a bit of coin and someone will figure out a way to part you with 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.
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 almost everywhere; rats, cockroaches, feral cats, & attack crows (no robots just yet) roam the city; the homeless population just gets shunted around or thrown in jail (little support for them)…
Living in Bali. Yes there are some beautiful places but its 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 whole of Indonesiz trying their luck here. There is a reason why the Indonesian government is trying to steer tourist to the “new Bali’s” : it is overcrowded.
Appalachian tourist destinations.
Unless stuff in the giftshops is advertised as locally made, you can get it in bulk for cheaper off the Internet, because that’s totally where the boss did. And the locally made stuff is sometimes nice, sometimes makes you miss Regretsy.
The food stuff, check the labels.
No, the locals do not like to be called hillbillies, except Hillbilly who owns Hillbilly’s Junkyard, and he is a character, let me tell you.
Yes, we genuinely are this friendly and really do like to talk with strangers this much, but it comes from either the terrifying isolation of deeply insular small towns where everyone knows everyone else’s business or being a transplant who has to drive three solid hours to so much as a decent-sized Costco.
Some of the kids get backpacks full of food every Friday from volunteers at the schools because even if their folks had the money for groceries, they might not also have the hour and back’s worth of gas to get them that week from the nearest store.
No, we are not paid a living wage at this tourist site. Incidentally; management is a family and doesn’t understand why $8/hr isn’t enough to live on.
When I lived there, I had four jobs and the two that were tourism-related were purely to stave off the boredom and have an excuse to see people.”
But if you go about four, maybe five hours that way, depending on the traffic, it’s our nation’s capital, so…yeah.
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.
I’m from Spain, we don’t drink Sangría and we don’t have Paella (not PAELA, PLEASE) every day.
And there’s more than football, every time I meet someone and they ask me where I’m from, the one and only question appears… Madrid or Barcelona? F*off
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