How To Be The Perfect Tourist

With the April vacation coming up and later the summer, many people will be going onto trips in which they are, technically, tourists.

Tourist [toor-ist]—noun:
1. a person who is traveling, esp. for pleasure.
2. a person who costs everyone else pleasure by traveling

Being a tourist is a very big responsibility; not only do you have to get a life-remembering journey down into a week of site seeing and three rolls of camera film, but you must do it all while representing your country in the most stereotypical and negative way possible to the point where everyone wants to go to war with the country you’re from. It is a lot of responsibility that few can handle, and many cave under the pressure, which is why I have constructed steps that will help you better yourself as a tourist and successfully allow other countries to hate you.

1. Always travel out of the country.

Let’s face it, there’s nothing exciting to see in America, at least not in comparison to other countries. The United States is a very young country, and there’s no joy in seeing something that is “almost 100 years old.” My grandmother is almost 100 years old, and she visits every spring. And if you are going to travel within America, you have to travel at least 10 states away from where you live, that way you at least hear a different accent or come across a new form of bigoted racism. But even then, traveling nationally is a waste of most vacation opportunities. You’re not exploring foreign land; you’re not experiencing different cultures. You’re paying 15 dollars to take an elevator up the Empire State Building. COOOLLL!!!

Europe is the place to go while traveling, because people there speak enough English for you to not feel completely lost, but still hate America enough to rip you off. If you go to Europe, get ready to pay 15 Euros more on every purchase you make, regardless of what you buy. And with inflation and cash exchange, 15 Euros is equally to roughly $2,793. Also, with Europe, all the famous landmarks are smashed together, making sight seeing much easier. As opposed to American where the White House is hundreds of thousands of miles and two plane trips away from the Golden Gate Bridge, in one European day trip, a family could see up to six different landmarks (“Look honey, there’s Eiffel Tower! If we hurry we can still see Big Ben!!”).

2. Picture Taking.

A picture is worth a thousand words. And one billion pictures of you and your family weakly smiling in front of the leaning tower is just what you need to be a tourist. Nothing says “I’m an international loser” like an entire photo album labeled “Italy 2008” in which your sunburned face is seen tarnishing otherwise gorgeous pictures of every Roman landmark.

When taking a picture that will forever be remembered by being locked away in a dusty photo album in your attic, there are a few things you need to consider:

Let it be known that in every picture you take on a vacation, you are going to look like you just fought a bear. You’ve been walking all day; you’re sweaty and tired; and even though you knew you’d be taking pictures you still wear your Vote For Pedro t-shirt that makes you look like you’re in 5th grade.

To distract people from your sunburned face and white-trash style, you need to do something in your picture that will make people look away from you and more towards the out of focus and off-center landmark behind you. Most people do what I call “Picture Participation” in which they take an “original” photo of themselves in front of the monument, and therefore ruin any chances of people liking it. Picture Participation either involves you pointing into the distance towards your landmark, making a dumbass face in front of the landmark, or being “creative” even though everyone has already done what you’re doing. Here are some examples:

My main example for Picture Participation, however, is what every single person does in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. If you’ve been to Pisa, you’ve done it. I guarantee it. I’ve done it!! It’s when you think you’re cute and artistic by taking a picture of you “holding up” the tilting tower, even though everyone around you is doing the exact same thing. Don’t believe me?

Next, you must determine how far away from the landmark you are going to take the picture. As you can see by the three examples of Picture Participation, you can choose to be near or far from your landmark, depending on how many of your blemishes you want people to see. Let me tell you now that professional tourists like myself make sure to take pictures as far away from the landmark as possible. This allows people to get an amazing view of the scenery behind you, and will also make the picture so blurry that people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between you and a trashcan. And I’m not talking about 50 or even 100 yards away. Oh no, the perfect picture requires skillful measurements and proper camera lighting, as shown by this scale:

In addition, you must complain and fuss when someone walks in the way of your shot, which will be roughly every 3 seconds. Make a big deal out of people “ruining” your picture by walking in front of you and scoff loudly so they know that you’re distressed. Chance are they did it on purpose when they saw the American flag on your bag.

3. Carry A Map. Everywhere.

If you were to go to Washington D.C. and try to spot tourists, you would simply have to look for anyone rushing around with their nose buried in a map. Tourists have some ongoing need to constantly be in contact with a map; for fear that getting lost in the exotic town would end their lives. Common tourist apparel includes the following:

a. Trusty map
b. Backpack jacked up so high it’s basically resting on him neck
c. Sandals
d. Socks
e. Sunscreen
f. Sunglasses
g. Two or three exhausted people complaining and following behind him

A tourist could have to walk one block to his destination, but would never be able to see the gigantic castle because his face is blocked by the map. Unable to look up from the paper to see the landmark towering over him, he will then assume he’s lost ask directions from a European. This is a horrible decision because not only do Europeans hate Americans more than life itself, but putting your trust in their hands obligates them to mess with you. “Excuse me, do you know where the Arc De Triomphe is?” the man will say slowly and clearly, praying that the man understands him. This broken and helpless sentence translates in most European languages into “I’m wrongfully trusting to go anywhere you point. By the way, I’m American.” This is also why it took so long for the American army to re-claim Paris in World War II.

American General: Can you ask this person how the American Army can get to Paris?

Translator: Arrêter de mettre que j’écris dans une langue différente par un traducteur

French Person: J’ai dit que cent fois vous arrêtez

Translator: He says that we just missed it. We want to go east through Switzerland, and take a left at Austria. He says we can’t miss it.

American General: CHARGE!!!!

No matter where you travel, and no matter where you go, you’ll be a tourist. You will wander around aimlessly while epitomizing all that everyone hates. The best you can do is suck it up, try your best, and stay at home where the privacy of your own house prevents people from judging you. But if you ever feel like being viciously judged while becoming lost, people really need help holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

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