Smart Sightseeing – Save Time, Money and Energy by Following These Tips

The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes ‘sight-seeing’. – Daniel J. Boorstin

Practical information

If you want to get inspiration for what to see go to a place that sells postcards an check out the things which seem interesting.

Take some snacks (e.g. an apple) with you while sightseeing to keep your energy level going.

You can sometimes pay entrance fee only once and then return on consecutive days without having to pay again. In order to be able to do this you may have to get a special stamp with the date or write your name on the back of the ticket. In some destinations such as Cancun, Mexico there are time share agents. They can offer you free food, discount tickets or even cash if you go and listen to a presentation (and to the endless argumentation from sales guys afterwards). If you can handle this it can be a good way to save money, but you have to look reasonably rich in order for them to give you the offer.

Personal Experience – The Punjab Plague Ploy

In Dehli a very nice gentlemen approached me as I was trying to find a place to buy train tickets. He kindly informed me that he came from the “Official Tourist Office” – something the metal badge strapped around his arm ensured. Perplexed by his badge and a being a newcomer in India I nicely took a stroll to the “Official Tourist Office”, which turned out to be nothing more than a regular travel agency. I said I wanted a train ticket to Punjab. People in the office were shaking their heads. “No, no, you can’t go to Punjab. People are dying there!” They were referring to a plague of some kind. And quickly offered a 10-day sightseeing tour to Rajastan instead. Well, I realized in time this was a bunch of crooks and found my way down to the official ticket office. Not surprisingly situated at the railway station, a few steps away from where he hooked me up.

In general, showing up at times when there are few people there is usually rewarding. Going to Taj Mahal in India in the early morning can offer great photo opportunities, while going there in the afternoon will give you a tourist invasion to cope with.


If you plan to visit sites which are visited on day tours (e.g. Petra in Jordan) but would like to avoid the crowds you can consider taking the tour day 1, stay overnight in a local hotel, go to the site early before the tour buses arrive day 2 and go back with the tour company on day 2. If you want to take tours the advice from fellow travellers is worth a lot more than that of the tour operators (who will try to sell you the tour where they get the highest commission).

If you travel alone going on a tour is a great way to meet people and to get advice on other things to do.

Personal Experience – The Balaton Blunder

I was staying in a private home near lake Balaton in Hungary. The house consisted of two floors with a common entrance door. The owner of the house showed me around the place and left me the key before he left. I was preparing for a nice afternoon sightseeing trek but when I tried to open the front door I found it locked. I tried to unlock it but the key did not work, the owner had left me the wrong key! The windows did not open and here was no back door. I gave up trying to pick the lock (I am an honest guy after all) and proceeded to yell out the window and wave. There were several people passing by but they all just smiled at me and waved back. After one hour the neighbour started to wonder what all the noise was about and finally got hold of the owner who came back and unlocked the door.

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