As I have started writing in the realm of travel, I have noticed that there are two schools of thought: There are travel-minded people, like myself, who are just trying to give advice to make traveling as easy as fun as possible. Then, there are those who seem almost offended by the innocent questions asked by first-time travelers. One of the issues that these people seem to get especially contentious about is travel clichés.
It is always a little annoying when people think that New York City is all about the Empire State Building, but this is understandable given the fact that this is mostly what is talked about in movies and TV shows. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with scheduling in some travel clichés during your trip, however, there are some dangers that you should be aware of.
This article will address a particular danger (to your wallet). It will name 20 tourist clichés that are way more expensive than expected. I have tried to include some tourist questions that are very common on online message boards, and sorted through those that I felt were much more expensive than they seem at face value.
20 In The Shadow of the Eiffel Tower
Paris has a reputation as being the most romantic city in the world. As such, millions of couples visit the capital city of France as an affirmation of love to one another. But because the most romantic spots in Paris have been portrayed so much in movies and TV shows, the demand to visit them is pretty high.
Those little shops at the base of the Eiffel Tower that people are always sitting at in movies, yeah, those places will quickly lighten your pocketbook. It even costs money to go up into the Eiffel Tower, raising the cost of this cliché even higher.
19 Gondolas in Venice
I don't know why I was surprised that gondola rides in Venice were so expensive. If you were to ask random people on the street to describe Venice, I guarantee that the canals and gondolas would be one of the first things that they bring up.
Because these little boat rides are so synonymous with the city, they are extremely popular among tourists. This has made their prices progressively higher and they are now part of your Italy budget that you must account for. Luckily, if you get a hotel in the center of Venice, you can walk to most of the popular tourist spots.
18 The Happiest (and Most Expensive) Place on Earth
A trip to Disneyland with your family is probably the most cliché vacation of the past 50 years. This is the defining childhood moment for a lot of people and there is a reason why so many players say that they are going to Disneyland after they win the Super Bowl.
Despite its iconic status, there is a reason why the majority of people in America have never visited Disneyland. It is just so gosh darn expensive. Some families try to cut cost by renting a hotel away from the park and driving in every day, but even the price of admission can be too much for some families.
17 Checking out the Sights in Rome
I think that one of the coolest things about visiting Rome, Italy is that there are so many huge and famous attractions in the city. In fact, it has become a cliché that people who go to Rome spend most of their time visiting gigantic attractions like the Colosseum.
The problem is, that these places can get pretty expensive, especially if you are visiting a lot of them in one trip. Each attraction can cost you anywhere from $25-$75 a piece to visit. This is not sustainable if you are on a lengthy trip.
16 Sitting on the Beach With a Cold Drink in My Hand
Beach destinations are the most popular vacations for first-time tourists. Many people believe, in fact, that they are the best way to relax without spending a ton of money. After all, you will spend most of your time on the beach, so you won't have a lot of expenses outside of your hotel and food. This is a mistaken impression.
First of all, hotels right on the beach are very expensive. Not only that, but because of the high influx of tourists, everything within 50 miles of the beach (especially food and drinks) can get very pricey.
15 A Helicopter Ride Over the City that Never Sleeps
Admittedly, this is one of the more obvious entries in this article but because so many people travel to New York City every year.
New York is nicknamed The City That Never Sleeps, so being able to see it at nighttime is a truly inspiring spectacle. Many companies offer helicopter rides as the best way to see the city at night. This is a once in a lifetime experience but it comes with a price. I haven't found a NYC helicopter ride for less than $450.
14 Country Jumping in South America
I have read several travel articles that talked about the merits of going from country to country in South America. According to these writers, the low cost of living in these countries means that this excursion would be fairly cheap. The idea of traveling through South America is a wonderful cliché but it is one that will come at a cost.
While these articles are correct that it is fairly inexpensive to house and feed yourself in many countries throughout South America, traveling between these large nations can get expensive. Countries like Brazil and Argentina are massive, so traveling the length of them will cost money over time.
13 The Spontaneous Flight Choice
It is a travel fantasy for a lot of people to go to an airport one day, find the cheapest flight, and take it wherever it is going. This is a really cool idea but don’t be under the impression that this trip will necessarily be cheap. The flight itself may be affordable but you won’t know what additional fees (baggage, etc.) aren’t included in the price.
In addition, because you are planning this trip (literally) last minute, you might get screwed on hotel and rental car prices. Booking these things the day before you arrive, is a certain way to make sure they cost more than usual.
12 These Prices Are As Cold As Ice
Despite the fact that temperatures can drop down to below 10 degrees, I think that the best time to visit New York City is around the holidays. There are Christmas lights everywhere, the cities toy stores have some impressive window displays, and you can always go ice skating at the Rockefeller Center.
Because the demand for Rockefeller is so high, however, the cost has steadily risen. Last year it cost $15 to skate, plus a $5 skate rental. This isn’t too bad but when you throw in the cost of traveling to, and staying in New York, plus inner-city transit, the price becomes substantial.
11 It Costs Time and Money to Get the Gift of Gab
Ireland is a country that is centered around tourism and as such, the country's most popular attractions can get a little pricey. The Blarney Stone is a perfect example of this. For starters, the stone is in Blarney Castle which is in the middle of nowhere, so you have to either rent a car or join a tour group. Once you arrive, there is a cost to get into the castle and the only good nearby is rather pricey. All of this for the chance to get the gift of gab.
10 Water Rafting In The Grand Canyon
Have you ever seen the videos of people white water rafting through the Grand Canyon and it just looks like everyone is having so much fun? Rafting in the Grand Canyon is an incredibly fun experience but it comes with a price. There are some areas of the canyon where you can raft without a guide but those areas aren't as much fun and it is very difficult to judge where you will end up.
Most people go the easy route and hire a guide or join a directed group. Both of these options tend to come with a hefty price tag.
9 Cashless in Seattle
As cities built more and more skyscrapers, it became harder for tourists to recognize places like the Empire State Building. The city of Seattle was smart enough to build a tourist attraction that stands out even if it is surrounded by other skyscrapers.
The Space Needle is one of the city's major tourist hot spots. Because it gets so much foot traffic, it is pretty expensive to visit. It's a cool experience to go up there and look out over the city but I'm not entirely convinced that it is worth the current cover charge.
8 Those Duck Boats Aren’t So Ducky
This next entry isn’t limited to a single city but rather it is an expensive tourist cliché that is found throughout the United States. They may be pricey, but duck tours are one of the best ways to tour a city. The guides not only talk about the popular restaurants and tourist destinations in the area, they also give you a basic understanding of the city’s history and culture. This would be great if you had any money left over after the tour to visit any of these places. Considering how many people are crammed onto the boats, there is no reason why ticket prices have to be so high.
7 Pay Homage at the Vatican
I understand the importance of the Vatican as a historical and cultural staple of western civilization, but wow it's expensive. Rome itself is an expensive city, but you step into the sovereign head of the church things get even pricier. And I'm not just talking about entrance into the many museums and tours that crowd the plaza.
Even the price of food, or a cup of coffee, becomes a burden in the Vatican. Taxes here aren’t any higher here then they are in Rome, so I am very confused about where all of this money goes.
6 You Need a Down Payment to Go Down Under
I think if you were to poll people in North America about what their dream vacations are, Australia would be at the top of a lot of people’s lists. Australia is so different from the rest of the Western world, that it is understandable why it has this iconic status in the minds of people who have never been there. But if you are going to go to a unique place like Australia, you are going to pay for it.
Depending on where you live, plane tickets to Australia can be outrageously expensive. The whole country is just a giant island, so there are only a few options for how you travel there.
5 Welcome to the Game, India
It used to be the case that you could travel to almost any country in southern Asia for fairly cheap. As some of these countries have become more economically stable, however, they have become less accessible to foreign travelers. India is a good example.
In the 1970s and 80s, when the country's economy was smaller, you could travel there very cheaply. Now that India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, however, everything from food to hotels is more expensive. If tourism is to become a big revenue for them, they will have to figure out a way to keep costs low.
4 Unique Japan
I could have made a whole list of the cliché tourist attractions in Japan. For our purposes, however, it might be best to talk about a recent trend, the fish massage.
You can go to parlors in Japan where you stick your feet in a tank and large coy fish eat the dead skin off. I have never done this myself but some friends who have told me that it was pretty cool. They also told me that it was pretty expensive.
There are some cheaper spas that offer treatments for only $50 but I have also seen stores where it can cost as much as $150.
3 Cruising the Alaskan Shore
It is a good rule of thumb when traveling that anything that requires you to ride in a boat or be near the water is probably expensive. Take for example, the guided boat tours in Alaska. Most of these tours take you along the coast and through some of the nearby islands and usually take only a few hours. The cost of these trips, however, will cost you several hours of your life to pay off. Almost all of these tours cost hundreds of dollars and many of them cost thousands. The Alaskan coastline is beautiful but to get this kind of experience, you have to pay the price.
2 The Cost of a Tuscan Villa
It is important to note that the expensive part of staying in a villa in Tuscany isn’t the villa itself. In fact, thanks to websites like Airbnb, finding an affordable place to stay along the coast can be very affordable. It is the unforeseen costs that really make this a pricey tourist cliché.
For starters, you have to actually get to your villa. Usually, this involves getting an expensive plane ticket and either renting a car or a taxi to take you to the coast. Once you are there, you have to get food and supplies, which can be expensive since you don’t know where the good places are to shop in the area.
1 A Brew In Germany
Of all the countries in Western Europe, Germany might be the one that has the most clichés associated with it. One cliché that tourists always cite when they are planning a trip to Germany is the brews. I know several people who have gone to Germany in the past few years and all of them have posted multiple pictures of themselves online, sipping on a local stout. But local brews can get expensive, especially if you fancy one on the regular. It is considered a luxury item in Germany, and the prices reflect that status.