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Going Places: What To Do When The Locals Are Fed Up

Manu Fernandez
A woman walks past a banner during a protest against tourism in Barcelona, Spain, this past August. Residents say the influx of visitors has hiked rents and caused a spike in rowdy behavior by party-seeking foreigners.

Matthew Brumley has long urged travelers to avoid the crowds.

Among other things, the KNKX travel expert encourages people to take off-season trips and find lodging  away from the hot spots in big foreign cities.

Crowds can ruin a day for a visitor and can become a persistent annoyance for a local. Conflicts between locals and visitors is as old as tourism itself. But this week, Brumley tells us that some local residents are starting to take matters into their own hands.

His advice to avoid being part of the problem:

If you can, visit during the off-season. It will feel like you have a lot of places to yourself, and business owners will actually have time to talk to you.

If you have to be there during the busy season, shift your hours a little. Get up early and take in the dawn. Cities have a special charm in the early morning hours.

Be a person. Acknowledge the presence of others around you with eye contact and greetings -- especially the business owners who are trying hard to make you happy. 

Know where you are. There's nothing wrong with a good, loud song in the pub. But there's everything wrong with a good, loud song on that residential street between the pub and your hotel.

Remove yourself from dangerous situations. Our conversation this week focuses on people who are merely irritated by the presence of visitors. If you sense danger -- a protest, a riot, or something getting out of hand -- always retreat to a safe location. No vacation snapshot is worth your safety.


"Going Places" is 88.5's weekly exploration of travel. Our travel expert, Matthew Brumley, is co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions on Bainbridge Island, which provides small group travel to clients including KNKX. Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Going Places with iTunesGoogle Play or Stitcher.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.