This weekend I went to London to bask in all of its glory. As you already know, anytime you go into a big city and try to see major tourist attractions it is going to be packed with, well, tourists. I’ve come to realize there are ten kinds of tourists. Feel free to classify yourself and reflect.
The Eager Elderly Couple
These two can be recognized right away by their silver hair and slow swagger. They visit half of the attractions in twice the time, partly because they’re so unbelievably slow due to Trudy’s aching joints and Chester’s heart condition, and partly because they like to study every detail and really soak in the history since they’re pretty ancient themselves. They are a good group to ask for directions since they’ve been studying maps for two weeks in preparation. They can be overheard saying, “What’d you say?”, “Huh?”, and “Phyllis, do you have my foot cream?”
The IDGAF Dad
The I-Don’t-Give-a-F**k Dad. This guy is the best. He is wearing a Hawaiian T-shirt and fanny pack. His kids are embarrassed to no end as he insists on more pictures. He can be heard making ridiculous puns and wondering aloud about what famous historical figures have passed through this EXACT spot before. This tourist is a whole lot of fun if you don’t mind the stares when he pretends to pinch Big Ben between his fingers for a picture. He can be overheard saying, “Do you think Churchill went to a Church on a hill?
The THH –the Tired, Hungry, and Hot – are not a good group to be around. These guys have been walking around for hours and can feel their faces melting off. Most of them are starving but they’re having trouble agreeing on a restaurant, finding a place that meets their budget or dietary needs, or their leader is insisting they don’t have time and can eat after they visit (major tourist attraction) before it closes. This group is dangerous. Keep a safe distance between you and them at all times. They can be overheard saying, “My knees are sweating, I didn’t even know knees could sweat”, “I need a nap”, “I could eat three hippos”, and finally, “I’m going to kill you.”
This group can be split into three subgroups.
The Under Eights.
These are the kids whose legs really can’t take miles of walking and seeing lackluster statues and buildings. Where’s the candy you promised, Mom?! They got tired of jumping to avoid the lava hours ago and now just want to go home and have hot chocolate. They can be overheard saying, “The Tower of London is boring!” or “I need to poop!”
These kids are terrifying. There is no way to tell what is going on in their minds. They can be seen pouting and listening to their iPods on guided tours. They often double as THHs. They can be overheard saying, “No one cares about the Golden Age of Piracy!”
The Angsty Teens.
Not many people have seen the faces of this subcategory since their mugs are almost always in their phones, they can, however, be recognized from the tops of their heads. They want to be at home with their friends, gf, or bf. They think everyone is looking at their forehead pimple and are constantly aware that it so not cool to be hanging out with their parents. They can be overheard saying, “I need Wifi.” Or “Daaad, stop!!” (This group almost always has an IDGAF Dad – what came first the IDGAF or the angst?!?)
The Prepared Mom
This lady is the best. Fall and scrape your knee? She has bandaids. Realize it’s that time of the month in Stall #5? Guess who’s in Stall #6 with an extra tampon. Get hungry by Buckingham Palace? Your choice of trail mix, crackers, or a protein bar (with a drink to wash it down). Sad about your crush? Guess who has a great story about vulnerability in her college years. This woman rocks and you should have one with you at all times. She can often be overheard saying, “How’s everyone doing?” and “We’re almost there, gang!”
Now depending on where you are in your life, this group can be the best or the worst. They don’t have to be married to fit into this category – just madly in love. They are super happy – which can be adorable and nauseating (occasionally at the same time). They are always holding hands and sharing quick butterfly kisses. They look deep into each other’s eyes and you know nothing could ruin this trip for them. They are very optimistic and can be overheard saying, “I love sun showers!” or “You’re so cute” or *inaudible exchange probably regarding the hotel room later that night*.
The Lost Foreigners
They are almost always dazed and confused. They can be found huddled at bus stations trying to make sense of the maps. Usually only one or two of them can speak the language but they’re self-conscious about their accent (it’s always better than they think). They all have backpacks and puppy eyes. They can be overheard saying, “(Something in another language in rushed tones)”.
The Young Adults
This group consists of recent graduates, University students, and other twenty-somethings. A fun crowd, these people can often be found at bars in the area. This group is one of the only groups that can walk around for 12 hours during the day and still recoup for bar hopping and dancing at night. They can sometimes be seen admiring IDGAF Dads’ puns while his children blush and text their friends about it. They can be overheard saying, “Let’s just walk there!” and “Happy Hour!”
The New Parents
No one told them to leave their precious angel with relatives, or if someone did, they decided they couldn’t bear to part with their little snotball. They have a stroller and one of those pouches that are basically just baby backpacks where you stick your kid in it and it makes direct eye contact with the strangers behind you while drooling excessively. New Parents are often hated, but can sometimes be okay. The key to surviving the cut is by being seen as tolerable is to take your damn baby out of the restaurant/museum/tour/etc. when it starts crying. Not even crying babies like crying babies.
Now this group isn’t age specific. Anyone can be a know-it-all, although they tend to be over fifteen. These people researched the city top to bottom and can recite Yelp reviews of every attraction, restaurant, and club by heart. They don’t even really need to go on the tours since they’ve already pieced them together anyway. They are good for asking directions and advice, but other than that, they can be a real drag. No one actually cares if Kelly853 said this place had poor lighting and a weird smell. They can be overheard correcting poorly paid tour guides who need a drink or five and saying, “Been there, done that.”
For better and for worse, in sickness and in health, these ten tourists make the traveling experience ten times more memorable.