A new menace has risen to threaten travelers well being. In addition to illness, injury, lost luggage, and cancelled flights, travelers find themselves contending with the latest international phenomenon: the "Selfie Stick."
A device that has captivated travelers around the world, the "Selfie Stick" allows travelers to take incredible pictures of themselves seeing the world with extended reach. The Bluetooth-powered device pairs with a smartphone, allowing travelers to operate the camera from their end of the stick. While this novel invention seems to have allowed travelers a new way to share their adventures, many attractions view it as a nuisance that can not only disrupt other travelers, but also create major problems.
Some view the "Selfie Stick" as a modern marvel. These five places don't. If you are planning a trip to one of these locations, be sure to leave the "Selfie Stick" behind.
Running of the Bulls - Pamplona, Spain
On the bucket list of many international thrill seekers, the Running of the Bulls is an experience that allows travelers to live on the edge of danger. This run demands the full concentration and awareness of everyone participating - meaning there's no time for selfies between dodging bulls.
Yet, many travelers have attempted to take the ultimate "high-risk" selfie as a testament to their living life to the fullest. However, the practice is unwise, if not dangerous. The problem has grown to be a big enough problem that local officials have passed a law against the practice of taking selfies during the run. Those who do try to take the perfect picture with the bulls could face fines over $3,000 - not to mention trampling from an angry bull.
What about travel insurance in a situation like this? Because the selfie taker may be considered negligent in their behavior, travel insurance may not cover the traveler to begin with. In addition, most off-the-shelf travel insurance policies won't cover high-risk activities, like the Running of the Bulls.
Mecca - Saudi Arabia
Considered one of the most holy places in the world, Mecca in Saudi Arabia attracts millions of pilgrims every year. At such a sacred place, many would believe that selfies would be out of decorum for those who visit. However, clerics at the holy site are finding they are having problems in curbing the problems in stopping selfies and "Selfie Sticks" - especially with younger pilgrims.
While clerics at Mecca do not outright refuse the practice, imams warn would-be self-shutterbugs that taking a picture is against the spirit of modesty at the highly sacred place. In addition, police and guards take a number of steps to prevent injury during the pilgimage. As a result, "selfie sticks" are requested to be left behind.
Sistine Chapel - Vatican City
It is one of the most photogenic places in all of Rome, but what many people don't realize is that the world's most famous ceiling is also technically off limits to selfie takers. Under an agreement with Japan's Nippon Television Network, the broadcaster is the only authorized photographer of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. While the "photography ban" is loosely enforced, those who enter with a "selfie stick" often find themselves turned away.
Don't plan on getting that epic selfie with Adam reaching out for the hand of God. Instead, bring a "Selfie Stick" into the Sistine Chapel, and you may end up reaching out for the door.
Garoupe Beach - France
There are few nations that appreciates good beach time more than France. With a number of beautiful beaches lining the French Riviera, it's easy to understand why the French love fun in the sun. However, the French also know that water and selfies don't mix - especially at the resort beach of Garoupe.
At the height of tourist season, special security officers roam the beach looking to shut down selfie-taking beach goers in specific zones. Moreover, cell phone companies are onboard with the ban, with one mobile carrier sponsoring the selfie-free zones. The message is clear: use a "Selfie Stick" at any other beach, but not Garoupe.
Many Museums Around the World
It's not just natural and historical wonders that are saying no to the "Selfie Stick." A number of museums around the world, including the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., The Louvre in Paris, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Van Gough Museum in Amsterdam have all instituted bans on using "Selfie Sticks" in their facilities.
The ban goes beyond protecting the integrity of the art collections. Because the "Selfie stick" extends the reach of a patron, a careless patron could very easily damage a priceless work of art. While photography policies vary, many museums have at least one policy in common: leave the "Selfie Stick" at home.
While the "Selfie Stick" can be an easy way to get the perfect shot, it can also be a perfect way to get shown out of that once-in-a-lifetime attraction. When trying to visit one of these locations, travelers are best served forgetting about the perfect selfie, and enjoying the majesty in a more analog manner.