Bored with tours that sample the best regional cuisine, or promise to show you some of the world’s best art? Swap out those passé attractions for one of these weird tours that promise death, trash, sewage, forced labor, and more—for a price.
Weird Tours #1: Helter Skelter Tour (California)
California vacations evoke images of wine tasting, beaches, and palm trees. Want to forget all that to instead to gawk at tragedy? Dearly Departed Tours’ Helter Skelter tourexploits murder victims by taking tourists on a three-hour tour through the sites where the Tate and LaBianca murders were carried out by the Manson Family. But don’t worry, your $75 ticket price includes a $5 donation to the Doris Tate Crime Victim Foundation and gets you a piece of rock from the Tate house fireplace.
Weird Tours #2: Border Crossing Tour (Mexico)
In between kayaking, abseiling, and zip-lining at Mexico’s EcoAlberto you can take a fake tour through a simulated border crossing between Mexico and the United States. Rather than being a fun attraction, this Night Walk tour is designed to deter young people from attempting to cross the border.
Weird Tours #3: Labor Tour (North Korea)
Would it surprise you to know that North Korea has an official tourism website? If you haven’t been following it, you could be missing out on one of their “interesting labor tours” in which Kim Jong-un invites tourists to help supplement his forced-labor operations by participating in rice planting, weeding, and fruit picking in North Korea. Sounds fun, and totally representative of a famine-stricken country. The tours are not specifically offered by North Korea, so you’ll have to find a third-party operator like Young Pioneer Tours to take you. Bad news for Americans: You’ll have to find another way to participate in grueling labor on your vacation, as the State Department recently banned American tourists from visiting North Korea.
Weird Tours #4: Rubbish Trips (London)
“Well, that trip was rubbish” is what organizers of London’s Rubbish Trip hope that you say as you leave their tour. This two-mile walk takes willing, paying participants on a two-mile walk past “historic dumps and landfills,” and promises to show you the “sounds and smells of the city’s waste.” Personally, I think you can get that for free walking down the sidewalk the night before trash day.
Weird Tours #5: Rolling with the Paparazzi Tour (California)
Ever wanted to stalk B-list celebrities? You can on the Rolling with the Paparazzi Tour, which pairs participants with Rick Mendoza, a professional paparazzo, for a three-hour hunt for famous people whom you can photograph without their consent.
Weird Tours #6: Loo Tours (London)
My absolute favorite tour descriptions are the ones that include that they are the “best and only” of something—like the London Loo Tours. This, unsurprisingly, is the only public-lavatory themed walking tour in London. Chose from the Original Loo Tour (tips on where public toilets are, plus “stories of intrigue”), the Bloomsbury Loo Tour (focuses on history), and Thomas Crapper: The Life and Times (a tour through one of history’s most famous plumbers’ former neighborhood).