Holidays aren't always what you'll hope they'll be. They're just not. Yes, you can read the guidebook before you go. And yes, you can google the top 10 things to do during your visit. And yes, you can trawl through every single TripAdvisor review for that charming little fish restaurant your mate recommended. But sometimes, we're sorry to say, the reality you'd hoped for just doesn't live up to your expectations. Such is the nature of life.

British documentary photographer Laurence Stephens has captured a load of these sad little travel moments that can affect us all, and put them together in a book called 'Bored Tourists'. The book shines a spotlight on the dawning discontent of sightseers with wry humour, and is exactly the kind of thing you can envisage sitting pride of place on the coffee table of a globetrotting hipster who likes wearing hats.

As Laurence himself explains in the book's intro "What began as a chance visit to Barcelona Cathedral to escape the mid-August sun, led me to spend the next three summers traversing the cultural landscapes of Spain and Portugal. From stuffy museums to breathtaking skylines, with camera in hand, I went in search of the not-so-elusive bored tourist.

"Here, in saturated colour, I present my vision of the tourist experience. Revealing that however outstanding the spectacle, and however long we’ve been waiting to see it, when we finally do, we might just find ourselves bored to death looking at it."

In an age where you can see everything by simply searching for it on the internet before your visit, our hot-take takeaway on Laurence's book is that perhaps it's more important than ever to just sack off the guidebook, sack off the beaten path, and go looking for proper adventure.

Visiting a popular tourist spot just to say you've been there is all well and good, but it's not exactly living is it. Time to mix it up maybe? Break the mould? Ignore your pal's fish restaurant recommendation? Exciting experiences are out there, you just need to make the effort. 

Bored Tourists by Laurence Stephens is published by Hoxton Mini Press on 2 August (

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