The world is your oyster! Or is it really? You’ve likely heard that phrase before, but if you’re not careful, your oyster can turn into something rather unpleasant if you don’t thoroughly research your travel destinations while planning your dream vacation. Based on popular opinion, here’s a list of places you’ll want to avoid if you don’t want your vacation to become a lackluster experience.
1. Los Angeles, California
Contrary to the glitz and glamour portrayed in Hollywood movies, most of L.A. is surprisingly uninteresting once the stars eventually wear off. The palpable contrast of homeless people lining the sides of the “Walk of Fame” leaves many with a strong distaste and bad impression of this popular tourist spot. The dangers that lurk on the streets and the difficulties of public transportation also contribute to the area being less than desirable for many tourists.
2. Central and Northern Florida
“When it comes to Florida, the farther north you go, the farther south you’ll get.” If you don’t know what that phrase means, consider yourself lucky. The term “Florida man” wasn’t built in one day. Incident after incident of encounters with poorly educated townies are shared across the country regularly. People also forget that while South Florida remains a bustling clash of colorful cultures, most of Florida consists of nothing – mainly flat tropical greenery.
Ah, yes, an actual historical icon. Unfortunately, these mysterious stone slabs are meant to be appreciated through photos and books, not in person. Several hours away from any significant city and barred from up-close viewing, this smaller-than-life display has been deemed a mediocre visit for many travelers worldwide.
4. The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Aside from the cliché photo opportunity of “holding up” this famous landmark, it’s known to be dwarfed by any neighboring building due to its underwhelming presence and size. The area has been described as a grassy knoll full of imposing tourists. Go ahead and take the 10 minutes necessary to view the tower before moving on to bigger and better things. Anything more than that would be a complete waste of time.
5. Paris, France
Okay, hear me out. Paris is likely one of the first destinations that most people think about when planning any vacation. With a multitude of museums and world-famous sites like the Eiffel Tower, you wouldn’t expect Paris to be on the list. For many, the beauty that the city has to offer is trumped by its negative aspects, which have become increasingly popular talking points coming from people who’ve had a chance to visit the city before. Scammers, tourist traps, and rude locals flood the streets with an atmosphere that’s highly unwelcoming for those looking to get away from the stresses of everyday life.
6. Blackpool, England
There are many picturesque places to see in England. However, Blackpool is not one of them. Advertised as a quaint seaside town, it’s more violently described by visitors as “a caricature of everything that’s crap about tourist areas.” Not even its proper points of interest, such as Pleasure Beach or Blackpool Tower, can save this town from its reputation for being a dirty and depressing hellscape worth skipping.
7. Venice, Italy
No, I haven’t made a mistake by putting this seemingly idyllic destination on the list. While the famous canals create a unique vibe, they’re also heavily polluted. The lingering smell of sewage seeps into all areas of the city and brings about a huge pest control problem. With so many beautiful cities in Italy, Venice feels more like a tourist trap – especially with their inflated prices for the more popular activities. If you’re looking for a taste of the magic that Italy has to offer, I’d recommend heading to Florence instead.
8. Luton, UK
A traveler once wrote, “People come here expecting a crappy place, and that’s exactly what they get.” This saying likely references the high population of drug addicts and beggars. As far as most travelers are concerned, there’s almost nothing redeeming about the place aside from a few decent pubs and the quirky residents. But hey, at least they’ve got their own airport.
The setting for something like the International Festival of the Sahara sounds amazing, right? Well, there certainly are some undesirable downsides that can sour a good trip, such as the constant bombardment of merchants harassing tourists for money or the desperate need for an infrastructure overhaul. It is also no surprise that the Tunisian Revolution of 2011, which resulted from civil unrest, government corruption, and economic problems, still negatively affects tourism in Tunisia today.
It’s not a particularly popular destination, but it seems most travelers already know the real reason why: unfriendliness. While many residents remain cordial, the same cannot be said about government and authority figures. They tend to be overbearing, suspicious, and highly disrespectful. So, unless you’re ready for the prying eyes of police officers to follow you wherever you go, I’d suggest staying away until civil-military conditions change for the better.
11. Times Square, NYC
If you’re a business or an advertisement on the side of a building, then Times Square is the best place to be. However, if you’re one of the millions of tourists who flock to New York City to get a real bite out of the Big Apple, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The only thing to do is stare at all the brightly lit fluorescent signs on surrounding buildings for about 10 minutes before moving on to other attractions. The area is a constant loud buzzing of tourists and dirty streets. Sadly, that’s all there is to see unless you want to crowd surf in the cold for hours on New Year’s Eve just to witness the insignificant ball drop. Honestly, it’s not worth it.
This destination is not a popular one – for good reason. The hot weather, street trash, bad drivers, and crumbling infrastructure are good enough reasons not to visit. You now also have the added stress of dealing with dangerous locals. One visitor even reported rocks being thrown at him by local children. Contrasting experiences are depending on who you encounter, but all in all, Iraq should likely be blacklisted from your travel plans altogether if you value your life.
13. Naples, Italy
When the advice of tour guides has you avoiding almost half of the city, you must wonder if the area is worth visiting. People who don’t receive this advice become victims of pickpocketing, unsightly littering, and dangerous encounters. For a better time, many travelers have suggested visiting Sorrento instead, a quaint coastal town near Naples.
14. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Aside from being a city in New Mexico, a state with one of the lowest national educational rankings, it’s also highly unexciting for most of the year. With hardly any significant attractions, tourists aren’t the only ones with nothing to do. This city lacks so much personality that even the townies have no clue where to direct visitors due to the limited options for sites and adventure. So, unless Albuquerque’s annual hot air balloon festival is of interest to you, your precious vacation days would likely be better spent in a more engaging setting.
Jamaica is an excellent place for lounging in the sun and getting a tan. That is unless you fall prey to their terrible tipping culture, where locals harass you and follow you around until you tip them for services you never asked for in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I understand how important tips can be to workers in the service industry, but harassment to get tips is just a scam in disguise. A good suggestion would be to head to one of the other unique islands like Aruba or Saint Thomas.
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