No one likes a tourist trap. Overcrowded and overhyped, these supposedly “must-see” travel destinations can often be more trouble than they’re worth. When you choose to visit a large, popular city, you run the risk of encountering many such tourist traps — so which cities are guilty of this, and which are worth avoiding on your travels?
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That question probably varies from person to person, but it doesn’t hurt to do your research ahead of time and avoid a lackluster trip. To help people dodge vacation duds, rental website Vacation Renter surveyed over 800 recent travelers in order to identify the top “tourist trap” cities in the U.S. and abroad.
When asked what makes a city a “tourist trap,” the most common qualities respondents cited were expensive (57%), overcrowded (48%), and noisy (38%).
These are common complaints when it comes to Vacation Renter’s top three tourist trap cities in America: Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando. L.A. faced criticism for its heavy traffic and overall costliness, while Las Vegas’ glitzy casino reputation makes it an easy target for the “tourist trap” label (same for Orlando, with its array of theme park destinations).
When it comes to these destinations, Vacation Renter recommends exploring places off the beaten path (like Red Rock Canyon, which lies near Vegas) or traveling during the off-season (that means fall or winter for Orlando).
Other notable U.S. tourist trap cities include Miami, New York City, Atlanta, and Dallas.
When it comes to international travel, Vacation Renter’s top three tourist trap cities were Paris, Cancun, and Tijuana.
While Paris was praised for its beauty, respondents complained that it was expensive and often overcrowded. The French capital’s locals are often stereotyped as snobby (see: “Emily in Paris”), so it’s worth learning a few key French phrases before you jet off to the City of Love.
Many travelers found the Mexican city of Tijuana difficult to navigate and overcrowded. And although Cancun excels as a popular party destination, it received some flack from respondents when it came to lacking authentic Mexican cuisine. If cuisine is important to you, Vacation Renter recommends checking out cities like Oaxaca, Guadalajara, or Mexico City instead.
No matter where you go, it’s always worth it to do your research and decide which bucket list items are important. That way, you can make the most of a new city and maybe even find some hidden gems in the process.