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There is no authoritative rating agency for travel, despite what TripAdvisor would have you believe. You never know what biases, uncommonly bad experiences, or generational grudges someone brings to their review of a city, state, or country.
Do Your Research
With that said, you should accumulate as much data as possible about a travel destination, both good and bad. Throw these allegations of overrated travel destinations in the “con” column, even if they’re not the sole criteria you rely on when planning your next trip.
Disneyland, Orlando, Florida
What you expected from Disney: A magical experience filled with thrilling rides, close encounters with Mickey Mouse and Pluto, and a lifetime’s worth of memories.
What you got from Disney: 95 degrees with stifling humidity, two-hour lines for fifteen-second rides, and a month’s income straight from your sweaty hands to Mickey’s fat pockets.
While you’ll hear some tourists marvel at Singapore, the entire country has artificiality down to a science. The municipality equivalent to the obsessive-compulsive roommate that won’t stop vacuuming or Lysol-ing the countertops, Singapore is sterile to a fault.
The country banned chewing gum! While you’ll marvel at the eye-popping skyscrapers, ornate bridges, and utter modernity of Singapore, you’ll feel little love emanating from the city.
Los Angeles, California
For a City of Angels, the traffic is Satan personified. For a state drenched in sunshine, the locals’ hospitality can leave much to be desired. When you boil it down, what will you do in Los Angeles once you leave the beach? Walk of Fame? Eh. Tour the movie studios? That checks off a couple of hours. Then what? LA: Leave it Alone.
Stonehenge is one of the rare tourist destinations that’s exactly as meets the eye. Stonehenge isn’t like the Grand Canyon, whose immensity you can’ truly comprehend until you’ve thrown a penny into it, or Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher, which photograph can’t do justice.
Stonehenge is a heap of rocks arguably tainted by man’s re-stacking. It’s not exactly an itinerary-stuffer. At the risk of sounding uncultured, keep Stonehenge as your computer background and spend your travel budget elsewhere.
Morocco’s sand dunes, markets, ancient architecture, and cuisine lure millions of tourists to the Northern African nation each year. Many of those tourists venture to the historical markets of Marrakech only to be hounded by aggressive vendors, duped by scammers and forever dissuaded from returning.
Morocco has tons to offer, and you might be tempted to get your Raiders of the Lost Ark on in Marrakech. Do your Moroccan vacation, but watch some YouTube videos on Marrakech’s seedier side before adding this polarizing city to your itinerary.
It’s not the croissants that leave a contingent of visitors underwhelmed by Paris. The dirty streets, Eiffel Tower-sized crowds, aggressive vendors, and tourist traps leave a bitter taste.
The Louvre is excellent, and Paris may still be worth a visit. But for every Eiffel Tower, there is a Catacombs, meaning you have to take the good with the frightening tunnels of human skulls.
Jamaica has way more slums than the typical tourist anticipates. One underwhelmed visitor notes that they saw every worthwhile site in an hour and that once you see one Jamaican jungle, “you’ve seen them all.”
One Tokyo resident never understood how bland food, dated infrastructure, and chaotic masses of people translated into Tokyo’s reputation as a world-class tourist destination. Great PR department, maybe?
Times Square, New York City
Times Square was a sight to behold in the 1980s, where a heathen could get everything their heart desired on a single block. Back then, the Square had character.
Today, Times Square is the epitome of sterilized capitalism gone haywire. Between the Bubba Gump Shrimp, the garish neon advertisements, and the John Wayne knockoff playing guitar in his underwear, “Times Square” now translates to “hard pass.”
Taj Mahal, India
Have you heard the term “hidden gem?” Because the Taj Mahal is the opposite of that. Instead, the Taj is a tourist magnet about as hidden as the sun at 1 p.m. in the Sahara Desert.
The architecture is legendary, as are the flocks of tourists that suck all the charm out of a trip to the Taj Mahal.
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