We’re just going to say it — certain popular vacation destinations need to be retired. When the world has so many incredible places to visit, why would you spend your time and money at overpriced, overhyped, soul-sucking tourist traps?
Unless you want to waste your hard-earned vacation days, we recommend striking these places from your travel bucket list:
Does anybody actually visit Cancún anymore? Surprisingly, Mexico’s 1990s spring break destination is still growing in popularity, according to Booking.com, which currently puts the destination at a 49 percent occupancy rate for Christmas week. If lounging around all-inclusive resorts, guzzling watered-down margaritas, and baking in the sun is your idea of Mexico, it’s time for a reality check. The country — and especially the Yucatán — has so many amazing places to visit. Try Tulum, Mexico City, Puebla, or Puerto Escondido instead.
2. Las Vegas
Sin City? More like suicide capital of America, as NPR reported in 2008, and the rate is only rising. Yet 43 million people visited last year, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Why? The clubs and casinos are overpriced, the crowds are an annoyance, and the reality just can’t live up to the hype. If you want to visit the Southwest, try visiting Santa Fe, Denver or Aspen instead.
3. Niagara Falls
Remember that old TLC lyric, “Don’t go chasing waterfalls”? It seems they were on to something, because we definitely don’t recommend chasing after Niagara Falls. You’ll be stuck staying at overpriced, unappealing hotels, surrounded by hordes of other poncho-wearing, camera-toting tourists all angling for the same shot, and after all that you won’t even be able to get a decent meal. If you insist on seeing some waterfalls, we suggest visiting Multnomah Falls near Portland, Ore., instead.
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The New Yorker got some flak for calling Dubai “the World’s Vegas” and “a non-place of a city,” in this article published in April, but not everyone disagreed. One Facebook commenter who grew up in Dubai wrote, “People from Dubai are hating this article, but honestly it’s the truth people from Dubai turn a blind eye towards.” If given the option like the author was, we recommend choosing the briefest layover possible.
Surprisingly, Travel + Leisure reports a surge in the number of American visitors flocking to Russia, and Moscow in particular, in the past year. The seat of the Kremlin receives 17 million visitors annually — which beats Dubai’s 15 million — but given the country’s human rights issues and suspicious meddling in the U.S. election, we certainly wouldn’t want to go anywhere near it right now.
How is Orlando still Florida’s most visited destination? According to the Orlando Sentinel, the state received 113 million visitors last year, 66 million of whom went to Central Florida, which includes Orlando. If sweating to death while standing in never-ending theme park lines is your idea of fun, by all means, go to Orlando, whose hotels are currently at a 53 percent occupancy rate for Christmas week according to Booking.com. But the Sunshine State has far more appealing destinations, like Miami, which has undergone a cultural renaissance recently.
Sure, seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of those bucket list items many people feel like they have to do before they die. But once you arrive in this small Tuscan town, there’s not much else to do, meaning you’ll be one among a massive crowd of tourists all photobombing each other while trying to get that perfect shot. By the way, the tower’s not even leaning as much as it used to. Our advice? Skip it in favor of Tuscany’s more authentic villages. Booking.comusers agree; for Christmas week, Pisa’s hotels are at just 34 percent occupancy vs. 53 percent in Montaione.