“It Actually Looks Better On Google Images:” 17 Tourist Traps To Avoid In Popular Vacation Destinations (Plus The Nearby Places You Should See Instead)

“It Actually Looks Better On Google Images:” 17 Tourist Traps To Avoid In Popular Vacation Destinations (Plus The Nearby Places You Should See Instead)

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“Remember that every local who sees you waiting in line here is judging you harshly.”

Savvy travelers will all tell you the same piece of advice: Locals know best. So when it comes to planning your next getaway, take a tip from the people who actually live there. So I browsed the subreddit r/travel and responses from the BuzzFeed Community and compiled this list of the best (and most over-hyped) spots to spend your time in popular destinations around the world.


Skip: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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“This resort town might have been cool 15  years ago, but now, it’s so overdone. It’s a tourist trap designed to milk you of your pesos. There are so many cooler and more underrated beach destinations in Mexico to visit.”


See instead: Campeche, Mexico

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“I tell everyone to visit Campeche, the last remaining walled city in Mexico. The people are amazing, the history and culture rich (it was a major port during the Spanish rule), the food is mind blowing, there’s so much beautiful nature close by, and it’s home to ancient Mayan ruins that are less touristy than the famous Chichén Itzá. Plus, Campeche is only a two-hour drive away from beautiful Merida, dozens of haciendas, and colonial towns. Campeche and the whole Yucatán Peninsula is full of wonders.”



Skip: The Original Starbucks, Seattle

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“The original Starbucks is still just a Starbucks. Every local who sees you waiting in line for 45 minutes for a Starbucks latte is judging you harshly. And remember, there is much better coffee in Seattle.”


See instead: Ferry to Bainbridge Island

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“Take a ferry to Bainbridge for lunch, and enjoy the amazing view of Seattle coming back. The ferry gives you access to some of the best views of the area. Admiring all the houses, the city skyline, and the mountains in the backdrop will make you fall in love with the city.”



Skip: The Little Mermaid Statue, Copenhagen

Flickr: hoangnt

“In one of the most magnificent cities in the world, going to see this little statue surely is not worth your precious time.”


See instead: Freetown Christiania, Copenhagen

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“The hippie commune of Freetown Christiania — known as Copenhagen’s Green Light District — is definitely off the beaten track, and it’s pretty foreigner friendly as long as you obey the rules (no taking pictures, and don’t overdo it so that you act like a fool).”



Skip: Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles

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“Growing up right outside downtown LA, I would always have to visit Hollywood Boulevard when family was in town. The huge mall isn’t particularly special, the stars get old quickly, and it turns sad after walking two blocks from the Chinese Theater when you start running into homeless encampments. And of course, the traffic and parking are horrendous.” 


See instead: South Bay, Los Angeles

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“South Bay is made up of places like El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach. They are the chill yet fun beach towns south of LAX. When people think of living in California, it’s places like this they’re probably envisioning.”



Skip: London Dungeons, London

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“As a Londoner, I would not recommend the London dungeons. Visiting is a complete waste of money. If you’re interested in the topic, there are plenty of walking tours that cost a fraction of the price and you’ll learn way more by taking one.”


See instead: Shoreditch, London

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“The Shoreditch area is a must-see in London. It’s full of great bars and restaurants. It gets very lively at night, but even if you’re not a night owl, it’s still worth going during the day. Day drinking is a huge part of London culture, and you’ll find lots of places to take part in Shoreditch.”



Skip: Times Square, New York

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“Times Square in New York. It’s a tourist trap, and the restaurants and shopping aren’t unique to NYC whatsoever. Why go to Times Square to eat at a chain restaurant like Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. when you can eat at the same places for cheaper pretty much anywhere else in the United States.”


See instead: Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York

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“One of my absolute favorite ways to spend a nice day in New York is walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and landing at Brooklyn Bridge Park. This huge green space overlooks the Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn side of the East River. There’s always great people watching, lawns for picnicking, bike lanes, public art, and more.”

—Hannah Loewentheil


Skip: Waikiki Beach, Oahu

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“Skip Waikiki Beach and the whole surrounding strip when you’re in Hawaii. There are so many cooler places on the island to spend your time than this crowded, overbuilt shopping area.”


See instead: Maunawili Falls, Oahu

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“For some of the best scenery on the island of Oahu, take the waterfall hike to Maunawili Falls. It’s about a 30-minute drive from Honolulu up the Pali Highway past some breathtaking views. The hike is 1.8 miles, and it’s quite an experience trekking through the jungle. Once you arrive at the waterfall, you can dive into a large pool and wade around. It’s one of the more beautiful places on the island of Oahu, but go early because it gets busy and there isn’t much shade.”



Skip: Dubrovnik, Croatia

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“If you’re planning a trip to Croatia, don’t bother with Dubrovnik. It’s extremely pretty from afar…but far from pretty. The Old Town is just one mess of tacky cafés, restaurants catering to tourists, and tour agencies. People almost had to line up to navigate their way through the narrow streets because so many cruise ships were docked. And it was even a struggle to see the landmarks because crowds of people were hovering around with selfie sticks in the air.”


See instead: Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

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“You might expect this park to be a tourist-filled nightmare, but visiting is so worth it. Yes, there will be other tourists, and yes, it will be busy in places, but there will also be serene pockets where there’s not a tourist in sight. The color of the water is unreal, and the views over the lakes are stunning. You could go to Croatia solely with the intention of seeing Plitvice and figure the rest out as you go.”



Skip: Phuket, Thailand

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“Planning a vacation to Phuket, at least during high season, which runs from November to March, means you’ll be sharing the beach with tons of other tourists. This improves during the low season, except then you’ll most likely experience lots of rainy days and bad weather. Plus, trash and water quality is a problem all year round.”


See instead: Ko Lanta, Thailand

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“Ko Lanta on Thailand’s Andaman coast is one of my favorite places in all of Thailand. It’s very quiet, not overly touristy (unlike many of the islands), and it boasts some of the best beaches I’ve ever seen.”



Skip: Stonehenge, England

Atlantide Phototravel / Getty Images

“Stonehenge is totally overrated, and it feels overrun by so many tourists, American tourists in particular seem to make a point of taking vacation in the area specifically to see Stonehenge. Truthfully, I wouldn’t recommend it. It looks better on Google Images.”


See instead: Avebury Henge, England

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“Instead of Stonehenge, I highly recommend visiting Avebury henge. Avebury is a village that was built within a much larger stone circle just 45 minutes from Stonehenge. There are two small museums, and you can hike around the stone circle and get up close to them. It is still a bit touristy, but much less so than Stonehenge. Plus, the village has cute shops and a nice pub.”



Skip: Willis Tower, Chicago

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“I love what the Willis Tower does to the Chicago Skyline, but it’s not worth visiting. You’re overpaying for a view. Meanwhile, the best views of Chicago have the tower in it. I’ve been to the observation deck once in my life, and I wouldn’t go back or recommend it. Instead, I’d say to drive south on I-90 on a clear night. Seeing the sheer size of Willis Tower is spectacular, and this is an absolutely gorgeous way to view it.”


See instead: Architecture Boat Tour, Chicago

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“Whether you live in Chicago or you’re just visiting from out of town, the architecture boat tour is one of the best activities in the city. It offers the best views, and it really is incredible for locals and tourists.”



Skip: Takeshita Street, Tokyo

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“I went to Takeshita Street in Harajuku and couldn’t move my elbows an inch without bumping into someone. Plus, pretty much every shop had a 30-minute line. I went to see the Harajuku-style fashion associated Takeshita Street, but hardly saw any of that. So essentially, I was packed like a sardine for hours while waiting in long lines to shop for overpriced clothes. I love Tokyo, but I definitely won’t be going back to Harajuku anytime soon.”


See instead: Tsukiji Fish Market

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Any tourist in Tokyo has to visit Tsukiji Fish Market. There are so many strange and wonderful delicacies at the various stalls around the market. As a local, I eat here almost every day. From sushi and ramen to tamagoyaki and gyudon, I could spend the rest of my life eating my way through Tsukiji. “



Skip: The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Tuscany

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“Do you really need to take the ‘holding up the tower’ picture? Or the picture of everyone else taking the ‘holding up the tower’ picture?”


See instead: San Gimignano, Tuscany

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“I found parts of Tuscany like Pisa to be very touristy, but hands down my favorite place in central Italy was the little walled city of San Gimignano. It’s a quick train trip from either Florence or Pisa, and it’s 100% worth visiting.”



Skip: Las Vegas Strip, Nevada

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“Sure, it’s cool to see all the themed hotels, but besides that, Vegas is just an overpriced, soulless city without any culture designed to entertain you.”


See instead: Red Rock, Nevada

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“If you want to see Nevada like a local, get off the strip. We have Red Rock Canyon, which is beautiful and offers tons of hiking trails and forested mountains. Within an hour drive of Vegas, there are hiking trails leading to hot springs in the Colorado River, wake boarding, and a great downtown area. You just have to get away from touristy Vegas to experience it.”



Skip: Las Ramblas, Barcelona

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“Besides a visit to the Boqueria, Barcelona’s largest covered market, there’s no reason to spend time on Las Ramblas. In fact, you might want to be wary of this touristy and extremely busy street. Lots of pickpockets hang out here, and the restaurants along the street are overpriced tourist traps with terrible food. Instead of spending time on Las Ramblas, walk a few minutes over to El Born or the Gothic Quarters, two great neighborhoods with so much to offer.”

—Hannah Loewentheil

See instead: Sitges, Spain

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“Barceloneta Beach right in the city is perfectly fine, but it can be busy and not very relaxing.  If you want to visit a beautiful beach and have a little time for a day trip, head to Sitges. It’s doable by train (the ride is only about 45 minutes), and it feels like a totally different world. It’s a very nice beach and surrounding town worth exploring.”



Skip: Santorini, Greece

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“Santorini has absolutely stunning views, but the island is stuffed full of tourists, and the restaurants are little more than tourist traps serving mediocre food. See the views, then get out fast.”


See instead: Milos, Greece

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“The island of Milos has great food, beautiful beaches, and picturesque fishing villages. It’s truly a breath of fresh air after a few days on incredibly touristy Santorini (which IMO is not worth the hype).”



Skip: Dining in the Eiffel Tower, Paris

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“First and foremost, dining in the Eiffel Tower is worthless. By all means, enjoy the view from outside or even go up and take in the vistas, but you certainly don’t need to eat there. Dining at pretty much any other café or restaurant nearby is a more pleasant experience (and with much better food). Tourists are constantly fighting over reservations at the Eiffel Tower restaurant, and they will come either way, regardless of the quality of the food.”


See instead: Le Marché des Enfants Rouges, Paris

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“Located in the Marais, Le Marché des Enfants Rouges is Paris’ oldest and most charming covered market. It is home to THE BEST Moroccan food in the city, but if you’re in the mood for something else, the Japanese, French Caribbean, and Lebanese stands are also excellent. Don’t get discouraged by the long lines around lunch time during the weekends: It’s all worth it.”

—Marie Telling

Do you live in a popular tourist destination? What are the overrated spots that visitors should avoid, and what are the local favorites they should see instead?