Is “Authentic” Travel a Myth? 8 Reasons Why It’s Okay To Embrace Tourism
Do you think authentic travel is possible, or is it just a notion held by self-righteous folk? Yes, there are ways to add more meaning to a trip, but is it worth judging a place just because it’s popular?
Recent debates claim that only new travelers visit tourist traps and that to be a seasoned nomad you must venture “off the beaten path.” But often there’s still something to enjoy in more-frequented places. Moreover, it seems a little short-sighted to shun a spot completely due to its high tourist demand.
1. The Infrastructure Is There for a Reason
Every tourist trap began as a new discovery. The ones that evolve and develop most over time become increasingly easy to visit. This infrastructure isn’t accidental. Often, it can even lead to positive growth for the local community.
So sure, one can judge these developments as taking away from the beauty of the spot or landmark itself. But it’s always important to begin with and consider the bigger picture.
2. Your Intentions Are What’s Most Important
What often differentiates tourists is their intention. Some visitors are careless and make a mess, while others are considerate and leave a place as they found it. Likewise, you should ask yourself why you want to visit a spot or see a landmark. If the answer falls along the lines of “because everyone goes to see it” or “it will look good on my social media,” you should consider a new approach.
There’s no point spending your time and money following the status quo. But if you have genuine interest or fascination for the place, your decision to go won’t be swayed just because it’s a tourist trap.
3. You Get to See a Famous Spot
There is something special about visiting an infamous landmark. Tourist traps serve as the centerpiece for many films and television shows, garnering attention and creating wonder in the viewer.
This may be a tactic to increase revenue and tourism to a specific location, but let’s face it, by watching a specific area on TV, we’re more likely to want to see the place ourselves.
Spider-Man (2002), Taxi Driver (1976), and The Devil Wears Prada (2006) share one similarity. The films take place in Times Square. So fans of these movies visit the iconic New York City tourist trap to take pictures and see what the real-life location looks like compared to the films.
Once you visit the iconic pop culture site, you get to tell your friends and family you’ve seen a notorious landmark in person. The bragging rights are endless.
4. They’re Worth The Visit
Like anything, take this sparingly, but some tourist traps earn their rights. For example, The Grand Canyon is a highly-visited tourist trap, and visiting it is worth every penny. You can’t beat looking over a 200-mile natural canyon in the desert.
The Grand Canyon evokes a wonder not found at any other tourist attraction; you may stare into the abyss for hours in a daze before moving on to other tourist experiences like the mule rides or white water rafting.
Since millions of guests go to tourist attractions, guides, signs, and tours are in several languages to help accommodate visitors. The audio guides had about ten language options when I took a “Hop-On-Hop-Off” Tour in London.
You’re more likely to run into someone who speaks your native language at a tourist trap than at a local establishment in the middle of a foreign country.
6. Aimed Toward Tourists
For example, once visitors conclude their viewings of Mount Rushmore, an iconic national landmark in South Dakota, they can go on a hiking trail, watch a light ceremony, get an ice cream cone, and walk through the Sculptor’s Studio.
7. Who Cares What Others Think?
The worst part of traveling is when someone interjects their thoughts and opinions about your itinerary. For example, if you plan to go to Paris and want to see the Eiffel Tower, someone will tell you it’s overrated.
But you can’t let someone’s previous travel experience dictate your future trip. If you want to visit a tourist trap, go for it. Make your own itinerary and decide what’s overrated and worth the hype.
8. Tourist Traps Are Fun
Tourist traps exist for a few reasons, and at the end of the day, they are supposed to be entertaining. The income brought in by the tourists keeps the local economy alive, and that is important.
Tourist traps increase a city or town’s reputation, and people like to follow others. So, suppose one person visits the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and posts about it on social media. In that case, their friends will want to follow in their footsteps and see the sea lions themselves.
At the end of the day, it is all about having fun experiences, and I highly recommend visiting popular and quirky tourist attractions.
Worth the Money: 15 of The Neatest Souvenirs From Around the World
You’ve probably been there before after you come home from a trip and someone asks, “What did you get me?” We all love a good souvenir. It instantly reminds us of the experiences we had while traveling. Here are some fun souvenir ideas from around the world.
12 Countries You Should AVOID as a Solo Woman Traveling According to Travelers
Traveling the world is one of life’s biggest joys, but for women embarking on solo journeys, trips to new countries can be stressful and sometimes dangerous. Recently, women met in an online discussion to reveal the countries any solo female traveler should avoid due to a higher likelihood of encountering dangerous situations.
14 Cities in the USA That Are Criminally Underrated According to Americans
Everyone’s idea of a vacation or road trip is a little different. There are certain cities we gravitate towards more often, like San Francisco, NYC, or L.A. Have you considered exploring a new city that’s underrated and, perhaps, under appreciated? Check out these U.S. cities that a popular travel forum voted as “criminally underrated.”
15 Most Dangerous Cities in the World Where Crime Rates Are Off the Charts
There are many ways to measure the danger of any given city—robberies, physical assaults, and even the number of fatal work accidents. However, there is one universally-accepted metric for gauging danger: violent crime rates and property crime rates. Based on recent statistics, here are some of the most dangerous cities around the world (not in any particular order).
Ranked: 20 Most Dangerous Countries in the World in 2023
Wanderlust may take you all over the world, but some countries are too dangerous to visit, and knowing which are best avoided in 2023 could keep you safe.
Let’s take a closer look at a list of the most dangerous countries in the world based on data from the World Population Review.
Where indicated, images courtesy of Depositphotos.com.