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Many people have an adventure bucket list, whether actually documented or simply in their head, filled with magical trips they plan to take in the future, or even to just dream about in order to pass time at work. Swimming with dolphins, visiting Disneyland, taking a cross country road trip… these are just a few of some of the most popular holiday ideas that you hear about today. But can these dreams really live up to expectations?
Steer Clear Of The Tourist Traps
Sadly, many popular attractions and destinations around the world are becoming pure tourist traps, determined to exploit both natural and artificial places of interest in return for some quick cash to try to keep afloat in times of an unstable economy. And with the ease of access to many places today, with more and more flight routes and cruise ports opening up around the world, once quiet and tranquil sites are turning into overcrowded, noisy, and culture-less places that fail to impress. Here are 9 overrated holiday ideas that you should avoid whilst traveling:
1. Visiting The Giza Necropolis, Egypt
The Giza Necropolis is home to what is often considered to be the symbol of Egypt: the Great Pyramids. The only remaining phenomenon of the original seven wonders of the world, and with an ongoing mystery as to exactly how, when, and why the impressive monuments were built, it is not surprising that over 14 million tourists visit the African country each year, many planning to catch a glimpse of the desert-dwelling structures. Photo opportunities are abundant, and it’s pictures of the three formations that conjure images of isolation and serenity, but is it really as good as it seems? Many people viewing the Pyramid of Khafre from the combined KFC/Pizza Hut restaurant, located mere steps away from the wonder, don’t think so. The archeological site has also been criticized for the mistreatment of horses, for waste pollution, and for creating an unsafe and sometimes downright terrifying environment filled with unscrupulous street vendors.
2. Climbing The Statue Of Liberty, New York, USA
A gift from France to the United States in 1886, the Statue of Liberty stands on Liberty Island as a 93 metre high symbol of freedom, both for Americans and for immigrants arriving to New York by boat in search of a better life. It embodies a sense of hope, and is one of the most recognised, and most visited, of New York City’s many tourist attractions. Visitors wanting an in depth experience are invited to climb the 354 stairs from the pedestal to the 25 windows of the crown, but is it worth it? The climb itself takes approximately 30 minutes, through narrow internal staircases, and with 240 tickets issued daily, it’s certainly not for the claustrophobic. And it that’s not bad enough, reaching the top is very much an anticlimax. With limited space, visitors are quickly ushered across the viewing platform, with little time to admire the view of the great city across the water.
3. Seeing The Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
The Niagara Falls are a series of three waterfalls situated between upstate New York and Ontario. There is no doubt that the falls are stunningly beautiful, and with the largest, the Horseshoe Falls, measuring 53 metres, it’s also remarkably impressive. Unfortunately, the Niagara Falls are let down by the tacky towns on each side in both the USA and Canada. If Atlantic City is considered the poor man’s Vegas, then Niagara Falls, Canada, can only be described as the poor man’s Blackpool. As with the Egyptian Pyramids, this natural phenomenon is surrounded by modern monstrosities such as haunted houses and wax museums, tasteless casinos, and overpriced themed restaurants.
4. Riding The Trans-Siberian Railway
Traveling almost 6000 miles between Moscow, on Russia’s European side, to Vladivostok on the Asian side, the Trans-Siberian Railway is one of the longest train journeys in the world, and has been invaluable in strengthening communications and exports between the east and west. There’s a definite romance about the journey that suggests grandeur and luxury in much the same way as the Orient Express or Royal Scotsman, but is this particular train ride on par with these other opulent journeys? Bear in mind that train etiquette in Russia is vastly different to that in western Europe, and cramped, smoky conditions should be expected. Facilities are minimal, with no showers and poor toilet arrangements, which isn’t ideal on a journey that takes 6 days, so passengers are usually a little past their best by the end. The leg between Irkutsk and Ulan Ude is especially bad for being approached, some might say harassed, by local vendors.
5. Sunbathing On Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, USA
It’s thought to be the ultimate in luxury, sitting on the brilliant white sands of Oahu’s most famous beach, sipping cocktails and getting a tan, but is Waikiki Beach all it really seems? Apparently not, and if your holiday bucket list includes relaxing on Hawaiian sands, Waikiki is not the place to do so. Waikiki Beach’s location on Oahu’s south shore means it’s particularly vulnerable to erosion, and has been steadily deteriorating since the 1920s. In fact, the beach wore away so much that much of the sand there today has been imported, partially from nearby sandbanks, and partially from California’s Manhattan Beach. Looking for a great, unspoiled view? In an attempt to reduce erosion, the beachfront is no longer a site of natural beauty, but one adorned with unnatural groins protruding into the water.
6. Drinking At The Guinness Storehouse, Dublin, Ireland
Many thirsty visitors to this Dublin attraction are under the misconception that what they’re paying to visit here is the Guinness brewery. That’s not true. Although the building was used as a fermentation plant since its opening in 1902, there’s been no commercial brewing at the premises since 1988. What is on offer here is a self-guided tour of the building, which has numerous displays detailing the history of Ireland’s favorite beverage. Unfortunately, if you’re more interested in the making of Guinness than the history, this attraction is going to be a major let down. The $13 admission price does include a free pint, but you can get a cold one for much less at any of Dublin’s fine pubs and restaurants, without having to endure a history lesson first.
7. Driving Route 66, USA
Known as the Mother Road, Route 66 is a traditional highway that was once a major throughway between Chicago, Illinois, and Santa Monica, California. Of course, that was in the days before the great American freeways were introduced, and at a time when small, family run diners and cheap motels were all anyone wanted. The history and tradition of the route means it’s romanticized in many people’s minds, but what’s it actually like to get your kicks on Route 66? Not as exciting as it might sound. Unfortunately, it’s now impossible to drive the entire route from start to finish, as many sections, especially around the midwest, have been replaced with sections of freeway. Many sections also run parallel to the freeway, and many road-trippers are shocked to discover that the image of the open road is taken over with loud, honking convoys.
8. Getting Festive At The Nuremberg Christmas Market, Germany
European Christmas markets are magical, and the Nuremberg Christmas Market in Germany is considered to be one of the continent’s leading festive marketplaces, with thousands of travelers browsing the stalls each December. However, exactly why the Nuremberg market in particular is deemed to be wonderful remains a mystery. Of course, the market is good, it’s great, but it doesn’t necessarily stand out over others nearby. The Nuremberg market appears to have a great deal of English vendors selling their own goods and produce, so festive favorites such as Glühwein aren’t typically available, replaced instead with more anglicized offerings. The atmosphere here is perhaps more standard market than festive, sadly.
9. Illegal Border Crossing Experience
With that said, you can not get the full experience of illegally crossing a country’s border without any legal consequences. That’s when the folks at Parque EcoAlberto decided to fill a void no one knew existed and began offering guided “crossings” over an imaginary border. The company is run by local natives, the Hnahnu Indians, on about 3000 acres of land they own. These are folks that should know about the whole illegal crossing business since approximately 1500 members of the 2200 person tribe live in America.
The typical adventure will put you out in the desert with a group of other people just like you; complete with a guide, the stars above and angry border patrollers threatening to send you back to Mexico.
10. Cruise Ship to Mexico
Honestly, DO NOT go on a cruise to Mexico, unless you’re a fan of small spaces, countless drunks, and an abundance of filth in the form of germs, bacteria, vomit, piss and feces, of course. Horrible, horrible experience that I would only wish upon my worst enemies. Seriously, it’s overrated and felt more like a week-long prison sentence rather than a vacation. Don’t do it.
11. Anything in Seattle, San Francisco Or Portland
Sorry Seattle, San Francisco and Portland, you’re beautiful places (with the exception of SF), but your inhabitants can’t seem to shake off the doom and gloom and the filth. Every trip to Seattle, San Francisco and Portland has yielded an unrelenting presence of rude, pretentious and just flat out unpleasant people. I’ve been multiple times to each city, I cannot get over how utterly unpleasant everybody seems to be in these places. The food was pretty good in each, but other than that, I’ve never received more attitude, hostility and in San Franciscos case, filth, ever – and I am from a large city in California.
So, yea, if you are determined to visit a city in Washington state, I’d recommend Bellingham, California I recommend Point Reyes, and Oregon I recommend Mt. Hood instead, the contrast in attitude and interaction is unreal, the people are much more friendly, sociable and overall pleasant.
What are you putting in the water, Seattle, San Francisco and Portland?
Did I forget something? Join the conversation below and tell us about it.
That’ll do it for this one.
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To your next adventure!