Proof that the Most Popular Destinations Are Not Worth the Money

Trista - July 1, 2022
Nyimas Laula / National Geographic

28. Bali

More and more people have been looking at islands in South East Asia as new destination spots for their next vacation. Bali is one of them… and it’s decidedly not becoming a great choice. You may think it’s a cheap paradise, but prices have been steadily climbing over the years due to the increase in the tourist population. It’s crowded every summer, there are no nearby grocery stores for you to stock up on food, and there aren’t any affordable accommodations that come with a kitchen for you to prepare meals. That forces you to go out and eat at local restaurants that are still a bit pricey. Keep reading for more popular destinations that are overrated and not worth the price.

27. Walt Disney World

Disney World is supposed to be the most magical place on Earth. It’s a place to escape and pretend like everything is made of magic again. Nevertheless, that’s the extent to which the “magic” goes. The food there is overpriced, there are long lines to get on a ride that barely lasts a few minutes, and there will be more children than adults. Honestly, you’re better off putting aside the cost of a Disney trip for something more worthwhile… like a college fund. You could use all of that money to plan out a more thorough vacation with all of the works than the introductory price of any Disney theme park.

26. Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is definitely a sight to behold. You can even see it from the plane as you’re landing. Furthermore, that’s where your journey to the giant church should end. Once you’ve seen it, there’s nothing else going on for it. Is it a marvel of architecture? Sure. But that’s about it. There are always long lines waiting every year to get inside the church, where you get a timestamped card that only gives you 15 to 30 minutes to enter. That could be any day of the week, making this not worth it. And if you want to cancel and get a refund? Forget it. You’ve lost out on your money. Are you ready for more destinations that are overcrowded and dirty?


25. Hong Kong SAR, China

Hong Kong receives ten times as many visitors as residents that live there. There are not only people from the mainland but also people from all over the world. Because of this, even just walking around is a disaster. Public transport is pretty cheap, but the hotels are super-expensive. Air pollution is also a real problem because of how many people live and visit there. So if you usually have breathing problems, you may want to skip going here. Add heat and humidity on top of that, and you’re not going to have a great time. Keep reading for more popular destinations that are overrated and not worth the price.


24. Khao San Road

Khao San Road in Bangkok started as a quiet, residential community. That didn’t last for very long once tourism in the country began to boom. Before hotels, tourists stayed in the homes of locals during their stays until the country realized just how much money they could start bringing in if they “upgraded.” And it shows. Khao San Road has now become a ghetto for those who want to experience backpacking in a busy market street where everything is cheap… no more expensive than other areas in Bangkok. So what makes Khao San Road stand out? Because of the high traffic area, it’s more prone to pickpockets and scams that can generally ruin your experience.

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23. Naples, Italy

The Italian city of Naples has been on everyone’s vacation list for years. Well, it’s time to take it off because it’s generally pretty overrated as far as vacation destinations go. First, Naples has been a dumping ground for literal trash since the 1990s, including industrial and nuclear waste. This has led to a higher-than-average rate of cancer in the area, making the city an actual health hazard to visit. Secondly, there’s not that much to really do in Naples. Although there are plenty of sites and landmarks, other cities in Italy offer a lot more to see. Keep reading for more popular destinations that are overrated and not worth the price.

22. Guinness Storehouse

Some people are just big fans of Guinness, so much so that they think visiting the Guinness Storehouse is a worthy trip. Unfortunately, because of the number of visitors it receives each year, how great it is has been blown out of proportion. The tour through the Storehouse is self-guided, so you can take as much time as you want. However, that can mean people are lingering around and taking up space so that you can’t get photos or see everything you want to see. It’s also not cheap to get in for what you see on the inside, so you may want to skip this one if you’re ever in Ireland.


21. Morocco

Morocco is touted as an exotic place rich in culture, great sites, and great food. Those should be enough to attract any tourist’s attention, but there are some areas you should stay away from and just keep your expectations low. One thing is that some Moroccan people will go out of their way to get your money, even scamming you in the process. Of course, they can’t be blamed when tourists come to their home country and treat it like a giant amusement park, so they might as well make some money out of it. That’s to be expected in many countries.

20. The Vatican

Although the Vatican can be a great place to visit, the wait isn’t worth it. With millions of people visiting every year, you must have everything planned and paid for in advance if you even want to get inside. You have to get there very early in the morning to stand in line for a long time before seeing the interior. Moreover, because of the sweltering summer heat, don’t expect that you can dress down to keep cool. There is a stringent dress code on what you should wear in The Vatican, which boils down to covered shoulders and knees. Don’t plan to go on weekends either, as The Vatican and its museums are closed on Sundays.

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19. Miami, Florida

Back in the 90s, Miami was the place to be. It had a fabulous nightlife, and everyone would fly down there in the summer to get their tan and get away from their responsibilities to relax. However, Miami is no longer like that in any respect. The property development has led to a lot of erosion on the beachfront, creating an environmental disaster. The rent in the area is also pretty high, so don’t expect a trip to Miami to be an affordable vacation. You’d be better off going to any other beach along the coast that isn’t riddled with tourists and expensive living conditions. Is this how you pictured these popular destinations?

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18. Atlantic City

Atlantic City is mostly known for gambling, but that’s about it. The town is mostly quite depressing, and you wouldn’t want to be alone in the city at night. Because of the gambling, everything in the surrounding area is expensive. You would think that it is by the ocean would have some draw to it, but people aren’t going there for the beach. However, the population of people who live there is pretty small, so there’s no draw to going out and meeting new people or going to the beach. There isn’t much draw for people who want to live there. Keep reading for more popular destinations that are overrated and not worth the price.

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17. Denali National Park

Traveling to Alaska doesn’t have much draw to it for a lot of people, and Denali National Park doesn’t make it much better. It is the third largest national park in the United States… but that’s the only thing even remotely special. There’s minimal visibility, so there are very few chances actually to get good photos. There are also restrictive tour bus rules, so if you are planning on traveling with children, this isn’t the best idea. Furthermore, if you spot an animal, there’s no chance to get a close-up photo of them… but maybe that’s for the best with all the recent stories of people getting trampled by buffalo in the Midwest.


16. Dubai

Dubai became a big name in vacations a few years ago, primarily because of its tall skyscrapers. It quickly became the go-to place for those who had some money to throw around, but it’s not so great for the average tourist. It’s not very easy to get around if you don’t have your own car, as everything is far apart. The city’s opulence will also make your entire experience feel a little fake, like you’re in an amusement park with no rides. The place has a minimal history since it was built in the middle of the desert. Besides, the construction is mainly at the hands of migrant workers instead of the residents.

Michael Lyle / Nevada Current

15. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is more overrated than people make it out to be. It’s advertised as a place to win big, but that’s not actually the case. Visiting is extremely expensive; the only thing to do there is gamble, and if you plan on trying to eat healthily, you can forget it. The meal options are the typical fast-food you shouldn’t eat daily. You don’t go to Las Vegas for a peaceful and relaxing vacation since the entire city seems to run 24-7. The nightlife continues long into the early morning hours, so you might want to bring a white noise machine or some earmuffs if you want a good night’s sleep.

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14. Venice, Italy

Venice can be quite beautiful, but tourism has definitely taken its toll on the place. The only people living there are only there to operate the tourism industry, and the population is shrinking every year. It doesn’t help that the once-peaceful canals are now dwarfed by cruise ships. Riding on the gondolas isn’t ship, despite being the primary mode of operation. Moreover, since there’s no way for you to rent your own boat and travel around yourself, you’re pretty much stuck paying for whatever they charge. If you manage to stray off the main paths and wander the city on your own, you’ll definitely have a better time away from the other tourists. Are you still excited to visit these popular destinations?

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13. Pyramids of Giza

The Pyramids of Giza should be a wonder to behold. After all, they’re one of the original Seven Wonders Of The World that is still left standing. However, they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. Although they’re a miracle of ancient architecture, the age is catching up with them. Getting inside one of the pyramids is a long wait, expensive, and will leave you with more mold in your lungs than photos on your phone. The passageways are extremely cramped because they weren’t meant for people to be inside. Add the fact that even on the coldest day, it’s still sweltering inside, and all you have is a recipe for a bad time.

12. Hobbiton, New Zealand

Everyone loves Lord of the Rings and wants to visit this overrated destination. It is the beloved little town of Hobbiton, the home of the hobbits. They’re quaint little houses built as a set for the movie. It sounds like a cool idea, but literally, every movie fan is going to visit at some point. And that leaves the location feeling extremely touristy. You can only get there by tour bus, the tickets are expensive, and you can’t take photos of the interiors either. For the drive out there, you only get two hours at the location, so you’ll feel rushed to take it all in. Keep reading for more popular destinations that are overrated and not worth the price.

The Culture Trip / Wall Drug

11. Wall Drug Store

Have you ever driven through the Midwest? You’re bound to see all of the signs for Wall Drug. And miles. You’d think these signs would be advertising a great stop on your road trip, one that you will definitely remember… but you’re honestly better off not following these signs at all. Wall is a dusty cow town with trinket shops, a handful of houses, and three gas stations, all on a single street… and that’s about it. Thankfully, you don’t have to pay to enter the town, but you’ll wish you never took the exit ramp after all the buildup of seeing those signs.


10. Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussaud’s is touted as one of the best museums to visit if you want to get a selfie with a wax replica of your favorite celebrity. It sounds like a great idea, but you’re not the only one with that grand idea. You might find that the more famous celebs are surrounded by people who want to take their photos. Although it can be interesting to see just how well the wax craftsmanship is as getting celebrities’ faces right, once you’ve seen your tenth wax statue, you’ll quickly grow bored of looking through the rest.

International Traveller

9. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is the capital of Japan for very good reasons. It’s the center of the country’s commerce and has everything going for it that you’d expect out of a major city. But it’s those same reasons that you should probably skip it if you’re ever in Japan. The crowds can be overwhelming, everything is expensive, and you won’t spot a bit of greenery anywhere except for the very small parks. You’ll be surrounded by the constant site of concrete, which can feel quite imposing. Don’t expect much hospitality either. Those who work and live there are already under stress without tourists added to the mix.

8. The Taj Mahal

If you plan on visiting the Taj Mahal, there are better things you could do with your time and money. Every hour, roughly 2000 visitors try to get their photo of the famous structure, so if you want a pristine image of the building on its own, you’re out of luck. It is definitely a marvel to behold, but you shouldn’t assume you can get any photos of the inside either. Cellphones must be switched off before entering, and cameras are strictly forbidden inside. So while you have those nice exterior photos, don’t expect you’ll be able to take any inside. Keep reading for more popular destinations that are overrated and not worth the price.

7. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto

If you want your vacations to be exciting, skip the Arashiyama bamboo grove. It can be pretty peaceful walking through the bamboo forest, but with only a gift shop to shop in and a bridge to walk over, there’s not much else to do. It’s suitable for a nature walk away from the busy, bustling life of the cities, but plan to add other events to your day afterward. If you truly want peace and serenity, expect to get up extra early because there are always people there to take pictures.

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6. The Monkey Forest, Indonesia

Also known as the Ubud Monkey Forest, it sounds like it could be a unique trip to get closer to wild animals. But if you’re traveling with children, then it’s definitely not a good idea. The tourist population has made the local monkeys less afraid of humans, brazen even, to the point that they have no problems breaking through personal boundaries. Every day, people who make a trip to the forest end up getting bitten by monkeys. And don’t expect any help from the staffers if you do; that’s the risk you take entering the area. The Hindu residents revere the monkeys due to their worship of Hanuman. Would you visit any of these destinations?

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5. Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a great “memorial” to those making it big in the movies. For 15 blocks, you can find celebrity names on stars on the sidewalk. Thankfully, the walk is technically free, but you’ll have to pay for parking anywhere near it. That’s how they get you. With that said, The Hollywood Walk of Fame has been voted the worst tourist trap on Earth, so it might be a good idea to avoid it. The sidewalks are always crowded with people trying to find their favorites. There are souvenir shops lining the entire walk. You could spend your time and money on something actually fun.


4. Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most overly-commercialized sites ever to visit. Everyone has taken a picture of themselves “holding up the tower,” so the sentiment has quickly gotten old. Moreover, because of its popularity, locals have set up stalls to attract tourists to buy some small trinkets to remember the moment. And getting to this lackluster destination isn’t easy. You’ll spend more time trying to get to the location than actually spending time there because there’s nothing else to see. You could take a tour inside the tower, but there’s nothing to see inside either. You’re better off going anywhere else in Italy.

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3. Cancun, Mexico

Cancun has become synonymous with spring break, making it one of the biggest and busiest destinations in the early summer. Because everyone is going there, that can make for a terrible time. This makes tourists easy pickings for local pickpockets. Not to mention that the prices of everything are jacked way up during the tourist season. Furthermore, don’t expect your trip to be peaceful. You’ll have difficulty finding a spot on the beach just to relax and enjoy the view. And Cancun caters to those who intend on partying with alcohol and events, so it’s not a good idea to travel here with children.


2. Little Mermaid Statue in Denmark

This tiny little mermaid statue in Denmark is popular for some reason. Perhaps people value it since it has been around since 1913 or that it’s been vandalized in every way possible. But otherwise, it’s not worth making the trip to see this tiny statue unless you’re a big fan of mermaids. The statue is relatively small and looks like any ordinary statue you’d find at a fountain. There’s nothing spectacular about it, except that the surrounding area is quite lovely. It’s nice to pass by if you’re in the area, but this overrated destination is not something you should make a special trip for.

1. Times Square, New York

Times Square has become another one of the biggest tourist traps in the world. For what reason, we don’t know. The streets are littered with stores, famously portrayed in many forms of media, and the LED displays will keep your attention moving from one advertised product to the next. The streets are always littered with tourists, so have a fun time getting through the crowds if you’re trying to get anywhere on time. Furthermore, the copious amounts of people fill the streets with their chatter. You’re not going to have a moment to think, take a picture, or enjoy a phone call with a friend. Have you been to any of these destinations?