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Travelers Are Sharing the Worst Tourist Traps They’ve Experienced Around the World

Insider Guides
by Olivia Harden May 26, 2022

Whether you’re a solo traveler or traveling as a couple, planning your next girl trip or your next family vacation, it’s always exciting when you’ve nailed down your next destination. Once you’ve done that, oftentimes the devil is in the details. And not all of the “must-see, must-do” spots that people always talk about are actually worth seeing or doing. Some are horrid tourist traps that are often overcrowded, overpriced, filled with people trying to scam you, and, frankly, are far from what you imagined.

A Reddit user hoping to find the answer of what’s not worth the hype asked the question “What famous place is not worth visiting?” and plenty of users had a lot to say.

Domestic tourist traps to avoid

1. Plymouth Rock: “I don’t know how famous it really is outside of New England but it’s a rock that marks where the Pilgrims supposedly first landed in Massachusetts. It is quite literally just a medium sized rock with “1620” carved in it but every elementary school teacher around Massachusetts at least hypes it up for the class field trip to see a literal rock that is not big, impressive, or really historically relevant. Driving an hour on a bus to see this was the most anticlimactic thing and I would not particularly recommend.” — u/alisoninwonderbread

2. Times Square: “I remember a radio host I heard as a kid said the following: The amazing thing about Times Square on New Years Eve isn’t that you get tens of thousands of people there every year, it’s that you get a whole different set of tens of thousands of people there each year. Nobody wants to do it twice, because it’s cold and boring and crowded and filthy.” — u/Sawses

3. Hollywood Walk of Fame: “It’s a sidewalk and outside of maybe big events where they may clean the ones around where photos may be taken, it otherwise is just covered in dirt from people’s shoes and some are barely legible because they haven’t been cleaned in ages.” — u/CaninseBassus

4. Niagara Falls: “I live 15 minutes from Niagara Falls, and our family was talking about this just yesterday. There’s a major international tourist attraction right on [tourists’] doorstep, but the city of Niagara Falls, NY, is a crime-ridden dump.” — u/BSB8728

5. Mall of America: “Mall of America. It’s literally just a giant mall with the same stores as a small mall. Sometimes even the same store twice!” — u/travisneids

6. The Empire State Building: “It’s $44 to $77 and you wait for like 90 minutes to get into the first elevator, then wait at LEAST another 90 minutes to go further up. (I gave up after 2 hours total and went and had fun in the city instead of spending 3-4 hours of my life standing in line). I was fortunate to go on top of the WTC in 2000 and I’m sure the views were much better from there. And my understanding is “Top of the Rock” is much better organized, shorter waits and better views of Midtown today.” — u/bwave1

7. The Alamo: “The Alamo is surprisingly small, right smack dab in a busy downtown area, and can be fully experienced in 5 minutes. Also, it doesn’t have a basement.” — u/Legionx37

8. The Liberty Bell: “Independence hall area is totally cool but standing there in line to see the bell is a huge waste. You can see it from outside through the window.” — u/bengalstomp

International tourist traps to avoid

9. The Mayflower Steps: “I’m in Plymouth UK…so Plymouth 1 if you will. The mayflower steps are even more disappointing. The actual mayflower steps are in the admiral Mcbride pub on the other side of the road. I love seeing American tourists looking at the fake steps and being amazed lol” — u/SamWearsABucketHat

10. Cairo: “My guide in Jordan at Petra found out we were going to Cairo next and laughed and suggested we change plans. He, who can fair far better with the language said he went for what should’ve been a week and only stayed 2 days. We went, saw some sights, had amazing gyros and falafel, and then spent the next 2 days basically in the room. My wife almost got kidnapped by a taxi driver, we were extorted left and right, and had real fears of even being able to leave the country. One of the very few I had the embassy on speed dial while I was visiting. Never again.” — u/a_taco_named_desire

11. The Louvre: “While the Louvre is amazing and can consume entire days of walking, don’t bother fighting the crowds to see the Mona Lisa. It’s tiny and has a crowd of tourists dozens deep all taking pictures. ‘No flash photography’ be damned, so all you see is flash reflecting off the protective glass.” u/InVulgarVeritas

12. Leaning tower of Pisa: “Just a small town without much going on, then a ton of tourists pretending to hold it up. Go to Florence instead.” — u/DragonRaccoon

13. Checkpoint Charlie: “It used to be the border between the US and Soviet sectors, but all that’s left of it is a shack and a sign, and the only thing you can do is pay to get your photo taken with someone in uniform. There’s a frickin’ McDonald’s next to it.” — u/Nihiliste

14. The Crown Jewels: “Literally anywhere in the Tower of London is better than seeing the Crown Jewels. You’re stuck in a huge queue with a zillion sweaty tourists for hours, and you get to see the jewels for about 30 seconds before you are pushed along. My older brother had seen it on a trip years ago and he said it wasn’t worth it. The rest of the tower was not crowded at all and I got to see a ton of neat stuff with very few other people around.” u/captcha_trampstamp

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