We’re all familiar with tourist traps, those places that draw big crowds and overcharge for food, activities, and souvenirs. Much of the time, we leave thinking we never should have bothered going in the first place. However, there are some tourist destinations that, despite the throngs of people and the high prices, are actually worth visiting at least once. Let’s check out 12 of them.
Pictures of this German castle can leave you wondering if it’s real since it seems almost too perfect. It’s very much real, though, and you take a tour of the interior or just admire it from outside.
“We added Neuschwanstein to our German castle tour because it’s the most famous, knowing full well it was a very touristy place. We are so glad we did! It was such a fascinating place to visit and well worth getting tickets to see the inside, too!” – Karee Blunt
Once the seat of Athenian government and culture, the Acropolis is now a travel destination for tourists from around the world. Nevertheless, it remains an impressive sight, and walking in the footsteps of those who built democracy ages ago is humbling.
Hobbiton Movie Set
New Zealand was the filming location for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the movie set for Hobbiton is open to visitors. Any Tolkien fan will appreciate experiencing this very touristy but very fun site.
The commercialization of this natural marvel on the border of New York and Canada has stripped any sense of wilderness away, but it hasn’t reduced the grandeur of the falls themselves. This massive, roaring waterfall is worth seeing at least once.
“There’s really no way to grasp the enormity of Niagra Falls until you see it in person. Also, if you have the chance to take the boat tour, I absolutely recommend doing it! You’ll get completely drenched, but there’s no other way to get so close up to the falls. They really are stunning!” – Karee Blunt
No first visit to Rome should leave out a visit to this famous complex that has withstood time and vandalism relatively intact. If you close your eyes and try to tune out the crowds around you, it’s possible to feel a sense of all the history that occurred here.
The Taj Mahal
Forget about avoiding the crowds at this tomb in India that more resembles a palace. Still, it’s an impressive work of architecture, and seeing it up close is something you won’t forget.
In the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, this ancient city served as the lost site of the Holy Grail. The reality is that it’s nowhere close to forgotten in real life, but this relic in the desert of Jordan doesn’t disappoint.
The legendary prison on this island in San Francisco was in operation from 1934 to 1963. During that time, it housed some of America’s most infamous criminals, including Al Capone. Because of sharks and dangerous currents, “The Rock” was deemed impossible to escape from.
“If you’re in San Francisco, take the time to tour Alcatraz. It’s a fascinating look into what life was like for the prisoners held there. And, if you’re into spooky outings, book a night tour – it’s a totally different feel than it is during the day!” – Karee Blunt
The Las Vegas Strip
Nevada’s Sin City may be the ultimate tourist trap, the cheap prime rib buffets notwithstanding. However, even if you’re not into gambling, it’s a lot of fun visiting the Strip for its lights, shows, and other activities. There’s even been a big push in recent decades to offer a lot of family-friendly fun.
“You don’t have to be into drinking or gambling to appreciate the uniqueness of the Las Vegas Strip! If nothing else, the variety in the architecture makes it worth a visit and there are some pretty cool things to do for free, like the water fountain show in front of the Bellagio.” – Karee Blunt
The Eiffel Tower
This Parisian landmark is something you’ve seen in so many pictures and movies that you might have a ho-hum take on it. Seeing it in person is a very different experience and is bound to leave you impressed.
“If you’re in Paris, you’ll almost certainly see the Eiffel Tower, but going up in it is an experience in itself. The view from the top is spectacular! Be sure to see it at night, too, when it’s all lit up with lights. It’s quite a sight to see!” – Karee Blunt
The Grand Canyon
The roads in this national park in Arizona can seem like parking lots on weekends and during peak vacation season, and the actual parking lots are often full, leaving you to circle them again and again in hopes of finding a spot. Once you finally get out of the car and stand at an overlook on the rim, though, you’ll understand why this masterpiece of erosion is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World.
“I 100% recommend everyone makes it a point to see the Grand Canyon at some point in life. Pictures will never do it justice!” – Karee Blunt
The Statue of Liberty
Like the Eiffel Tower, this New York landmark on Ellis Island has been in so many pictures and films that you may have little interest in seeing it for real. Don’t make the mistake of skipping it over; the real thing is more impressive than you might think, and you can almost feel the presence of the generations of immigrants who passed through here.
The Pyramids of Giza
Only seeing these architectural marvels in person can make you fully appreciate the colossal task that building these gargantuan tombs must have been. The Great Pyramid of Giza is also the only one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World that still exists today. Extensive preservation and restoration efforts have helped keep these pyramids from being swallowed by the shifting desert sands.
Best Cities to Vacation in That Don’t Require Renting a Car
When planning a vacation, there’s enough to worry about without stressing over renting a car, where to park it, and whether you can afford the extra insurance. What if you simply choose a location designed for people without cars and skip the rental car altogether? You could plan on walking, rent an e-Bike, or Uber when the occasion calls for it. It will still be cheaper than renting a car. Here are some of the absolute best cities for vacationing without getting behind the wheel.
10 Places You Should Never Use Your Debit Card
Debit cards are a convenient way to pay for things without carrying a lot of cash around and without piling up credit card debt. However, debit cards can place you more at risk of identity theft and fraud. That’s because most debit cards don’t come with the same protections major credit cards do. If someone hacks your debit card, they can drain real money from your personal account, and that money might be gone for good.
Here are some places where it’s safer for you to use a credit card than a debit card.
I Spent a Week in Mexico on a Small Cruise Ship, and This Is What It Was Like
Sixty-six guests. That’s all this ship holds, so compared to the mammoth cruise ships that carry several thousand vacationers, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, the thought of a more intimate sailing was so intriguing my curiosity was piqued, and I wanted to know more.
Best Place to See the Grand Canyon Sunrise at South Rim
If you’re wondering where the best place to see the Grand Canyon sunrise at South Rim is, you’re not alone. With more than six million visitors to the national park each year, there are plenty of people trying to find the best place to see the show.
And what a show it is! Mother Nature does not disappoint. It was easily one of the most memorable sunrises we’ve ever seen! There are some things you should know before you go, though, and we’ll do our best to answer all your questions for you.
Robert Sihler is an educator, freelance writer, and rock climbing guide and instructor living with his family in Driftwood, Texas. In his spare time, he enjoys reading fiction, streaming films, completing crossword puzzles, and rock climbing. When he goes on vacation, he likes to visit the mountains of the West and climb remote, obscure peaks that have seen few or no prior ascents.