Tourist attractions or tourist traps? Have you ever asked yourself the question when booking holidays? The reality is that most of us rely on rating websites or YouTubers. Some YouTubers are really good, they live in those countries and they actually show you the country with the eyes of a local. But don’t be fooled, there may also be some tourist traps there.
Do your research
If you are travelling to a new country it is important to know a bit about that country, its culture, its history and its people. That will help you have an outlook of that country and decide if it’s the right destination for you. Even if you decide it is, you still need to plan your trip and what you want to do there.
This is where I think some YouTubers may help. Make sure you choose those who live in the country, if they are natives of that country even better, that means they will know the country better. Then listen to what they say, the places they show or suggest and then make up your own mind.
The best experiences
In my view, the best experiences are those had by the locals. Yes, I do love to visit the monuments and learn about their history. I love history, so I would certainly not miss that, and with that comes the unpleasant crowds and overcharges. This happens in every country, so you can’t really avoid it.
Apart from those “necessary evils”, there are so many things you can do away from those unpleasant crowds and overpriced places. Most people stick to the main cities, I believe that going to rural areas may be the key to a wonderful holiday. Usually less crowded and friendlier than the big cities, the rural areas may offer you that lifetime experience you were waiting for.
Taking Portugal as an example, if you visit the country areas, you still have plenty of history to explore, if not more. The country was populated by Romans, Visigoths, Celts, Moors, and more. From North to South, you will find their presence, not just in big cities like Lisbon or Porto. Each region has its typical gastronomy, so when you visit the regions you are experiencing that diverse gastronomy and culture.
Even in terms of budget, it pays off to go away from the big centres full of tourist traps. You may get a better and more authentic experience at a cheaper price. You may also be helping the local economy, so in the end, it is a win-win for all.
Next time you book a holiday, don’t stick to the regular rating websites, explore the country like a local and you may have the trip of your life!