Travel is all about seeing new places, having adventures, and making memories. Most people go on vacation with one of two intentions in mind: either to relax and wind down from the stresses of everyday life, or to escape their comfort zone and inject some excitement into their lives. But whether you are traveling for relaxation, excitement, or a combination of the two, you won’t get what you’re after by fighting through crowds of English-speaking tourists.
The tourism industry does an excellent job of driving hordes of holidaymakers to iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower and Mount Rushmore. With carefully-shot photos and beautiful descriptions, they draw you to these attractions with promises of romance, adventure, and unforgettable memories. But without fail, you’ll be one of a million tourists all jostling to get the perfect selfie. It’s stressful, frustrating, and often makes you wish you’d stayed at home.
But the world is an enormous place, and there are so many beautiful things to see and enjoy well away from the hustle and bustle. Whether it’s natural landscapes, architecturally-impressive buildings, or delicious restaurants, you don’t need to follow the crowd. Travel marketing makes you feel like you need to see the Mona Lisa, but you’ll have a much more pleasant time wandering through a lesser-known art gallery in a quieter part of town instead.
If you want to avoid tourist traps and enjoy a more peaceful trip, here are four tips to help you.
Do your research
Before embarking on your trip, it would be a good idea to do some online research about your destination. Looking at travel blogs, reviews, social media, and message boards will give you an indication of how crowded and touristy a particular place is likely to be. You will also be able to pick up some tips about quieter areas to visit. This way, you can avoid any nasty surprises and stay away from the hordes.
Visit less popular destinations
If you want to avoid tourists, don’t visit a city like Paris or Rome. Although these cities will have quiet areas away from the center, it will take a lot of effort to avoid the tourists. There are plenty of beautiful cities and towns in any country around the world that haven’t yet hit the radar of the tourism industry.
Take an unconventional trip
The majority of holidaymakers travel to the most famous landmarks, but you can avoid the tourist traps by taking an unconventional trip. The best way to experience a new country is to meet locals and immerse yourself in the culture. Almost all countries have a long-distance hiking trail or cycling routes that allow you to see the most beautiful parts of the country and stop in charming towns and villages along the way.
Stay with a local
For the best intel about a particular place, spend time with a local. They will be able to point out the best restaurants, hikes, and attractions to see that aren’t beset by crowds or vastly overpriced. Sites like Couchsurfing allow you to find locals in your destination willing to let you stay in their home for free.