As Americans, we have a very romanticized view of France. Anything French is seen as sophisticated, classic, and timeless, so it's only fitting that Paris is at the top of most Americans’ travel bucket lists. It is called the “city of love” after all—and who doesn’t want to travel to such a romantic destination, especially with the one you love?
However, you would likely be sorely let down if you go to Paris with this idea. Many American tourists say that Paris is a dirty city that's often crowded with locals and other tourists from all over the world. Not only that, but Parisians may come off as rude to many Americans, and vice versa. So, it might be hard to feel welcomed in this mega metropolis. Several people do love their vacations to Paris, though, so it definitely isn’t all bad, but if you go into it with the highest of expectations, you will very likely be let down.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
If you're looking for a relaxing beach vacation filled with hours spent wading in the waves and quietly sipping cocktails on the beach, you would be disappointed if you planned this vacation in Cabo solely based on the resorts’ pictures you were researching. Sure, there are some relaxing places in Cabo, but it’s mostly known as a wild party town for college students.
You will also have to keep in mind the current social climate in Mexico. The Baja Peninsula, where Cabo is located, is one of the most dangerous regions in the world related to homicide rates. Even though the crime is mostly among locals due to the ongoing drug war, tourists should still be aware of local events. You will also have to be careful about the water you drink since plumbing isn’t what you’re likely used to in the U.S., and many of the beaches have deadly riptides, so be educated about the places you choose to swim in Cabo.
Myanmar is a beautiful country to visit in Asia if you want to go to a place that isn’t as tourist-heavy as other parts of Asia. However, even though you have this benefit as a tourist and that the country is relatively safe for travel (it ranks close to the United States in the Global Peace Index), you still have to be very careful when considering where you want to travel in Myanmar or even if it would be a good idea to travel there.
Myanmar has been in a civil war for the past 70 years, but despite all of this internal conflict, tourism is open in the country. However, just because it is open does not mean that it will be a wonderful vacation site or that it isn’t insensitive to visit during a brutally long civil war. Essentially, before you travel to a new place, please do your research into the culture of the country you are visiting, not only which resorts or tours look the best.
Much like Paris, Venice is also seen as a very romantic destination for many Americans. However, that right there is just the problem. Since so many Americans love the idea of Venice as a vacation, tons of Americans flood the canal-lined streets and bridges of this floating city every year. This not only creates problems with the locals, but also with the way you experience the city as a tourist as well.
Tourism funds a large part of the Venetian economy, just like in most other big cities in Italy, but it is also driving out the locals and forcing them to constantly cater to tourists, even if that is not what they want to do. Outside of the local opinion of tourism, it is likely a horrible vacation destination for Americans because they don’t anticipate just how crowded it is. It’s a smaller city and very compact, so instead of being surrounded by the romance of Venice, you are surrounded by American tourists who are often just as clueless as you are.
Hong Kong, China
New York City
Barcelona is a hot travel location, right now, among influencers on Instagram and YouTube, but does Barcelona make for a good vacation destination? It’s home to tons of Gothic architecture as well as the centerpiece for the work of world-renowned architect Antoni Gaudi, but Barcelona is going through a lot.
This metropolitan is located in the Spanish province of Catalonia, which has been all over the news in the past several years because several Catalonians want to secede from Spain. This has caused lots of internal conflict and foreign businesses such as Apple to withdraw their storefronts from Barcelona, and it is highly likely that you will see a demonstration while you are sightseeing. While they are usually not violent protests, it definitely will put a damper on your vacation dreams.
Switzerland is a beautiful, picturesque country in Europe, known for its peace, wonderful mountain ranges, yodeling, and super cute hill-side cows. However, Zurich is one of the biggest cities in Switzerland, and although it is very beautiful, don’t expect to see cows unless you plan a day trip out of the city. What is especially disappointing to American tourists that decide to travel to Zurich is the extreme prices for everything.
Switzerland has their own currency, the Swiss franc, because it isn’t a member of the European Union and therefore doesn’t use the euro. A franc has similar worth to a U.S. dollar, so imagine your surprise when a magnet you like from a tourist shop costs 11 francs or the bottle of water you want alongside your lunch is 5 francs. A meal from an Asian restaurant that in the U.S. would cost you $50 for four people costs you about 100 francs for the same meal. If you are planning a trip to Zurich, you will have to save a whole lot more money to have fun than you would in most other cities in Europe.
Machu Picchu, Peru
We have all grown up seeing pictures of Machu Picchu in our textbooks, thinking about how cool it would be to actually be able to experience the lost city in person. With travel becoming much more accessible nowadays, millions of tourists visit this ancient artifact. However, although this tourism is helping the local economy, Peruvians are beginning to worry more about the survival of the city itself.
So many people coming in and out of the city on tours brings with it all of the wear and tear that come with human traffic. There are strict guidelines as to what you can bring into the area, how much you can bring, what shoes you can wear, how you can take pictures, and many more restrictions trying to save the ruins, but if this rate of travel increases or even stays at this level, it could mean that future generations will not get to visit this magical place because of our irresponsibility.
Venezuela is home to stunning features that come from the Amazon Rainforest, a beautiful waterfall that we can all recognize as the one that inspired the creators of the Disney Pixar movie Up, and tons of culture and good food. However, at this time, it is considered highly unsafe to travel to Venezuela.
They are currently under a harsh dictator that is making their social, political, and economic climate super toxic, causing thousands of Venezuelans to flee the country in hopes of escaping to a better life. Don’t visit the country thinking that it won’t affect you because you’re not Venezuelan because that is very insensitive to the conflict that they are facing every day. Also, it would most likely not be safe for you anyway because of the violence that the country is currently facing.
Athens, Greece, was once the cradle of thought, power, religion, and culture in Europe. The ancient philosophers like Plato and Aristotle lived and taught in Athens. Ancient Greeks also believed that Zeus himself lived in Athens. However, if you are planning a trip to go visit the ancient ruins, do your homework on current Greek culture before you go, not just ancient Greek culture.
Currently, Greece is going through a bad economic crisis which has caused a lot of civil unrest within the country. If you visit, you will likely see protests, and maybe even see some molotov cocktails be thrown by angry locals, but none of this is directed at you. Even still, just like all of the other countries going through any kind of turmoil at this point in time, do your research and read up on the local news to see if it would be considered rude or disrespectful to visit their lovely country before you book your flight.