7 More Travel Destinations That Aren't Worth the Money

By Paul Michael on 23 September 2014 8 comments
Photo: Mike Behnken

It seems I may have struck a chord (or a nerve in some cases) with my last post about popular vacation spots that aren't worth your time and money. When it came to collating the list, there were way more than seven pins in the globe, and now I'm turning my attention to another seven spots that I'd like to at least warn you about.

These popular destinations may get all the press, and the tourists, but they're just not worth the price of admission.

1. Buenos Aires

The name alone conjures images of a paradise on a par with the Garden of Eden. It's not. And you will pay a hefty price to find that out.

A quick search on Kayak.com gives an average cost of $1580 for one round trip ticket with two stops, if flying out next week from Denver. That's quite a chunk of cash before taking into account hotel rooms, rental cars, food, and entertainment. This is a popular business destination, too, and it caters to those people looking for function over beauty. The hotel rooms can be plain to say the least, the food is nothing special, the buildings are in a state of disrepair, and the crime rate is nothing to brag about… unless you're a crime lord.

Avoid it, and instead try the quiet beauty of Cartagena in Colombia (made famous in Romancing the Stone), or the stunning architecture of Lima in Peru.

2. Loch Ness

Being from a small Northeastern town (Northeast England) just six hours drive from the infamous home of Nessie, I had no excuse not to visit this place in my youth. It was, after all, on my doorstep.

What I can tell you is that you will not see, and I guarantee this, a prehistoric monster swimming around in the icy waters of Loch Ness. It was a hoax that caught fire, and people continue to believe that it's true. The waters have been scanned over and over again, and nothing resembling a dinosaur has ever been found. However, that doesn't stop the tourists descending on this sleepy little town every year from all over the world. And that, readers, is the problem here. It's not that Loch Ness isn't scenic and beautiful; it's that it's full of tourists and crappy tourist souvenirs. If you really want to take in a loch, try Loch Lomond, Loch Ken, or Loch Awe. All of the beauty; none of the tack.

3. Bangkok

There are many wonderful parts of Thailand. Sadly, most people flood to Bangkok, and while it certainly has appealing aspects, it's not the jewel in Thailand's crown.

With so many tourists flooding the city every day, it has attracted the seedier elements of society. Scam artists are everywhere, and you really have to be on your guard. Bangkok is also famous for its "ladyboys," and that also attracts a certain crowd of people looking for ways to, shall we say, broaden their horizons. All of this makes Bangkok just too much of a let down for many travelers. Those who have experienced places like Sukhothai, Krabi, and Chiang Rai, find the urban sprawl and flashiness of Bangkok to be just too much of a tourist attraction. Definitely visit those Thailand destinations before checking out Bangkok.

4. Athens

Home of the Acropolis (where the Parthenon, Erechtheion, Propylaia, and Temple of Athena Nike are situated), Athens is one of those spots everyone has on their "places to see before I die" list. Sadly, it's an extremely expensive trip for what amounts to a few hours of historic building tours. After that, you have the city itself to explore, and that's not nearly as grandiose or breathtaking. Athens is known to have a lot of active pickpockets, and if you look like a tourist you're going to get marked. Some of the back streets house drug dealers, and thieves have become so brazen that they are holding up people in broad daylight.

If you really want to appreciate Greece, stay at much more friendly (and less touristy) places like Halkidiki or Pelopennese, and then take a day trip to the Acropolis.

5. Pisa

Are you really so desperate to have your picture taken holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa? It seems that way for so many tourists each year, who spend thousands and thousands of dollars to come to a city that has one major attraction… and not much else. You will basically be surrounded by tourists who have all had the exact same idea; taking the same silly photo, and then scratching their heads wondering what to do with the rest of their vacation. Make Pisa a stop on a journey to a much better place, like Florence (birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci).

6. Bora Bora

More than one travel writer has referred to Bora Bora as Boring Boring. It really depends on what you want from your vacation, but if it involves anything beyond sitting in a hut and staring at the ocean, you're going to be disappointed.

There's no denying that Bora Bora has some incredible clear water and white sandy beaches. However, there's no nightlife to speak of, and not much else in the way of exciting or interesting ways to pass the time. Why not skip Bora Bora and visit Guam? Yes, Guam. I have been there and I can personally recommend it. It may cost just as much to fly there, but there's much more to do, the beaches are just as stunning, and Guamanian food is incredible. The scenery is amazing, and there is a real sense of belonging and acceptance from the locals.

7. Hollywood Walk Of Fame

As a cinefile, there's a lot about the entertainment industry that I want to see. I love movie props and memorabilia, and the idea of walking around some of the sets of my favorite films is very exciting. What's not so exciting is walking up and down a gaudy sidewalk filled with pink and black stars featuring the names of famous celebrities. Seriously, what is the draw here?

Every year, millions of people descend upon this section of glittery pavement, and every year a large portion of them must wonder what all the fuss is about. You're not going to bump into the owners of the stars and chat about it. You'll be lucky if you see a lookalike. If you really want the Hollywood experience, go to Universal Studios in off-season. During peak time, it will be as bad as Disneyland, but when it's less busy you can get on some amazing rides and movie experiences at a price you can afford.

Agree? Disagree? Where have you gone that turned out to just not be worth it?

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Guest's picture
5 STAR VAs

If you're new to Asia then Bangkok is interesting, well at least for a few days, but yes, I have to agree that there are far nicer places to visit in Thailand. The food is awesome too.

Hollywood walk of fame was a big let down for me also.

Bora Bora would be great for honeymooners and scuba divers, but probably for no more than a week, unless you have a good supply of kindle reading or are a writer looking for peace and tranquility.
It's surprising that many claim to look for 'Peace and Tranquility', but when they find it, they can't tolerate it for long as they find it boring.

Guest's picture

I suppose this is true if you think of these as destinations, but many of them seem just fine as one stop on a trip. That's harder to do with Bora Bora, I suppose, but who just goes to Loch Ness and skips the entire rest of Scotland?

Guest's picture
anna

I've been all over the U.S. And Hollywood/LA was one of the most boring destinations I've ever been to. We really had trouble finding much of interest to do there at all.

Guest's picture
Traveller Yes Thanks

Completely disagree about Buenos Aires. Unsure what restaurants you went, but there is so many different types of food and delicious. Hotels, who does them? Stay in a beautiful apartment with a gorgeous terrace or patio and get to know the people around you. Take tours around all the different districts. And by the way - if from North America your dollar goes really far. Definitely worth the larger air fare.

Guest's picture

OOPS I have been to over half of these places and I thought they were all pretty awesome! One place I think is kind of cliche is Hawaii...I've never been there though so I can't really say it is or not it just seems that way.

I've always wanted to go to Bora Bora and stay in one of the huts over the water but I have heard it is really expensive and not really worth the money.

Guest's picture

Consider these locations off my list. There are literally thousands of places that interest me which I hope to visit one day. No point leaving questionable locations on the list. Good stuff!

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Grace @ Green Global Travel

Buenos Aires and Athens are expensive cities, but I certainly don't think that makes them not worth visiting! They are beautiful cities, stepped in fascinating history.

Guest's picture
Lisa

I have to disagree about Buenos Aires. We had a fine time there and used it as our end point to a journey backpacking all over South America. We stayed in the most adorable boutique hotel called Hotel Costa Rica named after the street it was on. We ate some seriously amazing (and extremely affordable) beef while there, visited museums, an art market and saw plenty of people dancing the tango. The city has a lot of european style charm.

I only partly agree with pisa. We got stuck there a night and it was amazing. Quiet, beatiful, only a handful of tourists. The food delicious and strolling the italian streets was serious magic. The next morning before our flight we decided to walk over and get one more peek of the leaning tower. HOLY HELL. it was a mad house. All magic totally lost. So if i had one recommendation. Stay the night and only the night.