Do you prefer to visit mostly tourist highlights or stay off the beaten track?
When planning your trip, do you look only for the big name sites or do you try to avoid these and find smaller, less crowded sites? (or do you try and include some of each?)
Please explain your reasons for choosing as you do.
I choose places that not many people know of or go to. When I went to the Bahamas I picked out a smaller island (Great Exuma). It was quieter and definitely worth the peace. The price is cheaper too! Plus I like to keep it a secret since it is such a great place!
It depends. I often choose the less crowded destinations, but I make sure that my hotel is at a good location where I can get the best views for my photography.
Wow - such quick replies.
The price issue is a good one; so is the special interest.
Thanks both for expressing your views.
Both. I like to be staying where it's all going on but I also like to hire a car & see some more remote areas. I don't like really over touristy places, though, not at all, just some decent nightlife etc.
We will generally take a quick tour to hit all the tourist spots then once that is out of the way spend the rest of the vacation experiencing the destination from a local viewpoint. You will be amazed at how rewarding a place can be when viewed through "local" eyes. We have visited many destinations and, for us, getting away from the tourist sites and going out and meeting the local people is the most rewarding of experiences. I would advise all to try that approach the next time you travel. You will probably be pleasantly surprised.
For me, of course I will stay off the beaten track. I think travel should be happy and relaxing. If the sight spot is full of people that I can not even have a look at those I am interested in, I will feel tired about that. Why not choose a smaller site to visit? Maybe we will get some durian runtuh.
Off the beaten track... However - using a "conceptual model" to help guide your travels makes them even more interesting. For instance when I went to Paris for the first time I mapped out my itinerary based on the book "Cheap Eats in Paris" and sort of overlaid my "tourist landmark" map over my cheap eats map... The "cheap eats" by the way were very authentic (and not so cheap, really) and it added an amazing dimension to my travels. When in the UK or Belgium I do the same thing with pubs and cafes and overlay my vectors and paths to great pubs with maps of great landmarks.
I prefer both because they offer different appreciation of the country or place. Also, it depends on what the tourist appreciates...
Anything but the 'Tourist Traps'. If I visit somewhere I want to feel a part of the landscape and meet real local folks rather than some manufactured over-priced over-priced over-hyped over-crowded place... oh yeah, did I mention over-priced ?
The road less travelled for me :-)
You should stay off the beaten track as much as you can. You can't skip the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, but you can skip the long lines at the Eiffel Tower. You can't skip hanging out with Seattle locals at Greenlake or Ballard, but you can skip the Space Needle. You can't skip Kaanapali Beach or the North Shore, but you can skip Waikiki.
So, you should stay away from tourist traps as much as you can, but sometimes the rule must be broken or bent.
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