Around the globe, millions of dollars are spent annually in attempts to capture at least a portion of the lucrative tourist trade. But in some cases, a place can be so popular and well-known, no advertising budget is necessary. The Eiffel Tower in Paris is the most heavily visited tourist attraction in the world. They built it and people came. And they continue to come. In droves.
If the thought of fighting sweaty crowds of fanny-packers only to stare at something that looked better in its Photoshopped pics is okay, the leaning tower of Pisa awaits. But if the very thought of following the crowd invokes a gag reflex, you’re not unlike some of the other strays who have discovered some less crowded less expensive spots where chilling is the order of the day and visitors still, for the most part, pay the same amount as the locals.
It may be too early to call these newfound places hot spots but they’re beginning to ignite. As is the habit of progress, they will one-day fall prey. For now though, here is where you should be looking into versus where everyone else might be suggesting.
Italy – Skip Rome. Go to Milan.
The art scene is very much alive and well in Milan, and the city lays claim to being the unofficial fashion design capital of Italy. With a population of 3.1 million, Milan is the second largest city in Italy, barely falling behind Rome’s 3.8 million residents. Yet because Milan does not receive the same mass invasion of tourists as Rome, the difference is like night and day.
If chic shopping has anyone itching to swipe their credit card, Milan is the boutique capital of Italy. Fine leather Italian shoes and jackets, as well as the very latest in fashion trends, make Milan a shoppers paradise.
There are no shortages of cathedrals and baroque architecture in Milan as is witnessed by Duomo di Milano, a towering cathedral rivaling anything you’ll find in Rome. Of course, there are many others which are equally impressive and one could spend a lifetime attempting to take all of them in.
Just as in Rome, Milan has scrumptious Italian food, bars, nightclubs, and anything else a visitor could possibly want, but, for less money and in a more laid back non-tourist-gouging atmosphere.
Japan – Skip Tokyo. Go to Kyoto.
Using the exact same letters, these two cities are as opposite as the way they are spelled. Tokyo never slows down. It’s overcrowded, extremely expensive, and it can be exhausting. Not so in Kyoto.
Japan as a whole is pricey but the yen stretches further in Kyoto than in Tokyo. Lacking absolutely nothing, Kyoto’s population of 1.3-million pales in comparison to Tokyo’s 13-million and the city presents a better display of Japan’s cultural lifestyle while still offering all of the modern amenities of today’s world.
Foodies will find a blend of traditional Japanese cuisine as well as fusion restaurants and those specializing in vegetarian monk-style dinners. For anyone wishing to experience a Geisha restaurant, there are multiple choices. From mellow pubs to sophisticated wine bars to rattle the walls discos, Kyoto’s nightlife will leave no one’s desires unfulfilled.
Montenegro/Greece – Skip Mykonos. Go to the Sovereign State of Montenegro.
With 180-miles of pristine coastline on the Adriatic Sea, minus people tripping over one another, Montenegro is the best-kept secret jewel in the Mediterranean. It’s the entire package with beaches, large clear lakes, and mountain ranges. Montenegro is not inexpensive but it beats the heck out of Mykonos and it’s the better of the two locations.
Lots of grapes get smashed in Montenegro and they lay claim to producing the best vino in all of Southeastern Europe. There are 80 restaurants serving a mixture of cuisines from around the world, and no one will miss anything by not going to Mykonos, there’s enough authentic Greek food to go around.
Accommodations are plentiful. Anything from the Hotel Rivijera perched on a hillside overlooking the sea, to a beachfront cottage, a hotel in the middle of town, or a mountain lodge, ask and ye shall receive.
Africa/Asia – Skip the Maldives. Go to Seychelles.
The Maldives, while being an international hotspot for quite some time, including for the rich and famous, is often too crowded, and always too expensive for the Dick and Jane working class. Scootch on over to Seychelles. Some vacationers already have. More are sure to follow.
Seychelles is a gorgeous tropical paradise with talcum colored beaches, lush vegetation, and an incredibly laidback atmosphere where basking in the sun with an umbrella drink is a customary daytime activity. Seychelles consists of 115 islands dotting the Indian Ocean. Finding a deserted beach is a guarantee and each one is equally as pristine as the next.
Most of the activities are water oriented, and rightly so. Some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world are found here. Luxury resorts and family-owned guest houses make Seychelles affordable for all budgets. Meals, souvenirs, drinks, and all else are far less expensive than in the Maldives.
The USA – Skip Los Angeles. Go to San Diego.
This suggestion is not so much about saving money as it is about choosing a safer locale with better things to do. Tourism in LA is taking a nosedive while San Diego is on the upswing.
With miles of sandy beaches and a temperature that’s never too hot or too cold, San Diego is the place to be. But that’s not all. San Diego is a cultural city and as such is a haven for artists and offers a diverse blend of activities. Golf courses are the best in the world, and San Diego regularly hosts a plethora of sporting events.
World class dining decked out in the best of attire or slurping raw oysters at a beachside shack in flip-flops are both readily available. Pulling an all-nighter in a hot dance club or relaxing in the sand with a Corona are but two of the many nightlife choices.
Don’t worry about where the rest of the crowd is going. Besides these “skip – go locations”, there are other up and coming travel destinations where vacationers will get more for their money without sacrificing one single thing. In almost every case, those who chose an alternate location ended up having a better time for less money.