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As a foreign traveler, it can be incredibly tempting to flock to the tourist hot spots that hold America in their collective hearts.
Whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure, those world-famous capitals and cities seem like must-see destinations, at least on paper!
But don’t let an iconic skyline or esteemed reputation fool you: these American sites may not always stand up to a closer inspection.
In this cautionary guide, we’ll explore five of the most overrated destinations so that no globetrotter has their holiday ruined by too much hype and not enough substance.
It’s time to make sure your next trip is memorable for all the right reasons!
#1. Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton is New Jersey’s state capital, but it’s not somewhere you should go.
While it may have a few things to see, the city itself looks terrible, and many people are afraid to even stop at red lights at the risk of becoming a victim of a crime.
#2. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Tennessee has become a hot spot for tourists in recent years.
And while many people say they had a great time here, you need to ask them when they last visited.
Because of the popularity, the area has become a hot bed of a tourist trap, with overpriced lodging and entertainment.
Add on crowds and humid weather in the summer, and this place is not as great as some people claim.
#3. Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore has the aquarium, which is a sight to see.
But venture anywhere away from the inner harbor, and you are asking for trouble.
Sadly, this once beautiful city has gone downhill and is not safe to visit, which is a shame because of the many attractions it offers.
#4. Kensington, Philadelphia
Philadelphia, as a whole, isn’t the worst city to visit.
However, some areas are much worse than others.
One city that you should avoid at all costs is Kensington.
Kensington has an astonishingly high crime rate; even its residents don’t want to deal with it.
If you must pass through it, go quickly and don’t stop anywhere.
#5. St. Louis, Missouri
When you think of places to avoid, what do you think about?
Some people might throw out the names of cities like Detroit.
But St. Louis, Missouri, is often what people believe Detroit to be.
St. Louis is ranked one of the most dangerous cities in America, and its crime rate makes it highly likely that you’ll become a victim of a crime while you’re there.
Avoid it at all costs.
#6. The East Coast During Storm Season
The East Coast is truly a magic place.
The traditional seasons, the beautiful scenery, and the food are all things you can enjoy if you decide to visit a state on the East Coast.
The East Coast is not where you want to be during the winter or when they expect storms.
Storms on the East Coast have become significantly more dangerous in recent years, which means that tourists will have to shelter in place and stay inside until it’s safe to go out again.
You don’t want to do this when you’re taking a vacation.
#7. The South Side of Chicago
Chicago is a bustling city with a lot to offer, but not everywhere is safe for you to wander.
The South Side of Chicago is well-known for its high crime rates and impoverished neighborhood, which are best to avoid at all costs if you take a trip to the Windy City.
#8. Large Chain Restaurants
Large chain restaurants can be compelling.
But one piece of advice that Americans have for travelers is to avoid large chain restaurants.
Sometimes, the local hole-in-the-wall will provide you with a much better experience.
#9. Gary, Indiana
Gary, Indiana, isn’t as bad as it was, but it’s still not great.
Gary developed a reputation as a crime-ridden town in the 90s, which has dropped a bit but is still a significant concern for anyone planning to visit.
It’s also a major ghost town due to the industries it relied on leaving, so there’s not much to see if you stop there anyway.
#10. Hot and Arid Deserts
Deserts can be exciting to many who don’t live in America and who have seen photos.
But many people have come into southwestern deserts and have not survived to tell the tale.
Temperatures are often scorching, and those who don’t properly plan can lose their lives quickly if they’re not careful.
#11. Pueblo, Colorado
Pueblo, Colorado, isn’t too bad of an area, albeit a little run down.
So, why is it recommended as a place to avoid?
The answer lies in the tarantula migration.
Tarantulas start appearing around the end of August and flood the area through October, a sight that isn’t for the faint of heart.
If you do not like giant spiders, avoid Pueblo during this time.
#12. Downtown Los Angeles at Night
Big cities are what often draw in tourists the most.
But that’s what typically makes them so dangerous.
You might be tempted to visit Downtown Los Angeles if you’re visiting California.
When all of the tourists are there, it’s typically safe.
But once it’s nighttime, it’s time for you to go back to your hotel.
There are also specific areas of LA to avoid, so make sure you do your research.
#13. The Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is seen as a place to be if you’re in California, but many locals warn against it.
You have a host of costumed people hounding you for money for photos, the streets aren’t well-kept, which means things look grimy, and it’s not as great as it’s made out to be.
There are plenty of other great places to be spending your time when you’re in California!
#14. Traveling via Greyhound
This isn’t a specific place, but a common thing that some foreigners will do while traveling.
Avoid Greyhound buses at all costs.
They’re less safe than one might think and are often a much slower way of getting to where you need to go.
#15. Camden, New Jersey
If you’re visiting New Jersey, you should also put Camden, another crime-ridden city, on your list.
The city has some excellent attractions, like the aquarium and an outdoor concert venue, that attract travelers to this city.
But there is a lot of crime in the city, and it’s easy to make one wrong turn, and suddenly, you are in a section of the city you don’t want to be in.
Because of this, it is better to avoid Camden.
#16. Private Properties (Especially Southern States)
Southern states often have the small-town feel and charm many seek.
They also have a ton of private property and relaxed gun laws.
If you ignore private property signs or don’t know where you are, it’s within the realm of possibility that you might end up harmed by a property owner who believes that they’re just protecting their home or land.
#17. New York City
Visiting New York City isn’t a bad thing, but definitely is during the holidays.
It’s even more crowded than usual, and while you would think people would be in the holiday spirit, sadly, many aren’t.
It’s tough to get around and with the increased crime rate in the city, visitors are better off picking another location.
#18. Area 51
Area 51 is well-known as a military base accused of housing aliens and alien material.
But that’s not why you should avoid it.
Area 51 is, after all, a military base.
It’s heavily guarded, and you will put yourself at legal and physical risk if you try to venture there.
#19. National Parks (Without Preparation)
Plenty of people abroad are interested in seeing the national parks.
Unfortunately, they’re often wildly unprepared.
While national parks themselves aren’t bad, always be prepared, pay attention to signs, and don’t engage with any animal or natural feature that hasn’t been deemed safe.
The Most Overrated Destinations You Should Avoid
We’ve all been told of great travel destinations we have to see.
But too often, these places turn out to be a waste of time.
From nothing to do to overpriced items, here are the places you need to avoid.
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In order to avoid the inevitable “Are we there yet?”, here are the best ways to keep your kids entertained during travel so you can keep your sanity.
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Here are the top cities people traveled to and refuse to go back.
Make sure you cross them off your list so you too don’t waste your time.
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Here are the ones with the highest quality of life, affordability, and access to healthcare.
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But you don’t. You just have to learn how to travel smart on a budget. Here are the tricks to know.
This thread inspired this article.
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