tourists ride the gondala in venice
Following the herd often doesn’t result in the experience you imagined.
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / DWithers

Skip the Crowds at These 6 Common Tourist Traps and Go Here Instead

Indulge in a More Authentic Experience

If you’ve done much traveling, odds are, you’ve fallen victim to a number of tourist traps. While some are worth visiting when done right, there are other tourist traps to avoid altogether.

Frankly, they’re better left to those who don’t mind battling crowds, spending too much money and not getting much in return.

Consider these tourist trap alternatives for a more authentic experience.

Skip the Gondola in Venice, and Cruise in a Traghetto Instead

Taking a gondola ride in Venice is on the top of the list for romance seekers and just about every other traveler to this northern Italian city, but following the herd often doesn’t result in the experience you imagined. In fact, riding in an overpriced gondola captained by a guy in a costume who will sing for you — only if you pay him more — is probably one of the cheesiest things you could possibly do.

Instead, hop aboard a much less expensive traghetto — it’s what the locals do when they want to get across the canals. It’s basically a gondola that’s not as fancy that crosses the canals at a variety of points where there are no bridges.

Plus, you won’t have to worry about paying an arm and a leg, as it costs only a few euros.

castle sits at the waters edge in irelandBusloads line up every day to kiss the famous stone that sits atop the castle rampart in hopes of receiving the “gift of gab.”Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / Steve Allen Photo

Instead of Catching Germs at Blarney Castle, Go to Ross Castle

There is probably nowhere else on the planet where more money has been made from tourists kissing a rock than Blarney Castle. Busloads line up every day to kiss the famous stone that sits atop the castle rampart in hopes of receiving the “gift of gab.”

Take a look at that rock after a day of endless people kissing it, and you’ll notice that it’s slathered with lipstick… and spit. Do you really want to do that?

There may be nothing worse than nursing a hangover that came from indulging in a bit too much whiskey or Guinness the night before, while climbing the endless, narrow staircase up to the top of the castle. You’ll be jam-packed in with zillions of others, before finally getting to the highlight of the experience.

A grumpy guy leans you over the edge, belly up and head back, to kiss the germy stone while an automatic camera captures it all on film, available for purchase in the parking lot.

If that doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, head to Ross Castle in Killarney instead. This castle with a fascinating history was built in the 15th century and truly delivers.

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roman colosseum against starlit skyThe Roman Colosseum, the most famously recognized symbol of Rome, is something that’s not to be missed.Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / stock_colors

Avoid the Roman Colosseum During the Day, Go After Dark Instead

The Roman Colosseum, the most famously recognized symbol of Rome, is something that’s not to be missed. But forget about going during the day when there are hundreds, or even thousands of others to interrupt that unforgettable experience.

Not to mention encountering someone at nearly every turn trying to sell you something, or worse, those thieving pickpockets.

By taking a night tour, you can listen to the fascinating story of this classical ruin that once sat more than 50,000 into its perfectly arranged stands. Gaze out over the stadium, imagining the thousands enraptured by the brutal fights between man and beast, and see it all lit up against the backdrop of the night’s sky.

You’ll also get into areas that are usually closed to the public, and be able to enjoy it in relative peace, with typically less than a dozen people on each tour.

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