Pros and Cons of Going Touristy
By: Mike Argyle

Are you the kind of person who wants to see all the famous places in an area or do you prefer the off the beaten path locations? There is no shame in taking the road most traveled, but you should be aware of a few things before heading out.

Pro: Easy to Research Prior to Departure
The nice thing about visiting a popular destination is there is an enormous body of experience behind that place, both in oral and written forms. Planning out exactly what you’re going to do becomes simplified, relieving some of the stress about what you hope to see.

Con: It’s Been Seen and Done
Some of the fun of traveling is seeing something new and experiencing something unexpected. If you do too much research or have heard too much of the place then you might be disappointed when you actually get there. The popular places can be built up so much in popular opinion that the reality can’t live up to it – so don’t overdo the research.

Pro: Designed for Newbies
The popular sites will be set up to handle tourists of all kinds, so especially for someone new to traveling, or who doesn’t want to worry too much, a popular destination will be easy to set up simply by visiting a travel agent or online. Not to mention they will likely be equipped to speak most major languages, which is something many people don’t realize is important until it’s too late.

Con: Too Touristy?
A place that handles a lot of tourists, like Sydney Opera House or Bangkok’s Imperial Palace, can run the risk of seeming more like a tourist attraction than something valuable to that country’s culture. This turns a lot of people off and is worth considering when planning your vacation. That’s not to say you should avoid these places, but regardless of your travel tastes, do yourself a favour and plan a variety of stops, some popular and some less popular, to ensure you truly get a feel for the place you’re visiting.

Pro: Always Something to See
The flip side to a place being designed with tourism in mind is regardless of the time of day, year or budget, there will be something to see. Call it capitalism at it’s finest, the people who run these sites have ensured virtually no one will be turned away.

Con: Ugh… Crowds
There will be a lot of people – pretty much all of the time. If the weather is good or there is a holiday, expect to be surrounded by others just like you. Unless you are willing to visit during non-peak times, you will just have to suck it up and recognize you’re not the only one with the same great idea.

Pro: Hooray for Discounts!
Going touristy can be the smart way to travel because there are packages and incentives to choosing a popular place that you simply won’t get by going off the beaten path. Travel agents, airlines, tour groups – all will have sales at certain points and if you keep an eye out for them, you can save some money. But…

Con: Get Ready to be Gouged
Tourists spend money and so will you. The spots in the immediate area around the tourism spot will have significantly raised prices and services because they know people who don’t know the area and are there for a short time will pay more than locals will. Keep this in mind and with some smart planning, you may be able to avoid some of the gouging.