Crowdsourcing. Crowd of fans. Crowdfunding.
What do these all have in common? They’re all great crowds. Want to know about a not-so-great-crowd? An overcrowd–as in an overcrowded tourist destination. An ultimate example is the overcrowded peak of Mount Everest, where mountain climbing lovers recently had to stand in a ridiculously long and deadly line to get to the summit1. The peak was too full, but then again, it’s a popular attraction.
Over the years, many on-demand tourist destinations around the globe have been growing in crowds that have exceeded capacity2. The term that best describes this is over-tourism, which is the perceived congestion of overcrowding from an excess of tourists3. With airfares getting cheaper, Airbnb’s getting more popular, and cruises getting larger, more and more travelers are venturing out to enjoy great vacation experiences. Some tourist destinations are struggling to manage–from the overcrowded ports of Venice as thousands disembark from cruise ships daily to long lines at the Louvre in Paris, where workers recently went on strike to protest the overabundance of visitors4. But what does one do when their top 10 list of tourist destinations is shared by millions of other people– and at the same time?! Should one stay home and not bother venturing out? I say, “Nay!”
There are ways to enjoy your vacation and avoid the crowds (or at the very least, sidestep them). Here are a few tips:
Visit at Off-Peak Periods
If you’re looking forward to visiting an attraction at a particular time of day, more than likely, everyone else is thinking the same thing. Consider going during times that are not as popular. For instance, you can visit an attraction in the evening. In many cases, it might be cheaper, and you can avoid day-trippers and large tour groups. Plus, you may be able to access the attraction faster and more easily, giving you a chance to take your time. Going early in the day can also be advantageous, especially before it gets too warm.
Think of Alternative Destinations
Rethink your bucket list of must-see places. Of course, you want to visit famous sites like the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal. But be open to also visiting sites that are beyond the obvious. This will take a little online research, but it may well be worth it to avoid extremely long lines or sharing the attraction with way too many people. Research some nearby alternatives to add to your trip and help enrich your experience.
Hire a Local Guide
You can hire a local guide to show you around. A local guide will often take you places most tourists never get to see. You could have a chance to experience the real locals, sights, customs and stories that give a place its unique character. With a bit of research online, and using platforms like TripAdvisor, it’s easy to find reputable, responsible guides and tour operators anywhere.
Tour in Smaller Groups
If group tours are more your thing, try to tour your destination in smaller groups of people. That may allow you to have a more authentic, intimate experience, spending more time at sites and getting into local restaurants and shops easily.
Take advantage of timed reservations for the sites that offer them. That helps heavily trafficked attractions manage crowds better—which in turn will be advantageous for you. Making advanced reservations can ensure that you have a better, more relaxed experience because ticketing sites can limit the number of visitors to an attraction. Peruse websites dedicated to avoiding crowds like skip the line to set up reservations for tours ahead of time.
Now that you’ve learned how to avoid the crowds, don’t forget to insure your entire trip with a travel protection plan from Travel Insured. You can cover all your non-refundable and prepaid trip costs to ensure that if something goes wrong, your trip may not be a total loss. We offer benefits such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, travel delay, and “Cancel for Any Reason” among other great benefits. Compare our plans online at www.travelinsured.com.