Special Report

Vacation Destinations That Aren't Worth the Cost

Hristina Byrnes

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11. Niagara Falls, U.S. side

Niagara Falls is one of the most famous and beautiful waterfalls in the world. But what will you do in town? Not much. Eat at a lot of fast food joints and buy a lot of souvenirs from gift shops. And spend about $300 per night at a hotel. In addition, knowing that the flow of water is controlled, in order to produce hydro power, further reduces the appeal of a trip there.

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12. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

You already know what you’re going to see. You’ve seen the monument from up close on TV, books, and photos online many times. Scaling the monument is not allowed, and there are no tours that will take you to the top. (Regular tours will take you to the bottom of the memorial and they start at around $100). You go, stop, stare for a few minutes, and leave. There are no accommodations, and nothing else to do nearby. (The nearest gas station is 14 miles away.) The fact that you’re going there probably means you also already know all about it. So explore the surrounding Black Hills National Forest; it may be a more gratifying experience.

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13. French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana

The French Quarter is a 24/7 party hotspot. This means it’s noisy (not great if you aim to sleep on your visit there), overcrowded, and overpriced. The historic neighborhood may feel like a tourist trap, especially if you go there for nightime entertainment and around Mardi Gras. For a less expensive overnight stay, consider the Central Business District, which is not far from the French Quarter. This is where business travelers stay.

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14. Santorini, Greece

Greece has gone through its share of turmoil over the last decade, but none of its problems have to do with tourism. The country and especially its islands are considered some of the most beautiful places to visit, and tourism is booming. The number of visitors rose to a record 32 million in 2018. But more people bring more problems, and Santorini, the most visited Greek island, is feeling it. You go for the sunsets and seascapes, but end up dealing with traffic jams and huge crowds. You will find fewer people, but as many beautiful sights, on Syros, Sikinos, and Lemnos.

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15. Renaissance Island, Aruba

The pink flamingos on Renaissance Island, which is private, have become a major attraction. However, some tourists say the birds’ wings have been clipped so they can’t leave (and thus continue to be a draw for tourists). The only way to get to the island is if you buy a day pass, which costs about $125, but a daily trip is not guaranteed. You can get it only if the island is under 80% capacity.