Travel Smart: 24 Bucket List Attractions That Aren’t Worth Your Money

Have you ever been super excited to check out a place on vacation, only to get there and be extremely let down? I know I have. Unfortunately, tourist traps are everywhere, oftentimes costing a lot of money. Some may be worth it, but you should avoid others at all costs. Even though they seem glamorous, tourists insist you should avoid these places.

#1. Champs Élysées, Paris

Champs Élysées, Paris
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Ank Kumar.

The famous shopping district in Paris is a tourist trap. No question about it. It is a mile-long walk filled with shops you can find in literally every other city in the world.

Look, there is a Nike store next to an Adidas store. Hungry, stop at a McDonalds or a Burger King. Take your time; you can repurchase the same thing at home for probably cheaper.

#2. Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles

The world famous landmark Hollywood Sign
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Everyone in Los Angeles wants a selfie in front of the Hollywood sign. The trail will be over-populated with hikers and tourists looking to do the same thing you are doing.

Imagine waiting in line to take a picture with a tiny sign in the background. There are many other ways to spend time in one of California’s biggest cities.

#3. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa

The Leaning Tower in a sunny day in Pisa, Italy.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Do you have this cool idea of yourself posing as if you are holding up the leaning tower? Classic. Have fun waiting for the other tourists to do the same thing.

You are in one of the most gorgeous countries on Earth. Spend it drinking wine in Tuscany or enjoying the architecture in Rome instead of visiting this silly little falling tower.

#4. The Little Mermaid Statue, Copenhagen

The monument of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark, Europe
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The statue is cool and an iconic sight for those visiting Denmark, but it will take you a long walk and possibly public transportation to view the tiny statue. All that for a quick picture.

Ditch the figure and explore the city center and its marketplace instead. The Tivoli Amusement Park should also be on your list if you want to bring out your inner child.

#5. Times Square, New York City

Times Square, New York
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

I wonder if any real New Yorkers would hang out in Times Square. The stores and restaurants should be more affordable and generic. C

rowds of tourists jam the streets, causing traffic jams and angry drivers. Find some local markets and neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan to get a feel of the real New York. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT buy a slice of pizza from Sabarros.

#6. The London Eye, London

The London Eye at night
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / The wub.

Yes, The London Eye will give you some unbelievable views of the city. The downside is that it will cost you a hefty price and have you sitting in line for quite some time.

Tickets can cost as much as $48, and wait times are well over an hour. Instead, find a rooftop bar and enjoy an adult soda for a much more friendly price. Less crowds and a bar seat sound so much better.

#7. Robot Show, Tokyo

Robot Restaurant Show, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Nir Yaniv.

Some say this is a must-watch show, but in reality, you will throw your equilibrium off trying to focus on the neon lights and robotic movements.

Stop wasting your time and enjoy some of the fantastic street markets Tokyo has to offer. The city is also known for its nightlife, so ditch the pricey tourist show and follow the locals for an unbelievable night.

#8. The Alamo, San Antonio

The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, USA
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Daniel Schwen.

The Alamo might be a cool spot to stop if you are a history buff, but the long lines aren’t worth it. Walk by, take a picture, and read up on the small paragraph history of The Alamo.

There are many other cool things to do in Texas than re-learn something we all learned in grade school.

#9. The Space Needle, Seattle

The Space Needle Seattle, Washington, United States.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Seattle is a beautiful city with many outdoor hikes offering a view of the city. The hikes are free, but the Space Needle is not. Save the $30 and find a picturesque view of downtown for free.

Save that money for a boat ride to Whidbey Island or try a bowl of clam chowder at Pike Place Market. You will find it more rewarding to save money and time and find other ways to explore Seattle.

#10. Mount Rushmore, Keystone

Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

I had never been more disappointed than when I paid $20 to park and walk up to see Mt. Rushmore. Yes, it is neat, but I saw the same view for free on a pull-out five miles down the road.

Save your time and money, and check out the city of Sturges or Deadwood for a more fun trip.

#11. Moulin Rogue, Paris

Moulin Rouge is a cabaret in Paris, on Boulevard de Clichy, at Place Blanche
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons /T obyjamesaus.

Tourists will see the bright red  light and flock to the Moulin Rogue with money in their hands. Don’t be like them. Dinner and a show will cost around $200 each.

Instead, explore the city and find a cool jazz and wine bar for the night. The place won’t be geared to tourists, so you will know the performers are legit.

#12. The Liberty Bell, Philadelphia

The Liberty Bell on display across the street from Independence Hall.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Phil Roeder.

Okay, I can wrap my head around people wanting to see the famous Liberty Bell. But once you see it, leave and explore the city.

The Bell is small and doesn’t work, so there is little to do other than take a picture and leave. I’ve been to Philly, and I have more pictures of cheesesteaks on my phone than I do of the Bell.

#13. Niagra Falls, New York

Niagara Falls State Park
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The falls offer beautiful views, and getting on a boat can get you super close to them. But, after that, what do you do? Hit up one of the run-down casinos or generic tourist shops.

I’d rather spend my day on the Canadian side enjoying hikes and world-class wineries.

#14. Hobbiton, New Zealand

Hobbiton, New Zealand
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

If you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings series, this may be the destination of your dreams. Be careful, though; that is a long way for some fandom.

Prior tourists have complained about expensive tours to see Hobbit homes that are completely fake and cheesy. Many recommend sticking to some of the prettiest beaches and resorts New Zealand has to offer.

#15. Stonehenge, United Kingdom

Stonehenge near Salisbury in the Wilshire countryside
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Who put these giant rocks in their formations? Were they aliens? We will never know, and I don’t really care. I spent an entire day driving to see these goofy rocks that serve no purpose.

The tour was short, and I was right back on the bus, cursing my fellow travelers for dragging me there.

#16. Harbour Bridge, Sydney

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a steel through arch bridge in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The Harbour Bridge is one of the most popular attractions in Australia. Sure, the bridge has fantastic city views, but is it worth the price? Fellow tourists say no; the bridge walk can cost up to $250.

Spend your money elsewhere, like a ferry to take in the entire city.

#17. Guinness Brewery, Dublin

Guinness Storehouse Brewery Gate Dublin
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Sonse.

If you have ever been to a brewery, you will know that they are all relatively the same. Guinness is synonymous with Ireland. Therefore, many tourists want to visit the brewery.

The tour can last for 3 hours and cost $100. For that price, I’d rather go pub hopping and drink the beer rather than learn about it.

#18. The Mona Lisa, Paris

Mona Lisa in Louvre, portrait painting by Leonardo da Vinci in Paris, France
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Unless you are a die-hard historian and art lover, the Mona Lisa will let you down. Fighting the crowds to get a picture of this tiny painting is not my idea of a fun vacation.

Do you need a picture of a painting you don’t care about? The Lourve is a giant museum. Explore it and learn something new.

#19. The Mall of America, Minnesota

Mall of America, Minnesota, Giant 4-level mall with hundreds of stores, plus restaurants, a theme park, cinema & aquarium.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

I love malls. I grew up spending my weekends hanging out at malls with my friends; the one thing I never caught myself saying was, “This mall is fun; I wish it were ten times bigger.”

What is the appeal of this giant mall? It has the same stores you will find at every other mall in America. How many Wetzels Pretzels can I stop and sample?

#20. Waikiki, Honolulu

Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, Honolulu, Oahu Island, Hawaii
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

When you think of the islands, you think of warm sand beaches and clear blue waters. Waikiki has that but has been run over by retail shops, tourists, restaurants, and bars.

The streets are dirty with transients and beggars. Locals suggest heading to the north shore to avoid the riff-raff and get some much-needed relaxation.

#21. Graceland, Memphis

Tourists visit Elvis Presley's Graceland Mansion.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Graceland is only worth it if you are a die-hard Elvis fan. Let me say it again: you must love Elvis on a different level. If not, you will spend a lot of money to look at some gaudy furniture and decorations.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need to see many rooms in a fancy house where a man who died decades ago once lived. Call me a cynic.

#22. Statue of Liberty, New York

The Statue of Liberty, neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City, in the United States
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

There is so much to do in New York City, and it surprises tourists how far away the Statue of Liberty is. I don’t see the hype, but people flock to the statue to get a selfie or climb up to the top.

I’d rather book a ferry to cruise along the waterways that climb the cramped staircase for a mediocre view.

#23. Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

Sunset at Christ the Redeemer with beautiful warm sky and tourists gathering
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

People who have visited the statue close up agree that it is a marvel, but they also agree that the view from far away may outweigh the length it takes to get to the statue’s base.

Bad traffic, long lines, and pricey tour guides make this a rough day of sightseeing.

#24. The White House, Washington D.C.

The White House, Washington, D.C.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / PLBechly.

It’s cool to know about your government and the history of your country, but the onlookers who flock to D.C. to take pictures in front of the White House flood the streets and obstruct any view of the President’s house.

Also, give the guy some privacy. How would you like a thousand people on your lawn every day snapping photographs?

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