"Do you want to go to a place – or show people you’ve been to the place?”

That question -- "Do you want to go to a place – or show people you’ve been to the place?” -- is paramount in my mind when it comes to traveling. Personally, I couldn't care less about showing anyone that I've been to a place.

How to be a better tourist asks that question, explains the huge increase in travel over the decades and has lots of other interesting travel information.
 
Great article. Sadly, most of us who know “how” to travel already practice most or all the suggestions written, whereas the very people this is aimed at have no interest in or intention to travel responsibly.
 
My working life took me over much of the Northern Hemisphere and bits of the Southern Hemisphere. I rarely carried a camera. When I would tell people about the places and things I've seen in my travels, I'd often get asked if I had a photo. I'd tell them they should go visit this place and see it with their eyes, it could be very different from what I observed.
 
I don't enjoy sharing my pictures with others, though I sometimes use a few of my better ones as screen savers. And I detest seeing their vacation pics on the minuscule screen of a cell phone! A great shot or 2, printed and framed, sure. Travel is for the here and now, the experience.
 
I love to share my travel photos, but I think that Greg and I really love to take in every place we visit and really absorb the experience. I always crack up when we are somewhere and a tour bus stops at a site and the people get off, quickly grab a selfie and get right back on the bus. They don't really even stop to see why the place is special and get a feel for it. That sort of travel is not for me. We have really been enjoying using vacation rentals instead of hotels. It's extra fun when you get to meet the owner and find out their favorite things to see.
 
How about ... both.
Interestingly enough, I got a call from an old friend the other day. Back in 1974 a bunch of us stayed at this remove villa on a Greek island for a couple weeks. It turns out you can rent it today for about $700 per night.
Maybe a reunion is in store (y)
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Perhaps people need to heed the wisdom of Yogi Berra - "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded!" :rolleyes:

It is an interesting article and it hits on a lot of issues. I do agree with a lot of what they have called out and many of their suggestions, but I also am starting to believe that popular places should consider limiting the number of visitors if they are not already doing so. Iconic attractions are iconic for a reason, and suggesting that people visit other sites seems a bit half-baked. Yes, people should be open to exploring and seeing new places, but some truly want to see particular places for their own reasons. Limiting visits with the ability of purchasing advance tickets (and making some available for walk-ups) can help. Regarding values and attitudes around travel, that is quite a large beast to tame and I applaud anyone who is successful in reversing some of the trends of today.

--Ken
 
I also am starting to believe that popular places should consider limiting the number of visitors if they are not already doing so.
Lots of places have been doing that for years, even decades. Those restrictions mostly pertain to wilderness areas. However, travel is also affecting cities. As an example, Amsterdam recently stopped advertising for tourists because they are trying to reach a balance of maintaining a healthy tourism-driven economy that makes it practical for locals to remain, unlike Venice, Italy where most of the locals left because they couldn't afford to stay.
 
Lots of places have been doing that for years, even decades. Those restrictions mostly pertain to wilderness areas. However, travel is also affecting cities. As an example, Amsterdam recently stopped advertising for tourists because they are trying to reach a balance of maintaining a healthy tourism-driven economy that makes it practical for locals to remain, unlike Venice, Italy where most of the locals left because they couldn't afford to stay.
This is true. My wife and I were in Spain for two weeks and we bought timed tickets for many of the major sites. I am glad we did as there were places that we wanted to visit, and I do have to say that many of the major cities in Spain were quite crowded with visitors. There were more folks that I cared for, but I suspect one could say that for most popular places around the world today. I would have liked less people, but the purpose of my trip was to see many of these sites. I do take trips off the beaten path when I do not want to be with crowds or when I want a different experience, but some trips are to see "bucket list" items, and I do not find that to be a dirty term when one has reached a certain age. Still, I try to travel "lightly" and not act like they stereotypical tourist they described in the article, but sometimes just being in a place is the problem, goo behavior or otherwise. Over-tourism is a challenging problem.

--Ken
 
I live in Italy a major tourist destination. The problem is that the vast majority of visitors go to just those few same places.

Lets take the Cinque Terre. It is just across the Apennines from where I live. We spent part of our Honeymoon there in the Eighties. There were few other visitors and we swam in one of the harbours and chatted with the locals. We could even afford to eat in the restaurants there.

A few years ago I took some visitors from the UK there. It had become an overcrowded hell on earth. But just shift down the coast a few miles and you will find equally interesting places that have remained "visitabile" without the crowds.

As for "Art Cities" visiting Bologna or Mantova(Mantua) is still a pleasurable experience. You will have many super places almost to yourself.

Then there are the little towns and villages. Sabbioneta near Mantova is a little gem. A Renaissance "Perfect City" contained within some city walls. Or the stunning stone age rock carvings at Capo di Ponte above Lake Iseo. Here you will have the place almost to yourself.

I visit places because there is something I want to see or experience. The more research I do, the more enjoyable the trip is usually. When I visit a monument I like to understand what I am seeing. I get better photographs that way.

Tourism could be a positive thing for us in Italy with our high youth unemployment if it was just spread more evenly around the country.

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Cinque Terre as it was

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Capo di Ponte

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Lago Iseo.


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Sabbioneta
 
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I'm not into selfies in front of landmarks. My avatar shot was by a traveling companion on an Iceland trip. My general approach to foreign travel is to try to support an impression that most Americans aren't the loud crazy substance-impaired people you see on TV (politicians or celebrities - not trying to open a political discussion here) or the ones leaving their trash piles at Everest base camp. I try to at least say hi or excuse me in the local language. My French is fair to poor; my Italian and Spanish are poor but understandable with limited vocabulary; my Mandarin is awful; my Nordic is worse than my Mandarin; I can figure out Dutch or German text phonetically to get in the ballpark but otherwise pretty weak. I tried to learn some Japanese but didn't get far. And they all realize I'm not a native speaker and reply in English. :) Though I did carry on a reasonable conversation in French with a Belgian Uber driver on a recent trip.

Because we travel a lot for work or holiday we are often accompanied by friends/family who are more timid travelers. That affects our itinerary a bit since we become the de facto guide. It's just a minor burden because we do enjoy the company generally. We like to see a place more than once, but rarely more than twice. So we have done Rome and Firenze (Florence) 3 times each, London more than that. We aim them towards the Coliseum or St. Peter's or Big Ben or Hyde Park while we relax with a beverage. A 4th 20 hour slog to Singapore is in the planning stage.
 
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