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It has been years since some people have done any traveling. Many Americans long for a vacation, weary of video conferences and seeing the same four walls day after day.
But 2023 will be a year of travel for many who have put off visiting their favorite destinations or a bucket list trip to an iconic attraction.
But before you make your 2023 travel plans, let’s take a look at some destinations suffering from overtourism. Some places have even implemented new restrictions to curb the crowds, while others continue seeing millions of visitors yearly.
Some cities take advantage of tourists by hiking up prices and yet delivering subpar service. So don’t make reservations just yet. Let’s dive in!
Will People Be Traveling More in 2023?
After the pandemic, the travel and hospitality industry saw a flood of vacationers.
People were tired of being cooped up in their homes. They were ready to take a break from remote learning, remote working, and mask-wearing.
This year will also see more and more people willing to travel. Whether it’s the beaches of Florida, the mountains of Colorado, or the deserts of Southern California, most popular tourist destinations will see an increase in visitors.
Tips to Avoid Crowded Travel Destinations
If you want to find a good vacation spot, one of the biggest tips to avoid crowds is to choose a less-visited location. Instead of going to Daytona Beach, perhaps try a spot just north in Ormond Beach, where you’ll find lower prices and fewer people.
Instead of visiting the Grand Canyon, consider visiting southern Arizona and walking among the cacti in Saguaro National Park. You’ll find these lesser-known spots still worth a trip.
If you have your heart set on visiting a heavily crowded attraction, all isn’t lost. Book your reservations well in advance to ensure you have accommodations.
Then when you arrive, avoid crowds by getting up early and hiking trails or visiting museums before lunch. You’ll also find more parking available earlier in the day.
But always research when visiting a popular area. Some national parks require reserved entry tickets, some hiking trails require permits, and some places like art galleries, museums, and attractions require advanced reservations. These systems help limit tourist traffic.
7 Destinations That Will Be Overrun With Tourists in 2023
There will be several destinations across the world that will be overrun with tourists in 2023. If you can choose a similar location, you’ll find yourself enjoying a vacation rather than fighting crowds and standing in long lines.
One of the most expensive vacations is visiting Hawaii. You’ll often get overpriced and subpar food compared to other tropical island locations.
But the beauty of the beaches lures tourists year after year. Hawaii is stunning, but some of its most breathtaking scenery is far from the tourist attractions and crowded destinations.
2. Las Vegas
People looking for a good time show up in Las Vegas every year, and 2023 will be no different. But unless you want to spend all of your time gambling, you’ll have to fight crowds, stand in lines, and pay too much for what is sometimes mediocre entertainment.
Vegas certainly has some amazing shows, and the natural landscape is something to behold. But you can find many other less-crowded places to enjoy similar fun and beauty.
Keep in Mind: Once you’re done partying, you have to visit these National Parks Near Las Vegas!
3. New York City
Another overpriced and overrun tourist destination is New York City. From the food to the taxi service to the hotel accommodations, you’ll pay an arm and a leg to visit Times Square, see a Broadway show, or climb to the top of the Empire State Building.
You can shop at the same stores in other big cities without fighting the traffic and crowds. New York City is certainly iconic and offers memorable experiences for tourists, but it might be a city you want to skip in 2023.
4. U.S. National Parks
For the last several years, the U.S. National Parks have seen a dramatic increase in visitors. This has created serious traffic jams, over-capacity parking lots, and irritated guests.
Additionally, these large crowds have harmed the ecosystems, and many have vandalized sacred and protected places. If you want to visit a popular National Park, consider going in the off-season and follow the Leave No Trace principles to protect these conservation areas.
Three international destinations make this list of places you might want to skip in 2023. The first is Cancun, Mexico. This hotspot is overrun with tourists so much that it’s impossible to experience authentic Mexican living.
Everything from the food to the accommodations and the expeditions revolves around travelers. Like Las Vegas, you’ll find drunk tourists and scam artists. If you want a honeymoon vacation at an all-inclusive resort, then Cancun may be your answer.
But if you want a beautiful beach to relax or a place to enjoy true Mexican cuisine or support Mexican artisans, look elsewhere.
In the summer, Barcelona, Italy, is especially crowded. Staying in the city and dining out is expensive, and street vendors always want to make a buck.
And the city is confusing to navigate, which greatly hampers the vacation experience. Barcelona is a city of less than two million but sees about 32 million tourists a year, making it difficult to get around and enjoy its beauty.
Finally, Amsterdam in the Netherlands makes the list for the same reasons as Barcelona. The city has fewer than a million residents but welcomes almost 20 million tourists annually.
It has become such a problem that the government has started banning new tourist shops and limiting Airbnb rentals. Like the previous locations, if you can visit in the off-season, you’ll enjoy your time much better.
But if you have to visit during the summer, you’re better off choosing a similar but different location.
Places Tourists Should Avoid Due to Environmental Concerns
We’ve also listed a few places in the United States that you should avoid in 2023, not due to overcrowdedness but environmental concerns. These three iconic destinations are popular tourist attractions but have also issued warnings for visitors.
In 2021 and 2022, Lake Tahoe saw a huge influx of people moving to the area. These holiday homes now have permanent residents. Because of this, traffic, trails, and beaches are much more crowded.
The main environmental concern is increased pollution. The dust and exhaust emissions from all of the additional vehicles and construction have altered the beautiful blue color of the lake. As a response, the town wants to find ways to limit the number of cars on the road.
Lake Mead has made the news in recent years because of droughts. This area in Arizona and Nevada has issued water restrictions to prevent further destruction to the lake.
Officials expect water levels to drop to less than 1,050 feet above sea level, a Tier 2 shortage level. If it drops below 895 feet, Hoover Dam’s ability to generate hydroelectricity will be affected, impacting people who live in California, Arizona, and Nevada.
You might think an island has plenty of access to water. But in Hawaii, this isn’t true. In fact, Maui County implemented compulsory water restrictions on residents for non-essential water use.
However, because these same restrictions didn’t apply to the touristy areas with golf courses and swimming pools, this created a huge conflict between residents and tourists.
The cost of living has also increased due to high rentals, thus, leading to an increase in homelessness. Maui citizens have even asked tourists to stop coming to the island.
Is It Still Possible to Visit Popular Tourist Destinations in 2023?
Although you certainly have reasons to avoid these overrun and popular tourist destinations in 2023, you can still enjoy vacationing in such iconic cities.
As mentioned earlier, if you can make travel arrangements in the off-season, you’ll encounter fewer crowds and traffic. Accommodations, food, and tickets also won’t cost as much.
No matter what, always respect the residents and the environment wherever you go. Tourism may bring in a lot of money for cities and countries, but it’s not worth the detriment it does to the locals or ecosystems when visitors take over.
Further restrictions and changes may happen if these places continue to see high traffic and systemic problems.
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Consider Alternatives When Traveling in 2023
As you plan to vacation this year, consider other lesser-known destinations. Visit New Orleans instead of Las Vegas. Visit Aruba instead of Hawaii. Visit Valencia instead of Barcelona.
Allow some of these locations to heal from overtourism, and revisit the idea of heading to Yosemite National Park or Amsterdam in a few years.
Have you seen the harmful effects of overtourism in other places you’ve visited recently?