Written by MAYA STANTON
It’s a well-accepted travel truth: some destinations are even more impressive in person than they seem to be in photos and video, and others fail to live up to their billing.
But for every Grand Canyon – breathtaking in scale and scope, a real gut-punch upon first glance – there’s a Times Square, frustratingly crowded and criminally overhyped.
From Rome to Beijing, here are seven places that don’t need to be shoehorned into your itinerary – and where to go instead.
Times Square – New York City
Between the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Rockefeller Center, New York is home to a number of attractions that are arguably better admired from afar than up close.
Times Square, with its maddening crush of out-of-towners, is perhaps the best example. If you can’t resist seeing what the hype is all about, go at night when the neon glitz is in full effect.
The alternative: Go gallery-hopping in Chelsea, catch a show in Williamsburg, graze your way through the Lower East Side, or simply take a stroll through Central Park – really, anywhere but here.
Trevi Fountain – Rome
The waterworks made famous by Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and Frank Sinatra’s “Three Coins in the Fountain,” the Trevi is one of modern-day Rome’s most beloved sites – and it has the fanbase to match.
Swarms of tourists make the pilgrimage to toss in loose change on a daily basis, creating gridlock in the small piazza, causing damage to the fountain, and bringing out the touts and pickpockets.
The alternative: To beat the crowds, go at sunrise or after dark when the lights show off designer Nicola Salvi’s skills.
Or focus on Rome’s other masterpieces instead, like Bernini’s Fontana del Tritone, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, and St. Peter’s Square at the heart of Vatican City.