19 Tourist Traps That Are Total Rip-Offs

If you’re planning to travel or vacation this year, then chances are you’re going to want to know about tourist traps that could cost you a lot of money or potentially even scam you. Here are 19 tourist traps that are total rip-offs.

The Desert of Maine in Freeport

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This is certainly a tourist spot to avoid, as it isn’t even a real desert. For example, Best Life writes, “Not even technically a real desert, this grand-sounding spot is actually just a patch of sand in an otherwise forest-y state caused by a guy who didn’t know how to rotate his crops properly.”

Four Corners in AZ, CO, NM, and UT

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Visiting the Four Corners means you can stand in four states at the same time. Apart from the photo op, there’s a limited appeal that comes from visiting this tourist hot spot. The Four Corners are in a remote location and are a long drive from any major cities.

Bourbon Street in New Orleans, LA

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Bourbon Street is famous for its bars and nightlife, but it’s also known for being incredibly commercialized and is often criticized for it. The street is always filled with tourists and only has average restaurant chains. There’s nothing that really makes Bourbon Street stand out.

The Strip in Las Vegas, NV

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If you head to the strip in Las Vegas, then be warned about spending lots of money. Casinos are designed to encourage spending, which can result in hefty amounts spent by visitors. The strip is known for its shows and lights, but it’s also known to drain your pockets.

Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN

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B105 Country writes that the Mall of America is a huge tourist trap and that it’s basically just a big mall with a few rides. The mall attracts millions of people each year, with a large number of those being tourists. Unless you have specific shopping needs, the mall is considered unnecessary.

Fees in Las Vegas Hotels

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Las Vegas hotels will add a fee if you need to check in early or check out late. They’re also known to add on other fees to your hotel bill, such as using the car park. Also, mini bar charges can be incredibly expensive in Las Vegas hotels.

Taxi Prices in Iceland

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Taxi prices are incredibly expensive in Iceland, mainly because they don’t have cheaper alternatives like Uber or Lyft. Unless you plan to walk everywhere, sometimes there’s no option but to pay these fees, which is normally why they’re so high. You can also expect to pay an extortionate amount if you’re traveling to and from the airport.

10-11 Shops in Iceland

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According to Guide to Iceland, the 10-11 convenience stores in Reykjavik are the most expensive in Iceland. Sometimes, these stores will even alter their prices on evenings and weekends, as they know this is when tourists are most likely to visit. You’re advised to shop for groceries elsewhere in Iceland to save money.

Bars in Austurstraeti, Reykjavik

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The bars in Austurstraeti are known for their high prices and busy vibe, so if you prefer quieter spots, then it’s best to avoid them. These bars don’t provide you with an authentic feel when you’re out and about in Iceland and can become extremely expensive.

Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, CA

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Fisherman’s Wharf is considered to be a tourist trap, with many even calling it overpriced and overcrowded. It doesn’t give tourists an authentic feel of San Francisco, as many travelers have only had bad things to say about it. If you decide to go, expect long lines and large crowds.

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in the UK

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Secret Edinburgh writes, “Move over, Covent Garden and Stonehenge, the Royal Mile in Edinburgh Old Town is officially the UK’s worst tourist trap.” Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is known for its historical significance, but its overcrowding and hecticness often get in the way of this.

Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain

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Las Ramblas is often packed full of tourists, and this takes the authenticity away from it. It’s been regularly noted for its crowds and the high number of mentions of it being a tourist trap. Many people suggest visiting less busy areas for a better experience when it comes to exploring Barcelona.

Dole Plantation in Hawaii

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The Dole Plantation is often criticized for being overly commercialized and not offering genuine value. The plantation often has long lines, and the large crowds can take away the experience for a tourist. There are many other attractions in Hawaii that are great for tourists, especially those that can provide a more authentic experience.

Times Square in New York City, NY

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Times Square is considered to be one of the biggest tourist traps in the United States. For example, Tripster writes, “Times Square is one of the worst tourist traps in NYC. Since it is your first time in New York City, you should experience Times Square. However, be warned—this area of Manhattan is crawling with tourist traps.”

Bar Scams in Istanbul, Turkey

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If you’re heading to Istanbul, then try to stay clear of bar scams. This common scam involves taking tourists to specific bars, where they will then be overcharged. Always be cautious when experiencing the nightlife in Istanbul.

Taxi Scams in Istanbul

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Taxis will sometimes inflate their fares for tourists and charge them more than they should. All tourists are advised to use reputable taxi companies while in Istanbul and to use apps and services to avoid being overcharged. Always stay vigilant, especially during the night and in tourist hotspots.

Positano and Cinque Terre, Italy

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Positano and Cinque Terre can be hard to move around due to the packed streets. While they both have relatively small populations, Travel Weekly says Positano’s “number may triple or quadruple in the height of the tourist season.” In Cinque Terre, “the number of tourists each year adds up to nearly 2.5 million,” says Italy Real. This is because everyone has the same idea of heading to Italy during the summer due to the posts they see all over social media.

Venice, Italy

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Visiting Venice is very likely to cost a large amount, even if it’s just a short visit. It’s such a tourist-heavy city that it even impacts the lives of locals, who are very resistant to the influx. For a more authentic experience, try staying in Venice for longer.

Tourist Menus and Hotel Pizzas in Italy

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Many tourist menus in Italy often feature generic and overpriced dishes, and this isn’t authentic Italian cuisine. The most common place for this to happen is in hotels. They’ll sell overpriced foods where the pizzas could even be frozen. For an authentic Italian taste, you’ll want to head to the small Italian eateries that you can find off the beaten track.

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