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Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Hit & Miss List For 2023

I gave you the top 5 wish list destinations in my last post, now let's talk about where to actually go and where to skip for 2023. Tourism is ramping up, which is good and bad, because there are places that were struggling and trying to get back to they were pre-pandemic, and there are places that are trying to do things differently. Let's take a look:

Tourism is ramping up, which is good and bad, because there are places that were struggling to rebound, and places doing things differently.
Photo by Matheo JBT on Unsplash

Skip: Lake Tahoe, CA/NV 

Go Instead: Saskatchewan, Canada

Lake Tahoe has become so popular that it's basically just you and all the other tourists. Cost of living there is quite high, meaning you're paying extra for a lot of things when you don't have to. It's too small to have to deal with such crowds. 

If you want the convenience of a city with plenty of outdoor things, like Tahoe, Saskatchewan has a lot to offer you. Head to Regina for arts and culture or go up north and explore Prince Albert National Park for hiking and kayaking.

Photo by Bogdan Dada on Unsplash

Skip: Venice, Italy

Go Instead: Ostuni, Italy

Since reopening after Covid shutdowns, Venice has exploded with tourism, which some days having over 350 tourists per local. Sure, there are super cheap flights sometimes, but that comes with pros and cons. 

Head all the way down the boot to the heel and find Ostuni, The White City, where you can lounge on the pristine beaches, wander cobblestone streets, and visit olive groves. Avoid the huge possibility of getting pickpocketed in the crushed streets of Venice and instead immerse yourself in the Greek and Roman history of this southern gem.

Photo by john crozier on Unsplash

Skip: Cornwall, England

Go Instead: Rye, England

I've not seen that much about Cornwall, but the home of the Cornish pasty is, apparently, a huge draw for tourists looking to get away to someplace quaint and cozy. Unfortunately, the crush of visitors make for a miserable life for everyone, including those affected by the housing crisis caused by vacation rentals to help support even a percentage of those coming. 

On the complete opposite coast (the east) gives you Rye, England, a cobbled, seaside town that also sits on a river and is full of medieval homes. It's a haven for antique hunters and foodies alike. It's also a 50-minute drive to Canterbury, if you're looking for a day trip for even more history and/or wildlife.

Photo by Jesper Brouwers on Unsplash

Skip: Amsterdam

Go Instead: Ghent, Belgium

Amsterdam is trying to restructure it's tourism structure. It's cracking down on cannabis tourism and have banned beer bikes from the city center. Tourist numbers can reach as high as the entire Dutch population smashed into just one city and it has taken its toll on the locals and doesn't really give a great impression to those who are traveling for authentic experiences. 

Plan a trip to Ghent, bypassing the more popular cities of Bruges and Brussels, where you'll find a booming art scene - I love amazing graffiti art - juxtaposed with historical places like Castle Gravensteen, canal boats, and amazing food to have with those Belgian beers that you were probably hoping to get down on elsewhere.

Photo by Isaac Ordaz on Unsplash

Skip: Maui, Hawaii

Go Instead: Kona, Hawaii

Hawaii is trying real hard to get back to traditional practices and it's hard when over-tourism is making it difficult just to survive. Though Maui isn't as bad as Honolulu in terms of tourists, it's still quite overrun and now there's also a water crisis and locals have been enduring water restriction, while tourists don't have that same issue.

Kona, and the Big Island in general, has some of the best outdoor activities, beaches, and wineries. There are several coffee plantations, with one in particular opening a tasting room early next year. I just met with the Visitors Bureau for the Island of Hawaii and there's so much to do, without having to vie for space on the beach or the road to enjoy yourself. The Big Island is really to ramp up responsible tourism and teaching visitors through authentic experiences, voluntourism, and the that there's more to the culture than the Hawaii-lite version you get in the uber popular cities. I'll be writing more on a budget-friendly trip to the Island of Hawaii soon.

As much as I love to visit places everyone else is going, I also get a lot of joy from seeing places that aren't that popular and just engaging with locals, eating hyper-local foods, and not being the millionth person to take the same picture that week. It's really fun to be able to show people something new and off the beaten track.

What are some of your favorite travel gems?

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