Tips to prevent overtourism

Venice is no longer allowing large cruise ships in the old town; Machu Picchu is strongly limiting the number of tickets sold per day, and the Indian government is raising the entrance price for a visit to the Taj Mahal. What do these 3 place have in common? They are all tourist hot spots whose very survival is being threatened by overtourism. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to precent overtourism while still travelling. We share our top tips in this blog.


Travel for the experience

Flighting overtourism starts with a change in attitude. Travel for the experience, not for the selfie. If you’re no longer bound by the search for the next bucket list, Instagrammable highlight, it becomes easier to skip the popular, over-subscribed places and destinations and to choose an alternative.

Overtourism: Look for alternatives

Machu Picchu is incredibly beautiful. But did you know there are many more, comparable Inca ruins to be found in Peru? And what about world famous Ubud in Bali? Did you know Sidemen is every bit as beautiful as Ubud, but no where near as busy? Is a visit to the Taj Mahal really the highlight of your trip? Or will the home cooked meal with a local family stay with you much longer?


Overtourism : Avoid the tourist traps

A ‘tourist trap’ is a tourist hot spot that is often promoted as ‘word famous’ and ‘largest’, ‘most beautiful’ or ‘best’ in the world, with the sole purpose of attracting as many visitors as possible. Don’t fall for it. They’re not worth your time or money. A visit to the Bromo volcano in Java, Indonesia at sunrise is one example of this kind of tourist traps. It’s ‘sold’ to tourist as the most beautiful sunrise in the world. But getting there often means joining a convoy of massive, polluting jeeps to get to the top of the volcano, and then flighting hordes of other tourists for the best view. If you’re lucky, there’s just 3 drones flying over your head on that particular morning. There are much better things to do with your time in Indonesia.

Find a different way

If you still really want to visit the hot spots, try doing so in a different way. 6am is a much quieter time to visit the Taj Mahal then after 9am. And if you are willing to climb Mount Bromo after 10am, you might find yourself to be one of the only visitors. Do you research and don’t blindly follow the advise of travel guides. After all, everyone reads those. Ask locals or our local travel expert for advice, they’ll have the best insider tips.

Travel outside of high season

Try to travel outside of the high season as much as possible. Of course that can be difficult if you have kids that are tied to school holidays, but whenever possible, try to travel in low season. It’s not only quieter on destination, but accommodation and activities are often much cheaper as well.

Overtourism : Off the beaten track

The easiest way to avoid overtourism is to travel off the beaten track. It’s better for the locals and more fun for you. Just because a village or naturescape isn’t frequently visited, says nothing about the quality of the place. Off the beaten track destinations are often the ones where you’re welcomed with open arms, where the encounters with locals are authentic and genuine and where nature is the least impacted by hordes of tourists.


Avoid multi-nationals or chains

Try to avoid hotel and restaurant chains as much as possible. Small, local entrepreneurs often can’t compete with the economies of scale of large, western multinationals, resulting in a loss of authenticity and culture for a city or country. By spending the night in small-scale accommodation and choosing restaurants and shops that are run by locals, you commit to supporting local businesses and ensure they are able to continue competing with the bigger players on the market.


Get to know the local customs

Try to make sure your impact on local culture is minimal by learning about local customs beforehand. Find out how to greet the locals, what type of clothing is considered appropriate and show respect towards rituals and habits that may seem foreign to us. As well intentioned as it may be, never hand out candy, cash or other small gifts to children.

Ask our local experts for advice

Looking for an off the beaten track destination or <experience? Our local travel experts would love to help and share their tips for combating the negative effects of overtourism and maximising the positive impact of your trips. Check out these trips for inspiration!

Get inspired

Looking for more inspiration on how to make your next trip even more sustainable? Blogger Daisy is travelling around the work with a mission: inspiring travellers to travel with a maximum positive impact, for both themselves and the places they visit. Find out more. 

More about sustainable travel

Read more about travelling with a positive impact and other ways of sustainable travel

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