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Reviews | Travel tips to avoid being an ugly American tourist


Travelers need to research to get the answer. But while millions of people can browse Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms looking for #travelinspiration, we can extract those sources of context as well. A search for “overtourism” on Twitter, for example, offers useful information on fragile destinations to avoid.

This summer, Travel blogger Preethi Harbuck canceled a trip to Maui, which was struggling with a Covid wave, water shortage and tourist deluge. His family could have walked briskly; many others have. But listening to locals on social media convinced her it wouldn’t be thoughtful or responsible.

“The vast majority of Hawaiian voices I could find were saying, ‘Please don’t come right now,'” Ms. Harbuck told me. Instead, his family went to the US Virgin Islands.

Approaching travel this way requires a change in mindset. It may be nicer to browse photos of five-star hotels than to review the Friends of the Earth annual report. Cruise Ship Report Sheet. But there’s a plus: Caring about where we travel and the people who live there can make us feel more connected to them.

A few simple changes in the way we plan travel can help. Rather than following crowds, hashtags, or influencers, look for old-fashioned sources of inspiration, from places mentioned in favorite books to childhood vacation memories. You can even pull that dusty globe off your shelf to get ideas.

Ask yourself what type of trip are you looking for – a beach getaway? a culinary adventure? – then look for a lower density version of the hot spot you originally had in mind. Step outside of Paris’s overheated restaurant scene, for example, and dine in Padua, Italy, or the Mexican state of Chiapas. Avoid Yosemite National Park and try Pinnacles National Park, a short drive away. Travel out of season, stay in small inns and guesthouses, and explore the region’s cuisine as much as possible, to keep your money in the hands of the locals.

Of course, it’s always important to keep a close eye on travel restrictions and recommendations for the places you want to visit – especially now, because of Covid – and to make sure you comply with them fully, for your own sake and the rest of the world. safety of others. .