"That Was 20 Years Ago, And I’m Sure It's Even Worse Now": People Are Sharing The Popular Travel Destinations They Did Not Enjoy

When you travel to a new place, you probably leave home with high expectations. After all, you never know — you could be embarking upon your new favorite destination. But chances are, you haven't been head over heels for every locale you've visited.

Julia Roberts in a jacket over a floral top looking away against a cityscape background
Plan B Entertainment

So I asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell me about a destination that left them feeling underwhelmed. Here's what people said, along with comments from some redditors who love to travel.

1."San Francisco. The city was so crowded, I didn’t like the food, and the homelessness we saw all around us was extremely sad."

Chinatown in San Francisco
Westend61 / Getty Images/Westend61

2."Virginia Beach. I love beaches, but Virginia Beach was murky and way overcrowded, and there was not much to do. It’s also near a military base, so having the constant military planes overhead was just unnerving."

Crowded beach with people sunbathing and umbrellas, adjacent to a walkway
Mark E. Gibson / Getty Images

3."New York City. I remember coming up the escalator from Penn Station and immediately smelling pee. I recall walking streets that were lined with huge piles of stinky trash bags. It was so dirty everywhere, I was afraid to touch anything. That was 20 years ago, and I’m sure it's even worse now."

People walking across a street in NYC
Deberarr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

4."Cabo San Lucas. There were massive ships blocking the horizon, panhandlers who would stand in front of you so you couldn’t see the ocean, and hordes of people getting in the way at every snorkeling spot. There were beach chairs packed like sardines. I love other parts of Mexico, but Cabo was generally an underwhelming experience."

Cabo San Lucas Marina as seen from a resort


Cultura Rm Exclusive / Getty Images/Image Source

5."Venice. This Italian city was so crowded and overrun with tourists that I couldn't even stop to enjoy the sights and experiences around me."

People sitting at an outdoor café in a busy square with an ornate building in the background
David Madison / Getty Images

6."Disney World. My whole family was so excited about this Florida vacation, and we could not wait to get there. But we spent more money than planned (we still can’t even stomach how much we spent), we fought more as a family than we ever had, and we stood in line after line after line. The most fascinating part of the whole vacation was realizing that many people live for this place. The crowds…the prices…the lines. Never again for us."

Cinderella Castle at Disney World with visitors in front, clear sky


Arturo Holmes / Getty Images for Disney Dreamers Academy

7."Bora Bora in French Polynesia. Yes, it’s so beautiful, but there’s really nothing to do beyond the beach. And you have to stay at one of the super-expensive resorts to actually make a trip there worthwhile. The other destinations in the Society Islands were more fun and still just as gorgeous."

Overwater bungalows extend from a wooden pier into a calm sea under a sunny sky


D. Lentz / Getty Images

8."Egypt. I was so excited to go, but it was the worst place I’ve ever traveled to. Everyone tried to scam me relentlessly, from the airport clerk to the taxi drivers and the pyramids tour guide. People will tell you they recognize you from the day before, and they'll try to get you to ride their donkey and follow you even when you say multiple times that you’re not interested. It was impossible to walk half a block from my hotel to try to buy water without people constantly stopping me trying to get money in some way and some form. It was absolutely exhausting."

The Great Pyramids of Giza with tourists and camel rides in the foreground
Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Getty Images

9."Tulum, Mexico. It has beautiful beaches but is otherwise completely devoid of character. It's expensive and boring (unless your only goal is to party with other tourists)."

Beach with visitors below ancient ruins, clear sky, and a traditional hut on the left
M Swiet Productions / Getty Images

10."Sydney. I found it to be a very boring city. I hate that I wasted so much of my time in Australia there. Bondi Beach was just okay, and seeing the iconic landmarks like the Opera House felt like checking things off a box. After that, I wasn't sure how to spend my time. The city has no personality. As soon as I hopped on a train west, I saw incredible landscapes and met truly genuine folks. You can do Sydney in a day or two. I wish I’d headed into the bush the minute my plane landed."

Crowded beach with people sunbathing and swimming, cityscape in the background


Getty Images

11."Bali. This Indonesian island is still great in many ways, but it is increasingly overrun by obnoxious tourists and expats. I'm talking vapid, entitled influencer (or wannabe influencer) kinds of tourists/expats who wait in long lines to take selfies at historical/spiritual sites that they don't bother to learn anything about."

Beach scene with people on bean bags under umbrellas at sunset
Jokoleo / Getty Images

12."Amsterdam. It was so crowded, chaotic, and easy to get run over by other tourists on bikes who've never ridden before. I feel like it's romanticized a lot, but the first time I visited, I was genuinely disappointed. It's definitely dirty on the streets, and the canals have a lot of waste drifting in them."

Street view with people cycling and walking, historical buildings, and a church with twin spires
Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

13."Paris. What a colossally overrated city. I’ve always heard that Paris syndrome was a real thing, but I wasn’t prepared for how disappointed I was actually going to feel after visiting. The crowds were atrocious, the locals are not friendly, to say the least (even though I could speak some French), and everything was absolutely filthy. And this is all coming from a San Francisco native!"

A bustling city street scene at night with illuminated shop signs and a crowd of pedestrians


Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

14."Portland, Oregon. My best friend and I drove across the country from Florida to Washington, stopping for national parks, iconic eateries, and more. We read so many good things about Portland online, but in reality, it was one of the most depressing places I’ve ever seen. The hotel itself was awesome, but outside those doors, the downtown area was awful. There was tons of open drug use, naked people on the sidewalk, and the smell of bodily fluids everywhere. It was too much. We saw other parts of Oregon and loved it (especially Cannon Beach), but Portland was a major disappointment."

The sun sets over a busy avenue in downtown Portland
Angelo Desantis / Getty Images

15."Santorini was pretty disappointing, in my opinion. I feel like the photos I've seen online must have been photoshopped. I expected beautiful views but ended up having to crop graffiti and dirty buildings from the backgrounds of my pictures. It was also so expensive. The cheapest lunch option I found was a small wrap for 11 euros. It really felt like a tourist trap. Rhodes, on the other hand, was gorgeous and affordable. This island was home to beautiful beaches and old medieval buildings. I would avoid spending much time in Santorini, considering how much more expensive it is than other, equally beautiful Greek islands."

Crowd of people gathered in Santorini overlooking the sea and islands
George Pachantouris / Getty Images

16."The Alhambra in Granada, Spain. It was so crowded, especially considering how small it actually is. I’d seen so many photos of the Alhambra where it looked so stunning, and I envisioned it being this serene palace. In reality, though, it was beyond packed with tour groups. Perhaps this is a good instance of how inaccurately social media can represent popular tourist destinations."

Group of people under an ornate archway, looking toward a building's intricate facade


Jorge Guerrero / AFP via Getty Images

17."Atlantis in the Bahamas. You have this image of a luxury resort before visiting, but upon arrival, you find this incredibly overcrowded place (and that’s *before* the cruise people arrive and completely take over the property during daytime hours). Anytime there was an issue with service, they would blame it on 'island time.' If one more person said the phrase 'island time,' I was going to lose it. We had thousand-dollar excursions, private cabanas, and dinner reservations all cut short due to island time. Paradise Island was beautiful, but we're never going back to Atlantis."

Atlantis Caribbean beach resort, with white sand coastline


Pola Damonte Via Getty Images / Getty Images

18."Naples. I did a big European trip after college and spent about a month in Italy. Naples was EASILY the worst place we visited. Seedy, run-down, trashy, unsafe, you name it. Would never go back."

The busy corner with street vendors between Via San Gregorio Armeno and Via San Biagio dei Librai in Naples

19."Barcelona was disappointing to me. If you aren't a big drinker and don't want to do a lot of shopping, the city is kind of boring. Spend a day on the beach and another day touring, and you've pretty much done it all. That being said, going to La Sagrada Família was incredible. It made the rest of the boring trip totally worthwhile."

Crowded urban street with pedestrians walking, trees lining the path, and kiosks on the sides


Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

20."Nashville. Traffic is a nightmare, and you cannot enjoy the downtown area because it is so loud. All of the bars have music blaring out into the street, and it just blends together into one high-decibel sound wave. Not to mention, there are people who are homeless passed out in the middle of the sidewalks. The city reeks of urine and sewage, and on weekends, you cannot even walk without getting bumped into. Don’t even get me started on all the party buses, tractors, and pedal taverns that further congest things and add to the noise, with everyone in town for sorority events and bachelorette parties."

A busy street at night with neon signs and crowds in Nashville


John Coletti / Getty Images

21."Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. It's very artificial feeling, and the whole city has a crowded amusement park feel. There's nothing eye-catching. It feels like a lesser clone of Singapore."

Aerial view of Dubai Marina futuristic skyline with a man-made lake in the middle
Captured Blinks Photography / Getty Images

22."Las Vegas, for me. I know it's a very popular tourist spot in the US, but I just can't stand going there. Like most people, I was excited to go at first, but just taking a big whiff of the air there makes me gag now. The streets can be really dirty, and traffic is terrible. It is really dry, and I personally can't stand not being near a body of water."

Las Vegas at night
Gerald Lord / Getty Images/fStop

23."The Big Island of Hawaii. I recently went on a trip to the island. So many people rave about the views and the hiking trails past beautiful waterfalls. I was there for two weeks and spent roughly half of my time driving. Any waterfall 'hikes' were more aptly just short walks from the parking lot and up a couple of stairs. The volcanoes were cool, the weather was nice, and the views were okay, but I don’t think I would spend the time or the money to go back."

Visitors beside a rocky stream with a waterfall in a lush landscape


©fitopardo / Getty Images

24."Costa Rica. This country felt like a tourist trap. In many places, you have no option but to stay at an all-inclusive resort and purchase travel packages for adventure sports like zip lining, horseback riding, and more. There isn't much opportunity to deviate from these packages, and it's also very expensive. I felt that it was hard to learn anything about the local or Indigenous culture."

A person zip lining over trees and rainforest


Niki Harry / Getty Images/500px Prime

Do you have something to add? Tell us in the comments or drop your thoughts into this Google form.

Note: Some entries have been edited for length and/or clarity.