Vacation Hot Spots to Avoid
Map marked with push pins
In his more than two decades as a travel reporter, Peter Greenberg has seen the world! Though most of his trips are wonderful adventures, he's also discovered a few places to avoid. In his book Don't Go There! The Travel Detective's Essential Guide to the Must-Miss Places of the World, he shares his tips on places to avoid.
Smokestacks and smog
Bad air and water quality doesn't just affect locals. When you travel to a polluted place, you may feel the impact on your body within a day or two. Here are some of the most polluted places that Peter says you definitely want to avoid on your travels:
  • Arvin, California and Windsor, Ontario, Canada: Even though these little towns may not be on your list of top 10 places to visit, they prove that pollution doesn't just affect the big cities. Arvin suffers from terrible air quality because it collects all the smog and pollution from Los Angeles and San Francisco. And Windsor is downwind of—where else? Detroit.
  • Vermont: Did you know that Vermont has 126 lakes and rivers that are so polluted that they don't meet the basic minimum water quality standards? In fact, 73 percent of storm water–impaired streams drain into Lake Champlain at the New York and Canadian borders, which is so polluted that it's actually toxic in some areas.
  • Naples, Italy: Naples may just be one of the stinkiest places on earth... if you go at the wrong time. Frequent garbage strikes mean that the city if often—literally—drowning in trash. And if frustrated locals take to burning the trash, well, just don't say you weren't warned!
Fast food french fries
In the cities where locals consume the most amount of fast food, chances are, if you go, you will too! The city that consumes the most fast food might surprise you. It's Greenville, North Carolina—those who consumed fast food did so an average of 23.9 times a month! Within 31.8 square miles, this town has at least four Burger Kings, three KFCs, seven McDonald's restaurants, seven Subways (with an eighth on the way), two Taco Bells, and five Wendy's restaurants.
Wall calendar marked with the word vacation
If you've ever had to elbow your way through a crowd just to snap a photo of the Mona Lisa or if your photo of the Taj Mahal is obscured by a stranger's head, Peter says don't go there... when everyone else is! Here are two popular places that Peter says you should avoid during certain times:
  • Las Vegas: What's the worst time to visit Las Vegas? No, it's not New Year's Eve. Instead, watch out for time when the city is hosting a major sporting event. During the NBC All-Star Game in 2007, out-of-control fans caused a major ruckus and there were more than 1,300 arrests in Sin City.
  • Disney World: No one is saying don't go to Disney World. Just don't go when everyone else is! Historically, the busiest days for the Magic Kingdom are Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Epcot peaks on Tuesday and Friday; Hollywood Studios on Sunday and Wednesday; and the Animal Kingdom on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Translation: Start your week on Tuesday at the Magic Kingdom, followed by Epcot, then Hollywood Studios and end your trip on Saturday at Animal Kingdom (while the rest of the crowd is still in line to see Mickey).
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