As record numbers of us travel to the world’s top destinations, overcrowding threatens to destroy some of the most precious corners of the globe. The echo chamber of social media has put certain spots at the forefront of our minds – iconic sites attract likes and striking a pose at a chic locale offers cultural cache. With the travel industry growing exponentially and flights cheaper than ever, we are at risk of ruining the very places we revel in the beauty of.
The answer? Looking beyond the obvious. Santorini isn’t the only beautiful Greek island, and Venice not the only Italian town where its architecture and canals will take your breath away. There are more Scottish highlands than Skye, and more paradise idylls beyond Bali. The world is not a bucket list to tick off – use your imagination to discover unsung places (start with our guide of 2020 travel inspiration), and consider why you really want to visit a certain destination. Do you just want to brag that you’ve visited a certain city or country, or is it that going there will actually make you happy based on your personal interests and preferences?
Fodor’s Travel Guide has rounded up a list of places to avoid going in 2020 (or at least think about visiting off peak season) due to overtourism, while we’ve offered our picks on the lesser known destinations to swap them for. It’s time to reconsider how and when we travel.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.