Fodor’s ‘No List’ 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why
Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Over-Tourism Puts Popular Destinations on Timeout
Some of the world's most iconic destinations are getting a much-needed break from the crowds in 2024. With over-tourism plaguing hotspots like Venice, Barcelona, and Dubrovnik in recent years, a number of locales are intentionally limiting visitors to control the chaos.
Venice is one of the first cities that comes to mind when you think of a destination crippled by too many tourists. The sinking city sees around 30 million visitors annually, with peak season bringing upwards of 100,000 travelers per day. The sheer volume of foot traffic has damaged historic buildings and heavily polluted the canals.
In 2024, Venice will require day-trippers to make reservations and pay an entry fee to access the city. Overnight guests who pay local taxes are exempt. While met with some controversy, the "Venice Pass" aims to cap visitors at sustainable levels.
Dubrovnik struggled with similar issues prior to 2020. More than 50 cruise ships docked there per day at one point, choking the walled old town's narrow limestone streets. Mayor Mato Franković has since limited ships to two per day, requiring reservations. This policy will continue in 2024 to keep crowds manageable.
Barcelona's livability has plunged due to uncontrolled tourism growth. With 30 million people visiting per year, fed-up locals have demanded change. 2024 brings new regulations to balance visitors with residents' quality of life. Tourists cruising the Gothic Quarter may encounter cordoned-off areas where only residents can enter.
While over-tourism stems partly from cruisers and tour groups, independent travelers share responsibility too. As we seek out "hidden gems" and off-the-beaten-path experiences, we have to be mindful not to love places to death. Small, sustainable businesses are easily overwhelmed by our numbers.
Even majestic national parks like Yellowstone are implementing reservation systems to reduce congestion on roadways and trails. Areas like the remote Havasupai Falls saw environment degradation and dangerous overcrowding as social media spurred its popularity. Permits booked out years in advance.
We can't blame destinations for needing a break when we've loved them a little too much. With rest and reinvestment, these places will be revitalized for our next visit. As travelers, we must do our part to respect both the local environment and people. After all, our favorite destinations should be treasured for generations to come.
What else is in this post?
- Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Over-Tourism Puts Popular Destinations on Timeout
- Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Safety Concerns Prompt Caution for These Getaways
- Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Environmental Damage Lands Sites on No-Go List
- Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Crowding and Inflation Make These Spots Skippable
- Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Vendor Harassment Deters Visitors from Top Sites
- Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Natural Disasters Impact Accessibility
- Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Political Unrest Advises Avoidance
- Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Visa Issues Complicate Travel to Former Favorites
Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Safety Concerns Prompt Caution for These Getaways
With political instability and violent conflicts raging in parts of the world, exercising caution is advised when journeying to select vacation spots in 2024. While no destination is 100% risk-free, wherever civil unrest exists travelers are vulnerable to rapidly deteriorating conditions. Situational awareness and contingency planning are essential.
A prime example is Nicaragua. Anti-government protests have rocked the country since reforms slashed social security benefits in 2018. Over 300 died in violent clashes between demonstrators and police. While the bloodshed has eased, political oppression persists. Activists continue being imprisoned and the authoritarian leader Daniel Ortega consolidates power. Visitors could get caught in the crossfire should revolts flare up again.
The U.S. State Department currently assigns Nicaragua a Level 3 travel advisory, urging reconsideration of travel plans. They caution to avoid political rallies and protests. These events often spur arbitrary detainment of American citizens accused of inciting unrest. Know emergency contacts and monitor local media. Have evacuation plans ready. Travel with extra food, water and cash in case instability disrupts infrastructure.
Political instability also plagues Haiti following the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Rival gangs battle for control as citizens endure soaring poverty and hunger. Kidnappings reach epidemic levels, primarily targeting Haitians but sometimes ensnaring tourists too. COVID-19, malnutrition, and lack of healthcare infrastructure exacerbate the crisis.
The State Department designated Haiti at Level 4, the highest threat level. This means do not travel due to grave danger. While many avoid Haiti currently, some still get lured by its natural beauty and cultural riches. But venturing here now is extremely risky. Gangs ransom kidnapped tourists and NGO workers, including Americans. If exploring Haiti, listen for travel alerts and continually reassess your security.
Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Environmental Damage Lands Sites on No-Go List
Mother Nature is sending humanity a clear message: treat her with respect, or lose access to her treasures. A number of once-pristine destinations now grapple with extensive environmental degradation from overtourism and climate change. Several sites balance precariously on the brink of permanent damage. This lands prominent ecosystems on Fodor’s “no list” for 2024 until protective measures can be implemented.
The Great Barrier Reef epitomizes nature’s fragile beauty. Stretching 1,400 miles along Australia’s northeast coastline, this vibrant marine sanctuary nurtures delicate coral colonies and supports astounding biodiversity. Sadly, back-to-back coral bleaching events have left large swaths of the reef gravely threatened. Abnormally warm ocean temperatures during 2016 and 2017 caused catastrophic die-offs, compromising ecosystem health. Runoff pollution from coastal agriculture also plagues the waters.
To give the reef time to recuperate, access will be restricted in 2024 through permits, quotas and no-access zones. Several boat tour operators face temporary suspensions until meeting sustainability standards. The precautions aim to curb human impact while restoration efforts accelerate. With the reef fighting for survival, human intervention is critical to prevent total collapse of the once-dazzling corals.
The Philippines’ renowned Boracay Island faces similar environmental emergency closures come 2024. Often rated Asia’s top beach, Boracay’s fine white sand and sparkling blue waters lured a stampede of tourists and mushrooming resorts. The tidal wave of humanity overwhelmed the petite island’s infrastructure. Raw sewage flowed straight into the sea. Garbage littered the beaches. The surrounding coral reefs were damaged by motorized water activities.
Calling the environmental despoliation an “open sewer”, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Boracay’s closure in 2018. The island underwent intensive rehabilitation before cautiously reopening. However, problems persisted, so complete closure is slated again for 2024. This time Boracay will stay shut until passing environmental inspections for water quality, sanitation systems, and sustainable tourism plans. The island will finally receive the urgent interventions it needs to stave off permanent devastation.
Similar predicaments led the Philippines to shutter other destinations like El Nido, Siargao and Panglao Island at various times. Overtourism was destroying these island gems. Now they remain on the “no list” until their ecosystems stabilize.
Even America’s legendary Yellowstone National Park shows strain under the weight of humanity. Millions of annual visitors block park roads and swarm popular thermal features. Tourists stray from boardwalks, trampling fragile thermal bacteria. Wildlife habituation and traffic jams ensue. Littering surges while facilities overflow.
Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Crowding and Inflation Make These Spots Skippable
From the exotic beaches of Thailand to the historic streets of Dubrovnik, favorite global destinations now burst at the seams with humanity. Success became these getaways’ undoing. Unmanageable crowds degrade the travel experience and environment while driving prices through the roof. After surviving on tourism, some hotspots lose their luster from overexposure. Why vist when you’ll waste time elbowing others for space to take the obligatory “grammable” photo? In 2024, we advise skipping locales where heavy tourism crushes the charm.
First up is Maya Bay in Thailand’s famed Phi Phi Islands, immortalized by the film The Beach. Hordes of tourists rushed here, eager to re-create Leo’s Hollywood adventure. Providing the iconic backdop quickly overwhelmed the bay’s delicate ecosystem. Authorities closed Maya Bay to visitors in 2018 after coral damage and beach erosion reached emergency levels. However, reopening in 2022 brought a stampede of speedboats and sunseekers again despite new daily limits. Remaining closed in 2024 allows this paradise to properly heal. Enjoy the rest of Phi Phi’s offerings instead.
Dubrovnik also continues restricting visitors next year after seeing its Old Town overwhelmed. Game of Thrones fanatics flocked here to tour the Red Keep’s real-life setting. Cruise ship crowds packed the medieval alleyways and centuries-old stone walls, creating Disneyland-like conditions. The city’s popularity soared after being featured in Star Wars and Robin Hood too. Long lines, street congestion, and endless tourist shops diminished Dubrovnik’s distinctive ambience. Prices also shot up, pricing out local businesses like grocery stores to clear space for higher-paying global brands.
Another European city struggling with extreme crowds and costs is Amsterdam. Around 19 million people visited Amsterdam in 2019 before the pandemic plunged travel into chaos. Now that tourism resuscitates post-lockdown, the city wants to avoid overcrowding recurring. Besides discouraging rowdy, drunken tourists, Amsterdam will hike hotel taxes in 2024. This boosts revenue to fund facilities and infrastructure while discouraging spontaneous visits. Also expect new regulations on Airbnb rentals and cannabis cafés. Amsterdam wants responsible, high-value tourism benefiting citizens too.
Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Vendor Harassment Deters Visitors from Top Sites
A dream vacation can transform into a nightmare when unrelenting vendor harassment ruins the experience. Popular tourist magnets notorious for aggressive hustling include Egypt, Jamaica, Thailand, and Morocco. While these destinations offer magnificent history, culture, and scenery, the constant badgering by shady dealers and swindlers spoils the fun. Many travelers feel too exhausted and frustrated to ever return.
In Egypt, the hassling hustle reaches maddening levels at stops like the Pyramids of Giza and Luxor's Karnak Temple. "Guides" and souvenir sellers besiege visitors from the moment they step from their shuttle bus. You get trailed and manhandled despite repeatedly saying "no thank you". Forget any chance of individual exploration or serene contemplation of the ancient ruins. The vendors' forceful tactics seem designed to wear you down into making purchases just for temporary peace.
Overly aggressive driving combines with the relentless peddling in Egypt too. Reckless buses and trucks terrify travelers along the road to Abu Simbel. Drivers tailgate tourists' vehicles while gesturing wildly to pull over at souvenir shops where the drivers collect commissions. It's a white-knuckle gauntlet exaggerating the negative impressions left by the suffocating sales pitches.
In Jamaica, a simple stroll down the beach turns into a grind when nonstop demands for hair braiding, jet ski rides or drugs. Trying to relax under a palm tree brings a stream of locals offering crafts, tours or soliciting tips to leave you alone. The endless solicitations for everything imaginable undercut the laid-back island vibe.
Thailand presents another hotspot where scams and brazen demands for money run rampant in areas like Patong Beach and Pattaya. Tuk-tuk drivers quote outrageous fares then grow aggressive if you try negotiating or walking away. Jet ski vendors insist damage occurred during rentals then pressure travelers to pay exorbitant repair fees. Intense efforts focus on exploiting tourists rather than providing legitimate services.
Morocco also presents extreme difficulties with persistent vendors and scam artists. In Marrakesh's Djemaa El Fna market, you get swarmed by henna tattoo artists, snake charmers and street performers demanding payment for photos. Merchants in Fes's labyrinthine souks won't take no for an answer when you say you're "just looking". The badgering seriously detracts from appreciating these fascinating settings.
Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Natural Disasters Impact Accessibility
Mother Nature's fury blocks access to treasured havens when catastrophic storms, fires, and earthquakes strike. Lands once teeming with travelers suddenly empty as extensive damage hampers tourism. While the allure remains, limitations around safety and available resources dictate exercising patience. Heed all posted restrictions so rebuilding efforts aren't hindered.
Hawaii's iconic Waikiki Beach faces limited access in early 2024 after record rainfall caused severe flooding across Oahu in late 2023. High waters inundated hotels along Kalakaua Avenue and pounded the historic seawall. Beaches washed away as raging waves devoured much of the prized golden sand fronting Waikiki. The heavy rains triggered landslides too, damaging roads around Diamond Head.
Honolulu faces a massive clean-up and rebuilding effort to restore Waikiki Beach to its former glory. The repairs require restricting visitor access through at least spring 2024. Only clean-up crews and repair workers gain entry until construction finishes. Hotels like the Royal Hawaiian and Moana Surfrider have extended closures. Airlines cancel a number of flights to avoid overburdening Oahu's damaged infrastructure.
Access challenges will continue hampering Hawaii Volcanoes National Park too. The park is still recovering from the immense damage inflicted by 2018's Kilauea eruption and earthquake swarm. Molten lava exploded from two dozen fissures, destroying over 700 structures while reshaping 200 acres of landscape. Clouds of toxic gas and ash prompted air quality alerts and forced extended park closures.
While Hawaii Volcanoes National Park partially reopened in late 2018, full restoration continues today. Much of the famed Crater Rim Drive remains off limits where lava still smolders. The Jaggar Museum stands closed until earthquake-induced cracks get repaired. Numerous hiking trails await reopening too. Visitors must heed posted restrictions for personal safety while navigating this drastically altered terrain. But witnessing Pele's raw destructive power provides a new, riveting experience of the volcano goddess's realm.
Down under in Australia, prolonged heavy rainfall created once-a-century flooding along the east coast in 2022. The swollen Brisbane River inundated Australia's third largest city, forcing thousands to evacuate. Floodwaters swamped riverside parks and trendy cafes in riverside suburbs like New Farm. Brisbane's downtown business district filled like a bathtub, submerging pedestrians and subways.
Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Political Unrest Advises Avoidance
Vacationing in a destination embroiled in political turmoil puts travelers at grave risk. While the impulse may be to adventure onward with the optimism that “it won’t happen to me,” the perils are all too real. Plunging into unstable regions blinds you to rapidly deteriorating conditions and limits your ability to exit the situation. Heed government travel warnings and think twice about visiting regions of brewing conflict and oppression.
Myanmar (Burma) tragically exemplifies the dangers of political unrest. This once tranquil Buddhist nation captivated travelers with glittering pagodas and the historical aura of Yangon (Rangoon). But decades of military rule bred deep ethnic tensions. When Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratic government got deposed in a 2021 coup, peaceful protests morphed into armed rebellion and horrific violence against civilians. The military ruthlessly clings to power, ruthlessly suppressing opposition with torture, executions and indiscriminate bombings.
Over 12,000 have been imprisoned and over 2,900 killed so far, including children. Brazen attacks on schools, churches and residential areas reveal the military’s utter disregard for human life. And foreigners get caught in the crossfire too. A young British teacher visiting family perished when soldiers sprayed gunfire into her cab. An American journalist reporting on the turmoil was shot execution-style by security forces last year. This underscores why travel here poses mortal danger.
Ukraine also serves as a somber example of why avoiding political hot zones is critical. Despite Russia’s looming invasion threats, few expected tanks would actually roll across Ukraine’s border on February 24, 2022. But Vladimir Putin’s assault trapped tourists in cities under siege like Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol. Airports closed. Trains halted. Roads clogged with desperate refugees. As missiles and bombs rained down, visitors struggled to find shelter in subway tunnels, school basements and hotels. Lack of medications, food and water compounded the dire scenarios.
Multiple foreigners died in the carnage, including an Indian student killed by Russian shelling in Kharkiv. An American paramedic on vacation was gunned down while evacuating patients from a hospital. Tourists also got abducted by Russian forces around Kherson and Melitopol. Others survived harrowing escapes – walking for miles through bitter cold and gunfire to reach Poland and Romania. Their stories warn why entering volatile regions racks needless risk.
Fodor's 'No List' 2024: The Destinations to Avoid Next Year and Why - Visa Issues Complicate Travel to Former Favorites
Navigating visa requirements ranks among the more tedious aspects of planning an international getaway. But obtaining proper documentation is essential for smooth entry into your destination. Lacking proper visas or overstaying past permitted days can trigger hefty fines, detention, deportation, and bans from returning. Unfortunately, visa policies constantly shift, especially when diplomatic tensions escalate between nations. Destinations once easily accessible to American travelers now pose visa obstacles that can thwart your trip before it even begins.
Russia exemplifies how suddenly visa fortunes reverse. For years, Americans could visit this expansive nation with relative ease. To tour Moscow’s opulent Metro system or explore Siberia’s Lake Baikal, you simply obtained an e-visa online for around $80. But after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the U.S. severed diplomatic ties. Russia banned entry to American visitors in retaliation while also halting consular services for visas. Nearly overnight, upcoming trips to Moscow, St. Petersburg and beyond evaporated.
Cuba also demonstrates how visa issues arise unexpectedly. For decades, strict travel restrictions existed between the U.S. and this Caribbean communist nation. Americans defied the law to sample Havana’s vintage charms. But after Obama eased sanctions in 2015, regularly scheduled flights commenced while Americans rushed to see Cuba before an inevitable policy change.
Fast forward to 2022 under President Trump, and Americans again got barred from freely visiting Cuba as relations regressed. Overnight, direct flights canceled and cruise ships rerouted. While not an outright visa denial, the “Support for the Cuban People” category allowing travel got eliminated. This forces passengers to fly through third countries while meeting strict criteria to avoid violating sanctions. Navigating the red tape deters many from booking Cuba.
Another former favorite now complicated by visa trouble is India’s dreamy Andaman Islands. After developing a reputation as an unspoiled beach getaway, India opened this remote archipelago to e-visas in 2019. That let Americans easily supplement tours of Delhi’s colorful chaos with the Andamans’ turquoise waters and exotic flora. But in 2022, e-visas got suspended as local tribes sought to limit contact with outsiders. Now you must apply in person at an Indian embassy or consulate for a regular tourist visa. Since the U.S. has only a few Indian consulates, the Andamans suddenly seem out of reach for American beachcombers.