Common Vacation Attractions That Don’t Meet The Hype

People who travel the world regularly learn a lot of tricks along the way. And one of the tough ones is to figure out what attraction recommendations to pay attention to, and which ones to ignore. No matter where you go in the world there are books, blog posts, and all kinds of other resources telling you what you might want to do there. Lately there’s even been talk of traveling in VR, in part as a means of planning things out even more.

Some of this is great, and it can help you figure out an itinerary before you’re ever on the road or plane. Still, there are a lot of commonly recommended types of attractions that fail to live up to the hype more often than not. Recognizing these can save you a lot of time and sometimes a lot of money in your travels.

Celebrity Chef Restaurants

Thanks in large part to various cooking shows on television, there are a lot of famous chefs these days. And most of them have leveraged their names and talents to create global restaurant empires, such that it’s not at all uncommon to see a celebrity restaurant recommended in a high-end resort and/or big city. The trouble is, the chefs’ personal touches are often lacking in these restaurants, which are effectively licensed steakhouses. There was a very telling article in 2017 about Wolfgang Puck – a legendary chef and by all accounts a great guy. Puck discounted negative reviews of a new restaurant of his in New York, arguing that for him, the biggest critics were customers. Yet a guy like Puck knows that a majority of customers are automatically going to like the restaurant because his name is on it. In other words there’s a built in advantage and a snowball effect that often leads to places like his being recommended regardless of actual quality. To be sure, some celebrity chef establishments are incredible – but many aren’t worth the hefty prices.

Botanical Gardens

This is to some extent a matter of taste, but it’s almost shocking how many different places around the world have noteworthy botanical gardens. And in a way, that makes them all less noteworthy. If most every major city you travel to includes gardens on lists of things to do, you can quickly get the idea that there are always pretty gardens around, and unless you just happen to be into this (which, to be fair, many people are), they’re not the most unique aspect of most cities. There are exceptions of course, where a city’s botanical gardens are particularly impressive or unique in some particular way, but for the most part you’ll be seeing some pretty plant life that could exist the same way in any other city.

Casinos aren’t everywhere, but a large portion of major cities and popular vacation destinations still have them, and wherever they are they tend to be popular tourist draws. Sometimes the hype is justified and a few hours exploring a casino and playing games can be fun. However, this also tends to be an expensive experience, it can be surprisingly antisocial even if you go with friends, and it’s important to remember you’re there so that the venue can collect as much of your money as possible. Plus, casino experiences are less and less specific to destinations thanks to the meteoric and sustained rise of online casinos, which are now even available on mobile devices. Mobile casinos are now closely mirroring their online counterparts, which basically means you can get everything you’d get at a destination casino in your pocket – more affordably and more conveniently. The real venues just aren’t always worth it.

Royal Residences

Royal residences are by nature only available in a relatively small number of cities – usually either capitals or former capitals. Sometimes they can be breathtakingly beautiful and are well worth touring, as with Versailles in France, for example. Just as often however they can be half-restricted so that you can only tour certain areas, and you’ll basically be looking at ornate chandeliers, old paintings, and antique furniture. It can be interesting, particularly for history buffs, but you’re often better off just checking out a local museum, where you can see just as much interesting stuff at a pace more your own.


Self-Catering house versus Hotel – the Pros and Cons

Some people choose to use self-catering places for holidays and others use hotels. There are advantages and disadvantages to both and it is good thinking through the different factors before deciding which one might be the best for you.


It is usually the case that a hotel will cost more money than self-catering. All types of hotels and self-catering places will vary in price though. If you have a holiday budget then you could probably find a hotel or self-catering place that will fit in it. If the places are too expensive you might be able to stay for less days in order to make it more affordable. You also could consider taking your holiday off season when it will be cheaper. A budget hotel could cost less than a self-catering cottage, but you will have to pay for eating out if you are staying at a hotel. With self-catering you can choose to eat in and save money.


Some people really enjoy cooking and like being able to make healthy meals or meals to their taste and therefore being able to self-cater is ideal. Other are not so keen on cookery and really like the idea of being able to have meals cooked for them. If you are in self-catering, you can eat out of course, but in a hotel, you will have a restaurant that you can eat in and this can be more convenient. You can also have food brought to your room so you do not even have to leave the room if you would rather not. You may want to choose a hotel based on the food that they provide, perhaps a specialist one for vegetarians, healthy food or high quality items. It will depend on your taste and requirements and you will need to see if the hotel will be able to cater for you.


If you have a hotel room, then you are likely to have bed(s), desk, chair, and shower room possibly with a bath. You might also have tea and coffee making facilities and a wardrobe. . You will probably also have a television and wi-fi. In some cases you may get a parking space, but this will depend on the hotel and its location. Some hotels may also have gyms, spas and even swimming pools and so this might be something that you think you will really take advantage of and enjoy. If you have a self-catering place then you are likely to have bed(s) shower or bathroom, tea and coffe making facilities, TV, wi-fi and parking space. Unless you are in a studio apartment, it is likely that you will have a lot more as well. You will probably have cooking facilities, perhaps a microwave and hob or even a full oven. You will have a kitchen sink and may have a dishwasher and washing machine as well. It is likely that you will have a dining table and chairs too. You might have a Cd and/or Blu-ray player, books, games, three piece suite and coffee table too. You may have a garden, private driveway and a number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Some places come with games rooms and swimming pool, sometimes private and sometimes shared pools. Obviously what you get will depend on how much you are prepared to pay, but you are likely to have more space if you have a self-catering place rather than a hotel room.


If you have a hotel room then it is likely that the maids will come in daily and tidy and clean the room for you. This can mean that you will not need to worry about doing any of this. With a self-catering place, you are unlikely to have a housekeeping service, although you may be able to pay extra for it in some circumstances. You will therefore have the choice of keeping it clean and tidy yourself or allowing it to get a messy and dirty during your stay and perhaps not be as comfortable. Some places will ask for it to be left in good condition anyway and expect you to keep good care of the place.


With a hotel, you will have less flexibility with things. You will have to vacate your room during the day so that it can be cleaned and tidied. You will also need to have breakfast at the time that it is served, which could mean that you have to wait to have it later or get up extra early for it. There are the same possibilities with other meals in the day, whether you eat in the hotel or not. If you are self-catering you can choose to eat whenever you like.


There is usually a lot more room in a self-catering home compared to a hotel room. This means that if you want to spread out or family members want o have some of their own space then they will be able to do so more easily. If you have a family hotel room, then you will usually only be able to hang out on your bed in the communal room or in the bathroom but with a self-catering home, you will have more room to find places that you can go to be alone or to have more space. This may be particularly useful for teenagers who sometimes just want to be alone or away from their parents for a while.


Sometimes staying in a hotel can just feel a lot more relaxing. It might be because you do not have to worry about cooking and cleaning or because you have a luxurious bedroom or are in a place where you are made to feel special. Some people can feel equally relaxed in a self-catering home, but this is not always the case and it is worth thinking about whether you will feel more relaxed if you have had a hotel break rather than self-catering. You will know what will feel the best for you.villa photo