Last Updated on January 7, 2020
Cheap air flight tickets have made the whole world available to us, and even though traveling is such an enriching experience that everyone should go through, human presence in some places has come to destroy the very things that made those places so special, to begin with.
Instagram culture has us chasing the perfect picture of all those beautiful travel destinations – but is it worth it if it ends up promoting mass tourism and destroying those amazing places? Here are 10 places to see before you die (but with your eyes instead of through your camera).
#1 – Big Major Cay Island, Bahamas
The Bahamas is one of those beautiful destinations everyone wants to visit, and the Big Major Cay Island is particularly awesome because it’s the home for the swimming pigs of the Bahamas.
But tourists turned those good-natured animals into touristic attractions, and this became a danger to the pigs – they were being fed by people and ended up ingesting a lot of sand; some of them even died.
And there was an awful effort of trying to monetize from these animals – so if you visit this island, respect the animals that live there and don’t look at them as entertainment.
#2 – Lake Elsinore, California
You can probably get cheap vacation packages to California, and it’s worth the while to visit this sunny part of the USA. But this year, a mountain near this small town in California was hit by a super bloom of wildflowers, and with it, a mass of people came along, with their selfie sticks.
The town was not ready for this many people to show up, and this ended up being a nightmare to the people of Lake Elsinore. Packing tips? Wherever you go, take your common sense with you.
#3 – Maya Bay, Thailand
Thailand is at the top of many peoples’ lists of places to visit before you die, but if people don’t start being mindful when visiting, there is going to be extensive damage to the environment, and heaven on earth as we know it will completely vanish.
It was exactly what happened to Maya Bay, but fortunately, the government took measurements and they closed it, in order to give it time to recover.
#4 – Pedra do Telégrafo, Brazil
©Rio Free Walking Tours
Brazil is a wonderful country, filled with many natural wonders that make the country fit into the category of amazing paradise. It is also one of the countries where you can do online travel booking and find cheap hotel rooms.
And this is simply cliché, but at Pedra do Telégrafo, if you take a picture from a certain angle, it will look like you are dangling. There is no particular reason for you to not take a picture here, except for the fact that no one is fooled by that illusion anymore.
#5 – Rio de Janeiro’s Rocina favela, Brazil
Favelas in Brazil are the places that are most neglected by the government, pilling people over each other in poor conditions.
But, somehow, after being featured in video games, tourists seem to be attracted to this concept of living, almost as if they were glamorizing poverty. Is it ethical? We are not sure, but if it was done within reason, it could be a resourceful way for the people who live there to make money.
#6 – Angkor Wat, Cambodia
©Town & Country Magazine
If you have free time after your hotel checkout time and decide you want to go visit Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, remember to be mindful.
For you, it might just be a pretty building, but for some people, it holds immense significance in symbolic terms that you should respect.
#7 – Horseshoe Bend, Arizona
Travel insurance is always a good idea, but especially when you are visiting a place that can be considered dangerous. Horseshoe Bend is a glorious structure, and even though some of it is protected by railways, other parts are not.
There is no need to go into the unprotected parts just to get an amazing shot when that might cost you your life – on average, 12 people die on the Grand Canyon each year.
#8 – Santorini, Greece
If you are roaming through websites to book hotel rooms, you will probably see suggestions to go to Santorini. The iconic Greek island has become a touristic attraction due to the typical white and blue buildings, and everyone wants a picture – you don’t even need a caption to let people know where you are.
But this kind of gentrification is making it impossible for locals to live there, and it is something that we need to take into consideration – are all all-inclusive vacations being harmful to the people who live in the places we want to visit?
#9 – Grand Mosque, United Arab Emirates
©Vincent Loy’s Online Journal
Architecturally speaking, this is also one of those beautiful places to see before you die, but when visiting, you need to keep in mind this is a place of faith.
Respect people’s religion, even if that means you will have to dress in a specific way to enter this temple. We all have different conceptions of the world, but if we all care enough to respect each other, the world will be a better place.
#10 – Holocaust Memorial, Berlin
World War II wasn’t even that long ago, and the holocaust is a part of the world’s collective memory that still speaks to us in a whole different level.
Going to a place that is supposed to be a memorial just “for leisure” is not fair to that collective memory and it is not fair to what the monument represents. If you want to go there to pay your respects, go. If you want to go there to take a selfie, stay at home.