Travel Pro Samantha Brown's Clever Tip To Avoid 'Overrated' Tourist Traps

Emmy-winning PBS television host Samantha Brown has been at the helm of "Samantha Brown's Places to Love" since the show's first season in 2018. In the show, she takes viewers to places throughout her home country of the United States, as well as all over the world. She shares travel tips that she has learned throughout her long career, and tells stories of some less-than-picture-perfect moments she has experienced, like when she chased after a plane right on the tarmac!

When it comes to visiting places that some may call overrated or filled with tourist traps, Brown has tips for this, too. She says to get out of the flow of foot traffic, which means going off the beaten path. "Even in the most overrated places, if you approach it differently, turning right as opposed to left, then you've got a very different experience," she told Wonderlust. However, Brown believes that you do not need to go far away from these potentially overrated tourist spots to get a better experience.

When visiting major tourist cities, go where locals live

Tourism is a major industry in multiple places around the world. Places like Paris, France, and Bali see millions of tourists per year. While trips to these gorgeous destinations are warranted, the travel industry takes advantage of tourists. Think expensive drinks at any bar on the Las Vegas strip or inaccurate currency exchange booths. Tourist traps can make a place feel overrated, or even inauthentic.

Samantha Brown's tips to avoid overrated tourist traps and scams relate to her desire for authenticity wherever she goes and uses the commonly crowded cafes at Saint Mark's Square in Venice as an example. "Sitting in one of those cafes and paying $10 for a crappy cappuccino and you can't even use the bathroom, that's overrated to me. But if you go 10 minutes in any direction to where people live, you're going to find a much more authentic, more laid back experience," she added to Wonderlust. Saint Mark's Square also frequently sees street vendors who are not afraid to approach tourists, making a visit to this beautiful but busy square a bit hectic.

Keep authenticity in mind wherever you go

To get away from busy hotspots, Samantha Brown likes to immerse herself on foot without looking at online reviews, as they often do not come from locals. "Just go down the streets because you think they look good," she explained on her website. Walking without a specific destination takes you to "where people actually live and not necessarily to the tourist squares."

Brown also finds that what is overrated or not comes down to the traveler's approach. "Overrated to me means you're just spending way too much time doing super touristy stuff," she stated to Wonderlust. "It's more of an approach to travel that I feel is really overrated, as opposed to a certain place. I think maybe every place could be overrated if the approach was not authentic." She elaborated on such authenticity when speaking to CBS Boston, conveying that it means being "less of a consumer and more part of the community." This is why she likes to focus on the people residing in each destination rather than the location's major tourist attractions.