Travel Tips and Stories

Friday, November 04, 2005

5 BAD Vacation Destinations and Why You DON'T Want To Go There

We don't plan them, but they do happen, sometimes beyond our control. Some vacations aren't as good as they are made out to be, maybe it's a case of false advertising or maybe as a tourist you are taken advantage of by the locals. If you're planning a road trip, the worst part could be the traffic jams, sometimes left stuck in traffic for hours with no explanation of why traffic was backed up. On top of a traffic jam, maybe you will find that your hotel reservation had expired and was given to the next person in line. Or maybe your luggage arrived from the airport a day or two after you did? In any case, it's hard to pinpoint the worst vacation destinations without taking into consideration all the things that can happen. Most disappointing vacations can usually be prevented.

In order to prevent one bad vacation turning into two, let me give you a list of the top five BAD vacation destinations and why that were rated just that.

1. Many of America's popular vacation destinations are being choked by unhealthy smog levels. Continued exposure to ozone smog is a powerful lung irritant that has a cumulative impact on the body. It's especially dangerous to children, elderly people or those suffering from asthma and other lung diseases.

Although there is no escaping air pollution in most of the United States, you can at least avoid the vacation destinations that have the highest ozone smog in the U.S.: Cape Cod National Sea Shore, Boston, Maine's Acadia National Park, Philadelphia, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Maryland's Eastern Shore, Washington D.C., Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indianapolis, and Lake Michigan, Pennsylvania (including the Amish farmland and the city of Lancaster).

Take this into consideration before traveling to any of these destinations, especially if you are traveling with children, the elderly or those with asthma.

2. When looking at the brochures for the Nickelodeon Family Suites in Orlando, Florida, you may think they look beautiful and fun to stay in. But once you actually get there, expect it to take a few hours away from your vacation time when you are trying to check in. The check-in lines are usually extremely long and by the time you get up to the desk to speak with a desk clerk, your room may not even be ready. Then by the time you get to the room, some appliances are defective and the cleaning service doesn't even dust and may miss cleaning several things. The pool is over crowded with hardly any room to sit and there is no changing room. The pool side bathroom becomes crowded with people trying to change into their bathing suits, for lack of another place to change. I've seen better accommodations at a Motel 6.

3. Intercontinental Hotel and Conference Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Beware: The bed bugs really do bite!

4. New Orleans, Louisiana. Even before the terrible tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has been one of the hottest spots in the country, despite the fact that they have one of the country's highest crime and murder rates.

5. Iraq. Self-explanatory.

You can travel to the most wonderful vacation destination in the world and have things go wrong. It could be poor customer service, mediocre cleaning services, surcharges and creepy crawlies in your bed. Your worst vacation, can be another persons' best and while everything may not run as smoothly as planned, here are a few tips to help you avoid being a victim: Stay away from travel offers that sound too good to be true, especially if you have been solicited by phone or mail. Never give out your credit card or bank account information over the phone unless you initiate the transaction and are confident about the company you are doing business with. Get complete details in writing about your vacation arrangements prior to making a payment. These details should include the total cost, including taxes, service fees, surcharges, port charges; including the terms and conditions, restrictions and cancellation penalties. Walk away from high pressure sales people that won't allow you time to evaluate an offer. Be cautious of companies that require you to wait 60 days to take your trip or require you to select various dates of departure.


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