There are travel destinations that seem to be on everyone's bucket list — sites with amazing world-famous works of art and stunning vistas of natural beauty. However, the expectations of visiting popular destinations don't mesh well with reality. Perhaps you decided to visit these places after seeing them on TV. But what you might forget is, when they're filmed, production teams close the site down for exclusive access without crowds. The problem with a place being popular is they are crowded and often become overpriced tourist traps that can never live up to expectations.


01The Taj Mahal in India

The Taj Mahal is architecturally stunning and an iconic symbol of enduring love. But remember, all those famous photos of a near-empty site with the Taj Mahal alone in the background are one of two things:

  1. Photoshopped to remove the thousands of people who visit each day.
  2. Taken when the site was closed to the public.

In reality, the Unesco World Heritage site is crowded with tourists - up to four million each year. Getting there involves a lot of travel in a remote area or an expensive organized tour. With the added risk of monsoon floods, the Taj Mahal rarely lives up to expectations.

tourist trap B&M Noskowski / Getty Images