Unpopular Opinion: Underrated Destinations Should Stay that Way

Unpopular Opinion: Underrated Destinations Should Stay that Way

Just because it’s a must-visit doesn’t mean it should be a must-broadcast.

I’m all for discovering and sharing new places to explore — after all, isn’t that what travel is about? Especially when these places are the under-the-radar, hidden gem type of destination. It’s like stumbling upon a buried treasure chest in some fantasy-adventure movie! Sure, it might be easier to follow the crowd (or hashtag) when it comes to planning your itinerary. But if you want a more interesting trip, add a destination that’s off the beaten path, since these actually have particular perks that mainstream destinations could never. 

And yes, it’s totally normal to have mixed feelings about these underrated destinations. You want to tell other people about it, yet at the same time, you can’t help but want to keep it lowkey the way it is.  The obvious reason here is that it’s nice to have a place all (or at least, mostly) to yourself and your travel buddies. But apart from that, here are other reasons why underrated destinations actually should stay that way! 

Also read: Hidden Gems: 20 Under-the-Radar Destinations in Asia To Travel To this 2020

1. They’re deemed underrated for a reason

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Honestly, niche interests are considered niche for a reason. Same goes for underrated destinations. There’s a reason why they’re not every traveller’s cup of tea: because more often than not, they don’t possess most of the qualities that make for a tourists’ favourite destination. (Although, yes, sometimes there are other factors aside from the place not being — for lack of a better term — palatable to everyone.)

2. Fewer people equals less annoyance

To anyone who has ever been to a very touristy place,  you know this is true! And so, perhaps the best thing about underrated destinations is the  smaller crowds. Mainstream places, on the other hand, always have crowds of people who flock  to a certain spot just because it’s Instagrammable. 

For example, don’t you find it rather off-putting when you see people having a photo taken in front of an artwork in a museum — without even bothering to learn about its significance? I mean, sure, we’re all for a ‘you do you’ kind of mindset. But it’s kinda hard to do so with people who take 15 minutes to have their photo taken in front of a Matisse painting that you actually want to appreciate up close. 

3. Quality over quantity

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In relation to my previous point, going to underrated destinations often means interacting with people who appreciate the destination just as much as you do. Or at the very least, are willing to see what’s special about it, minus the hype and influence of mainstream social media platforms.

Only a few things are more comforting than having other people appreciate an underrated destination as much as you do — whether they’re fellow travellers or locals. And who cares if they’re not as many as you’ve hoped for? The fact remains that they like the place as much as you do (perhaps even more) and that you can relate to one another about it! It’s like bonding over a well-kept secret. 

4. It leads to a better appreciation for the place itself

This applies to both locals and travellers of such underrated destinations. Because when there are only  a few of you who know of the place, then most likely you develop a penchant for it. There’s something special about the lowkey-ness of it all. Sure, you might not literally own the place, but it sure does feel like it. 

Think of it as the adult equivalent of having your own treehouse as a kid. Or the top of a hill somewhere in your hometown that you considered your ‘secret hideout’ as a teenager. It’s special to you in a way that other people might not fully understand, even if they tried. And that’s perfectly okay!

5. That said, the travel experience is definitely different

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Thanks to the lack of hype and tourist noise surrounding underrated destinations, they offer a more authentic experience. Especially when you’re going there for the first time! Think of it as seeing the world in a clearer, differently tinted lens. 

When it comes to some underrated destinations, you might even have a hard time finding reliable recos about it online. Though that shouldn’t be a problem because—yay for discovering more about the place on your own! Or at least, with the help of a local tour guide. Either way, most under-the-radar places are refreshing in such a way that they offer insights you wouldn’t have picked up, had it been at a touristy place. 

6. It’s better for the environment!

As far as sustainable tourism goes, fewer people (especially tourists) often mean lesser trash around the place. Especially when it’s a place where locals take good care of their surroundings. Let’s face it — a surge in the popularity of a certain place sometimes means difficulty in maintaining its pristine condition! This is especially true with beaches and mountains in under-the-radar towns that haven’t always been a hotspot for travellers. 

Hence, when underrated destinations remain as such, their lovely, nature-crafted state is preserved. Or at least, has a smaller  chance of being smeared due to an oversaturation of visitors. 

Also read: 12 Habits We Can Quit For More Eco-Friendly Travels

7. Overtourism is a real problem

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From the temporary closure of Indonesia’s Komodo Island (due to the dwindling komodo dragon population) to the rising water levels in Venice (due to increased pollution) — such sad news just makes you want to say, “This is why we can’t have nice things!

If I had a dollar for every once-underrated destination that’s now packed with more tourists than it can handle, I’d probably have enough to buy my own island. Where, yes, I can control who can and cannot visit. 

Kidding aside, curbing tourism has often been a problem for many places. This is especially true for those that have unexpectedly been pushed into the travel spotlight after decades of being “secret”! Hopefully, destinations that remain underrated don’t have to worry about such matters. And let’s pray they never have to! 

Also read: 6 Bad Travel Habits That Are Ruining Your Vacation

So, while it’s totally okay to share with other people the underrated destinations you’ve discovered, I guess it all boils down to not giving it too much exposure online. After all, it’s totally possible to fawn over and appreciate everything about a place, while not having to shout it to the whole world! 

What are some former underrated destinations that you wish remained that way? 

About Author

Marcy Miniano
Marcy Miniano

A fast-talking caffeine-dependent wordsmith, Marcy has never been one to shy away from sharing a good story or two. There’s no denying that storytelling runs in her veins — from penning her first “novel” at age seven, to her initial marketing career with several global lifestyle brands, to going back to her first love that is writing. If she’s not in a quiet coffee shop somewhere, she enjoys spending afternoons in a museum or art gallery — whether it’s around Metro Manila or a foreign city she’s visiting. She wishes to retire in a winter village someday, so she can fulfil her lifelong dream of wearing turtlenecks all year round and owning a pet penguin (or ten).

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