When it’s time to book a vacation, many people are turning to travel agents to help them get to their destination. Travel agents can handle everything from the flights, to the hotels and to the events and things a tourist will do while on vacation. They know the sights to see, the places to go and the most famous things that are must-sees on a trip to an exotic land. However, a tourist would be wise to take a closer look at some of the world’s most famous places and not trust entirely the image the travel agent is painting for them, or for that matter, showing them.
Some places photograph extremely well and are made up to look amazing, but a tourist will miss all the things they would rather avoid, such as crowded areas, long lines, people bumping shoulders, trash, noise and a lot of time waiting around. That’s not what a travel agent's picture will tell anyone, but rather, their picture is more aimed to sell travelers on going to that destination, even if it's not what they would have wanted.
So here are 12 places that people visit for vacation or in their travels and how they look when a travel agent shows a photo of them. And we're also going to show those same 12 places, but with a little bit of unhidden truth about them that may make any tourist rethink their plans.
24 Travel Agent: Central Park
Central Park covers 843 acres OF New York City, specifically Manhattan, and is one of the most iconic parts of the city. It’s a special place where a tourist can get away from the hustle and busy city streets of the Big Apple and take a stroll through the trees and paths or lay on a blanket for a picnic.
In travel agent photos, the beautiful park has the backdrop of the city skyline, making it a breathtaking photo of both nature and man-made skyscrapers.
23 Reality: Central Park
Central Park is the fifth-largest park in New York, but is the most visited urban park in the United States, with over 25 million visitors each year.
That means a whole lot of people are visiting the park.
There are plenty of great spaces in the park, including the Great Lawn, and there are plenty of events to visit, including theatre groups, orchestras, ice skating in the winter and the Central Park Zoo, so people do come out in numbers, so it may not be the laid back day anyone was thinking after all.
22 Travel Agent: Trevi Fountain In Rome, Italy
The Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and one of the world’s most famous fountains. The Palazzo Poli Palace forms the backdrop for the fountain that sits at the junction of three roads.
It’s an amazing sculpture that took four different sculptors to design and with the Palace backdrop, it’s easy to see why a travel agent would send this stunning photo of the fountain in a package to help sell Rome as a destination. As if it needed a push with all the history anyway.
21 Reality: Trevi Fountain In Rome, Italy
Visiting the fountain is free, and that makes it a high-traffic area where there are a lot of people all looking to get that perfect picture.
Good luck trying to take one like the travel agent photo, as with thousands visiting a day, the three-way junction gets crowded quickly.
Interesting enough, the fountain is extremely profitable, as according to Business Insider, tourists tossed in $1.5 million in 2016 alone. Of course, they are helped by the movie ‘Three Coins in the Fountain’ which featured the Trevi Fountain and has helped keep the coins flowing.
20 Travel Agent: Santorini Island, Greece
What a picture-perfect scene of Greece, with the stunning color of the houses, blue water, and the white stone stairways that make everything just pop. Straight out of a travel brochure, and exactly what your travel agent wants to sell you on a trip to Greece.
The food, the history, the architecture, everything anyone could ever want from a dream vacation is in Greece, with great coastlines and a volcano, the Santorini Island, according to discovergreece.com it is one of the most beautiful islands in the world, loved by poets and painters.
19 Reality: Santorini Island, Greece
Sometimes, pictures can be photoshopped, and the colors of Greece that pop out in the travel agent's photos may not be so bright in person. That doesn’t take away from how amazing Greece is, but travel agent's photos do get a little touch-up to make them look even better.
And then don’t forget the people that obviously want to see what all the poets and painters are taking and drawing about.
According to The Guardian, millions flock to the Greece island for the views, and it’s not making the locals happy, as two million people visit per year to see the sunsets that are legendary.
18 Travel Agent: Relaxing On The Beaches Of the Maldives
The classic beach photo of the Maldives, crystal blue waters, sunny skies, not a person in sight and just a lounge chair and the waves. It’s the perfect picture for a beach getaway and the one that every travel agent is going to show their clients who are asking for a beach vacation.
The nation in the Indian Ocean offers plenty of coastline and great temperatures, making it a constant suggestion for travel agents. The average temperature is around the high 20s, so it’s always a great place to lay out on the sand.
17 Reality: Relaxing On The Beaches Of Maldives
There could, however, be something in the sand, as plenty of people flock to the island nation to use their beaches.
According to the Maldives Times, over 1.7 million people visited Maldives in 2017 alone, and with them comes plenty of trash.
In fact, it’s become a bit of a problem for them and something they have had to address, as they want their sands to stay white, and the water to stay nice and blue. A bunch of litter on the ground doesn’t make for a good travel photo, so be mindful of what is being passed off as a picture of perfection.
16 Travel Agent: Gondola Ride In Venice, Italy
We’ve all seen the romantic pictures of two people riding down the city rivers in Venice in what may be the most cliché romantic thing to do while in Italy. Travel agents will show this stunning trip with this shot of a couple and their Captain, with a great view of the city from the water, enjoying an evening boat ride. If anyone is visiting Venice, they should consider doing this activity. It can be expensive, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing to do.
15 Reality: Gondola Ride In Venice, Italy
No one is alone. And it’s not just the captain paddling the couple down the river, but rather the small traffic jam of other gondola’s that are also making their way down the river.
There are approximately 400 licensed gondoliers, with just as many boats, which is actually down from the thousands that used to use the rivers.
And according to europeforvisitors.com, it can cost upwards of $100 Euros for a 40 minute ride, so the cost can be quite high for a short ride.
14 Travel Agent: The Mona Lisa At The Louvre
Paris, France is home to one of the most famous museums in the world, the Louvre, and in that museum is one of the world’s most famous paintings, the Mona Lisa. The portrait by Leonardo da Vinci is often called the best-known piece of art in the world and it holds the record for being the highest known insurance valuation in history at $800 million.
It has been on display in the Louvre since 1797, so if anyone is taking a trip to Paris, a visit to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa must be on the schedule.
13 Reality: The Mona Lisa At The Louvre
When the world’s most famous painting is hanging in your museum, plenty of people are going to want to see it, and it’s estimated by teachkidsart.com that over six million people per year see the Mona Lisa at The Louvre, making it very hard to get a close look at the painting.
When someone thinks of an art gallery, they think of quietness and having time to look at each painting and see exactly how the artist painted it.
But with the Mona Lisa, lineups are common and trying to get a clear picture of it can be difficult with plenty of people crowding around.
12 Travel Agent: Leaning Tower Of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is an interesting landmark in Italy, and is famous because of its flaw that has the tower leaning to one side. Most people who visit the tower take one of the cliché photo options that tourists always seem to take, with the classic one being holding the tower up with their hands or leaning up beside it.
Travel agents may show a photo like that of someone performing that pose with the tower, offering an option for a getaway in Italy to the famous tower, but usually it's just a gorgeous photo like the one above.
11 Reality: Leaning Tower Of Pisa
Sure, any tourist could take that cliché photo with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, just as long as they can find a space to do it without the rest of the people trying to get the same photo standing in the way.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa gets over a million tourists a year according to thewondersoftheworld.com, but others have said that Pisa itself doesn’t have much else to offer and the trip really on consists of seeing the tower, which makes it a crowded tourist attraction.
10 Travel Agent: The Great Wall Of China
The Great Wall of China is one of the most amazing Wonders of the world and it is so large that it is visible from space.
Most photos of the Great Wall showcase the long walkways, totally open to view, going up and down the hills in China on sunny days.
China is full of plenty of history and culture and the story behind the Great Wall is simply amazing, so any travel agent would push for a trip to see the Great Wall at least once in a lifetime.
9 Reality: The Great Wall Of China
What travel agents don’t tell tourist is that China is the most populated country in the world, which anyone could find just by looking up facts on the country. And with that many people and plenty of tourists, the Great Wall of China is extremely crowded with people shoulder to shoulder.
It’s like a wave of people walking the wall, taking in the history, a lot different than that picture-perfect scene with not a single person walking on the wall. According to ChinaTravellers.com, 10 million people visit the Great Wall each year.
8 Travel Agent: The Eiffel Tower
Another one of Paris’ icons is the Eiffel Tower, which has been the symbol of Paris for generations. The Eiffel Tower was originally built as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, and has turned into one of the most recognizable structures in the world.
Plenty of couples ask travel agents to book a trip to the romantic city and more than a fair share of people have asked the big question in the city of lights. With three levels, there is plenty to see from it for visits, so no wonder it’s such an amazing attraction.
7 Reality: The Eiffel Tower
While your travel agent might not show you the crowds around the Eiffel Tower, photos such as this one, where people gather at the Tower exist, showing that it can be a very crowded place, especially for celebrations and holidays.
It’s Paris after all, one of the most sought-after destinations in the world for travelers to go to.
According to livescience.com, over seven million people visit the iconic tower each year, which has become the centerpiece of the Paris cityscape. So, book time wisely to avoid massive crowds.
6 Travel Agent: Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is breathtaking, and it deserves to be on the list of the wonders of the world. The ivory-white marble mausoleum was built as a tomb for the emperor’s favorite wife. Not bad for a gift!
And it’s an amazing structure that looks great in pictures such as this one, full of vibrant colors. It is a place any travel agent would want to send their clients for a truly remarkable vacation. India has plenty of great culture and food and the Taj Mahal would be an amazing stop on that journey.
5 Reality: Taj Mahal
India is also one of the most populated countries in the world and millions of people travel to tour the Taj Mahal each year. According to smithsonianmag.com, on busy days, over 70,000 people go through the Taj Mahal, yet in the travel agent's photo, there isn’t a person in sight.
In fact, to try and limit how many people go to it, the Indian government is limiting the locals to just 40,000 a day, while tourists who pay won’t be capped. So remember that when visiting, thousands of other people are going to be there at the same time.