On our podcast, we’re always encouraging listeners to get off the beaten path and “discover” places the tourists miss. Today, I’m changing my tune and telling you why you SHOULD follow the crowd.
That’s right, make a bee line for the Ring of Kerry, plant your lips firmly on the Blarney Stone, queue up for the Book of Kells, throw back some mead at a Medieval banquet, jump aboard Dublin’s Viking Splash tour, hop like Q-bert on the Giants Causeway, scavenge Galway for the perfect knit sweater! It’s okay… I promise.
- There’s a Reason They’re So Popular – Before the Cliffs of Moher put up a visitor centre and safety barricades… before Lady’s View had a gift shop… before Fungie the Dolphin splashed in Dingle Bay, visitors were drawn to these locations. That’s the case with most of Ireland’s most popular attractions. Beyond the commercial distractions that may surround them, you will likely find something that has stood the test of time and worthy of capturing your attention.
- They’re Easy to Get To – As much as we love a good adventure story, every leg of your itinerary can’t require a complicated or expensive transportation plan. Popular destinations tend to be near main roads, train depots, and bus stops; plus, day and package tours often include them in their all-in-one itineraries.
- It’s Tradition – Generations of families have kissed the Blarney Stone, sipped Guinness in a pub, and toured Killarney in a horse-drawn jarvey. It’s the people you share your experiences and memories with that matter, so let these popular places serve as a place to connect with friends and family.
- More Tourists = More Choices – While the downside to crowds can include long lines and diminished experiences, often an area’s popularity equates to more options for accommodations, food, shopping, and access to nearby sites. And while tourist areas are often criticized for high prices, in some instances, the competition can result in a wider range of price options.
- There’s More Nearby – For every major destination, there are hundreds of lesser-known sites nearby. By simply leaving a bit of time in your itinerary to “uncover” the places that don’t make the Top Ten lists, you will be rewarded with a string of extra finds to add to your trip report.
- There Are Deals to Be Had – As Ireland’s tourism sector bounces back from tough economic times, bargains are popping up from tour operators, hotels, and visitor attractions. It’s no surprise that the most popular tourist destinations are first in line to lure customers with lower rates and extra amenities.
- It’s Your Holiday – Your trip is what you make of it. No matter where you go or what you do, your experiences are your own. Embrace that, and make your dream trip happen… and the more tourist hot spots you include, the more leprechaun salt and pepper shakers you’ll have to choose from
This post was inspired by JoAnna Haugen’s 9 Reasons Why It’s Okay to Stay On the Beaten Path.