What destinations are at the top of your personal bucket list? Are they the usual places— Venice, Barcelona, Tulum, Bali—or somewhere a little more off the beaten track? More and more, tourists are opting to stay away from popular destinations and head to places that are less discovered. Here are six reasons why we suggest that you travel off the beaten path.

To counteract to over-tourism

Over-tourism is becoming a huge problem all around the world, with many popular destinations struggling to cope with the number of tourists that are visiting. Some locations are struggling, as their infrastructure can’t keep up with the amount of visitors, while others have had to close popular natural attractions to protect the environment. If more of us choose to travel off the beaten track, we’re helping these destinations to recover while discovering new and interesting places.

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When you visit a popular location that expects plenty of tourists, you will have to spend more money on accommodation, dining out and local attractions than if you visit somewhere less popular. If the demand is there, the prices will shoot up. If you have your heart set on visiting a particular place, do some research to see if there is a less popular option nearby that you can make your base. This way you can save money on accommodation but still make a day trip if you wish.

Less competition for accommodation

If you travel off the beaten path, not only will accommodation be cheaper but you’ll also have less competition when booking. If you’re visiting a popular place, you will likely have to book months in advance to secure your perfect place to stay. For a destination that is less popular with tourists, you are likely to have more time to book and more choices.

No crowds

If you’re looking for peace and quiet on your travels, stay well clear of busy destinations where the beaches will be packed and you’ll have to queue for a table in the best restaurants. Step off the beaten track and find secluded beaches, untrodden paths and a whole host of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered—without the crowds.

You’ll have a more authentic experience

Wherever you are visiting, if you head to the tourist hotspots you are likely to find chain hotels and restaurants and a crowd of predominantly fellow travellers. If you’re seeking a more authentic travel experience and want to get a real taste of the local culture, you should step off the beaten track and visit less touristy destinations.

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You’ll meet the locals

If you want to talk to local people and get a real flavour of local life, step away from the more popular tourist destinations. People living in places struggling with over-tourism aren’t likely to be welcoming visitors with open arms, but if you visit someplace that doesn’t receive many visitors you are more likely to make friends with those living there.

Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.