Which Major Events Would You Travel To See? Which Would You Avoid?

If I had to guess – and I do have to guess because I have no facts to support what I’m about to say – I would guess that most travelers have booked a trip to a location specifically to attend an event of some sort. Whether that be a convention in Las Vegas, a Super Bowl in New York City, a music festival in Austin, or what have you.

What I would have never guessed is that some people won’t travel to a place unless there is an event of some sort going on in that place.

People like bentsrider, for example:

Lately I’ve been finding myself sitting at home quite often due to nothing going on. I’ll peruse Facebook events postings and even look through newspaper event guides. With nothing really piquing my interest in near of far-away cities, I simply just sigh in disgust and wait around until something interesting to do shows up.


With that in mind, I’m curious to the reasoning of traveling to certain places when an event or a specific festival isn’t going on. I’d never thought I’d say this, but I think general sight-seeing and just going places with no particular goal in mind is boring.

The idea of selecting a destination solely based on event is so completely foreign to me as to have been inconceivable before reading bentsrider’s post. But it leads to a very interesting discussion in which several fellow travelers discuss how and why they choose their destinations – and what role the scheduled occurrences of major events play in their decision-making process.

Some travelers have no use for events, and will even actively avoid them:

I go to many places even though there is no specific event going on. For example, wandering through medieval French villages, sunrise drives in Uganda to see the wildlife, Brugge for the canals, architecture, churches, food and beer, beaches and Buddhist temples in Thailand. Sightseeing can be castles, palaces, ancient sites, gardens. Nope, I don’t need an event. ~Ameriscot

We specifically do not go somewhere IF there is an event taking place, do not like crowds. ~Nodpete

Others take trips that aren’t planned around events, but might attend if they stumble upon one. And for some the serendipitousness of stumbling upon an event makes the experience even more magical than it would have been had it been planned from the start:

We are more inclined to travel for sight seeing and learning about new places. Rarely do we attend events. If we are visiting someplace and there are events we might take part in them but that would not be our main reason for visiting. ~nmnita

I’ve found it’s not that hard to just stumble upon stuff. Got of the bus in Edinburgh, heard bagpipes and suddenly found ourselves watching an annual Scottish-Norwegian friendship parade. And walked into Notre Dame de Paris in the middle of a wedding. (Best wishes Martine et Manuel!) ~beachmouse

And still others fall more into line with bentrider’s approach, if not quite as strictly enforcing of the there-must-be-an-event rule:

There are two types of tourists, the first type is the type that goes some place just to go, the other is the type that goes with an event schedule.


I don’t mind doing either, but I much prefer to do the events, it makes the trip well worth it to me. ~MJ7

I definitely fall squarely in the “events are best when stumbled upon” camp. What camp do you fall in? Do you only take non-business trips to locales that are hosting events?

And are there specific events you would/have traveled exclusively to attend? Any that you actively avoid?

Read the thread in its entirety: Travel just to sight-see, or go to some sort of event?

As an aside, I have to admit that prior to launching this blog I didn’t follow the discussions on the City-Data Travel forums. I stumbled across the community via a link in another travel community one day and am really glad I did. In fact, the City-Data Travel community has rapidly shot up the charts to become one of my favorites.

Just wanted to give a shout out to the good folks who post on the City-Data Travel forums – keep up the great stuff.

Image: “Holi / Festival of Colors 2013” by Steven Gerner. CC BY-SA 2.0. (Is this a fantastic photo or what. I strongly encourage you to click through to see the full-size image in all of its magnificent glory.)


  1. I try to avoid events but I would travel to go to a Marathon (I’m a runner) or a big sporting event like the World Cup, Superbowl, etc. I’ve stumbled upon some odd ones like the Juggalo Festival in Illinois or the Gay Pride Parade in New Orleans by accident.

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