Is it right to beat up on places?

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One of America's pre-eminent travel experts recently asked me to participate in his new book, which is all about places people shouldn't go ("1000 Places to Die Before You See," I joked). He wanted a top 10 list--or a bottom 10 list?--of the places I'd never return to. Now, I've been very upfront about places that didn't appeal to me--including Bermuda (though I came around) and, um, Las Vegas (I still regret that post, by the way)--but something about the idea bugged me. At Budget Travel, we generally focus on the positive, mentioning the negative when it's relevant but not going out of our way to kick a substandard place when it's down. (I say "generally" because we did used to do something called The Not List, about truly ridiculous trips, though that was mostly an excuse to trot out our mascot, Bud Travel.) But when asked to give names of actual hotels I hated, I just couldn't do it. I still can't tell if I made the right decision: Was I being weak, or was I being kind? Then again, maybe those attributes aren't mutually exclusive.

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