Over the summer, my wife and I traveled with our two young kids on a two-week vacation through Europe.
It wasn’t as highfalutin as it sounds. In London, our Airbnb had ample skylights — which rendered the place all but uninhabitable during Europe’s heat wave. In Paris, our charming home-share had a cavernous hole in the ceiling of the entryway, revealing load-bearing beams that appeared to have been rotting since Napoleon’s reign. And in Amsterdam, our Airbnb advertised a kids’ bedroom stocked with toys — but failed to mention the mosquitoes and mice.
But my tech-abetted trip was illuminating, too, because it provided a firsthand look into a vexing problem that has gripped much of Europe lately — the worry of “overtourism,” and the rising chorus that blames technologies like Airbnb, Uber and other internet-enabled travel conveniences for the menace.