I’ve done it too, had a few days or weeks off and figured that jamming every city I wanted to see into that time frame was the best way to make the most of my travels. I did end up seeing a lot in a short period of time this way, but I found myself wondering if that restaurant or statue or street was in this city, or that other one.
After I started slowing down I noticed I really got the feel of a place in a way I hadn’t before. I noticed things, did things, and really knew if I l connected with a place by the time I left. Now I prefer traveling this way, and recommend this strategy to other travelers.
Here are some reasons to stay put:
1. When you hop around too much, you end up spending more time in train stations, at bus stops, or inside airport terminals than lazing about the actual place.
2. You’ll actually remember the city. When you take a few days and stay you’ll have a real impression, not just a fleeting memory.
3. When you have deadlines, each day has to be scheduled, watches checked every so often, so that events, tours, and ‘must-do’s’ get crammed into an unnatural time frame. Spontaneity may be forced to take a backseat.
4. Being somewhere on a weekday is often vastly different than being there on a weekend. In many regions of Spain, for example, nearly everything is closed on Sunday giving the city a totally different feeling. The same can be said of morning, noon, and night.
5. You’ll have the chance to return to establishments if you liked them, or try something new, not just dinner and a hostel breakfast on-the-way and on-the-go.
6. You’ll have time to interact with some of the locals. This can give you a true sense of a place, why things move fast or slow, and the opportunity to be spontaneous with new acquaintances! When you have the time, you are better able to go with the flow, and let the city show itself to you instead of forcing it.
7. Some cities have such distinct neighborhoods within their vast network that you could spend a week and still not see each ‘mini city’.
8. You won’t have to lug your stuff! Find a place to sleep and ditch your stuff and gallivant around.
Whether you linger around or stay just long enough to use the bathroom, getting out there is the key to starting an adventure. Bon Voyage!