Those of us who love to travel know that planning a trip abroad, while an exciting task, can be daunting. We all want a vacation that will give us the most memorable experiences, most interesting stories, and best Instagram photos. But how do we achieve all that in the short time allotted for our vacations? Is it best to plan a trip to the most popular destination where everything can be researched and accessed easily? Or maybe venture outside the norm into the more rural and unexplored parts of a country? Both options have their virtues and as someone that has experienced both I’m ready to share my insights.
Most of us, when traveling to another country would choose the largest city, with the most attractions and plan the trip there. This is simple because it is most likely the city we fly into. Also, thanks to the common use of public transportation most major cities, it is easy to leave the airport, find transport to the hotel, and start sightseeing right away. We waste less time traveling and are immediately greeted with the attractions that brought us here in the first place. There are historical sites, museums, restaurants, tours, and performances to take in. Larger cities are known to cater to tourists. As a result, if you are in a country where the native language is not English, many people tend to speak English and are willing to help travelers. With all of these comforts, why would we travel any other way?
Maybe it’s the Libra in me, but for every positive argument I can think of for urban tourism there is an equally great argument for the rural option. While it’s comfortable and easy to travel to a city, you are likely to find a more unique and authentic experience if you hop on a train or rent a car and get out to the country. Not only is this option generally more affordable due to the lack of tourism, but you are gifted with the opportunity to meet locals that genuinely want to share the riches of their country with you. In addition to meeting locals, you are less likely to find yourself waiting in long lines or rushing through crowds of other tourists. And while cities may have the most popular restaurants, you are more likely to find traditional, fresh, home cooked cuisine off the beaten track. If you’re worried about missing some attractions or excitement of the big city, plan ahead. There are always amazing festivals and exhibits going on throughout small towns. Like the water jousting tournaments held in Sete, France at the end of August or the Subotina Festival in Buzet, Croatia where they bake a giant omelette using over 2000 eggs and 10 kg of truffles.
Regardless of where you travel, be it urban or rural or both, as long as you keep an open mind you are sure to make lasting memories.