Any time I travel overseas, it is tempting to think about trying to cram in as much as possible into one trip.
It’s at that time grand European tours start to show themselves on my notebook pages, and before I know it, I’m hoping to bang out 10 countries in a month’s time.
And the original plan was to simply spend a few weeks getting to know the city of Madrid on a more personal level.
Short weekend trips are usually not a problem for travel planners. These are generally meant to either be chock full of activity or pure relaxation (aka not moving from the hotel or resort). Longer trips of even just a couple of weeks, however, start to show themselves as possibilities to conquer entire countries in one go, especially if unexpected cheap flights crop up. So what’s better?
See Many Places…
On the one hand, I can completely understand the want to just pop over to that next destination. If this is one of those “once in a lifetime” trips, then you may not have another opportunity to go to that part of the world again. Plus, people will always ask, “But you were right there… why didn’t you go to city or country X?”
The draw of at least being able to see a place (maybe a popular landmark like the Eiffel Tower) and feel the atmosphere can make the cramming option appealing. Some travelers argue that busy trips like this just give them a better idea of places they’d like to spend more time in on future adventures.
Get to Know One Place Well…
On the other hand, I truly believe in getting to know the real city (or country) — the one that operates after the weekend ends and tourists leave in a mass exodus for their normal homes and lives. I strive to understand the city sections that aren’t scribed down in guide books as must-sees.
Take Sydney, for example. Sydney has been my home for going on 3 years, and I am still amazed at how much I am still discovering. From Surry Hills to Haberfield to the Northern Beaches, you simply cannot explore the entire city of Sydney, for what it’s really worth, in a few short days.
To Answer the Question…
It’s really up to personal preference and situations as to which option you choose. Individuals with limited holiday time or funds might choose the cramming option in order to see more while they can, while travel-lovers and frequent fliers may be able to justify immersion in fewer places — yet more over time.
What kind of travel do you prefer?
CC Flickr photo credit: Tamas