While I’ve been doing a weekend virtual travel series these last couple of months, I’ve really realised how much I love revisiting places I’ve already been to. Although I’m usually a huge advocate for never holidaying at the same place, I mean this more when it comes to a ‘main holiday’ of the year. Most of us have a ‘main summer holiday’, and for those I do prefer to go somewhere new. As much as I adored Sorrento, I wouldn’t be rushing back so soon. There’s a lot of world to see and new places, cultures, food and experiences are invaluable, especially these days. But while I’ve been resharing my past trips on instagram, when it comes to city breaks certainly I’m all for revisiting, and here’s my thoughts on why you should revisit places you’ve already travelled to.
You can’t possibly do everything the first time, or the second or third.
Most people start with the typical tourist sights, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s usually those things that attract people to cities or locations in the first place, because they mean something, are significant and are actually worth visiting.
It’s only in recent years that I think tourist sights have begun to be seen as more cliche, as people ‘do it for the gram’. I don’t agree with that type of culture or way of sight seeing, but I do think there’s always a reason why tourist sights are popular.
In some places there are so many that visiting them can take up a whole trip, if not more (New York for example), so further visits will allow you to experience things beyond the famous sights and landmarks and away from the tourist traps.
To discover and find the hidden gems.
Discovering the things we don’t even know are there will take a bit more time and effort to find. It might be because you’ve struck up conversation with a local and been given a recommendation, or because of this we tend to put them off, especially if they aren’t easy to get to or require day trips from city centres.
I think people often favour seeing more in one go than seeing things that require more effort especially if it means putting more time into it. Hidden gems are called that for a reason, and with tourist sights out the way on previous trips then return visits to places free up more time to dedicate to them. It’s only going to make you learn more about a place.
It’s more relaxing.
For similar reasons to above I think return trips are more relaxing, because there’s less pressure to see everything if you already have. The pace is a lot slower, and you don’t feel like you need to rush about. My favourite parts of any trip are sitting with a coffee or glass of wine and enjoying the view or people watching, and it’s a lot easier to do that when you go back to places.
Similarly you can look forward to a break In different ways when you know what you’re going to, and you already know how much fun you will have. Or how good the food is!
You can stay in different types of accommodation.
Where you stay can massively affect your experience of a place, and I think cities like Paris or Amsterdam are the best example of this. Of course cost is a factor, but putting that aside there’s naturally a difference between chain type hotels, quirky accommodation or boutique hotels to name a few.
My first experience of Amsterdam was in a chain hotel, in the centre. While it had good transport connections, my second visit was much more authentic, in a converted canal warehouse. On other visits I’ve stayed in everything from cheap and cheerful, to luxury 5 star hotels depending on who I’m with and the purpose of the trip. In future I’d love to stay on a houseboat, or in an Air Bnb apartment.
An obvious one but places really do change and develop with everything from new restaurants and bars, to up and coming districts, and new developments. What you may remember from a long time ago could still be there, which obviously brings back fond memories, but repeat visits give you an opportunity to make new memories, or share old ones with new people.
You will have different perspectives
Naturally as we grow older and gain life experience our perspectives change, and this can drastically alter how we experience a place. What may have been important on past trips may no longer be the case, priorities may have changed for what you want to get out of travel, and where you are personally can all shape your perspective.
There are places I visit when I wasn’t the happiest, or that I associate with negative times in my life and going back to those places gives you the opportunity to redo your experience.
Different people mean different experiences
Who you are with is one of the biggest things I think that can make or break a place. You can visit the same place with family, friends, a partner, an ex, and have a completely different experience with all of them. This isn’t a negative either, but more of a chance to do new things.
There are certain restaurants and bars I would go to in some cities with the girls that I wouldn’t take Kieran, and vice versa. Visiting places with different people isn’t a bad thing, it just broadens the scope of what you can see and do there.
Different seasons offer different trips
This one definitely applies to cities, and the one that springs to my mind first is Oslo. A city that is completely different in summer to winter, to the total extremes. In winter it’s gorgeous covered in snow, absolutely freezing and obviously huge on winter sports. I couldn’t believe it was the same place when I went in summer it was so different.
Places with clear seasons naturally bring about a vast spectrum of activities, scenery and experiences to enjoy, despite being the same location.
You know what you’re getting into
Travel anxiety is a real thing for some people, and there are aspects of travel that can be really stressful. The familiar can be very comforting for some, and takes away a big bulk of worries and stresses that come with being in a new place.
Having visit some cities so many times over the last ten years, I really feel at home in some of them. Having knowledge of local transport systems, safe neighbourhoods and streets, where to get the best coffee…may seem like really small things but they become second nature and do have an impact on your holiday in a positive way.
When I’ve been thinking of the first place I’ll book again, it’s always been somewhere I’ve already been.
Are you dreaming of revisiting places you’ve travelled to before, or going somewhere new when we can travel again worry free?
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