Why you should go to less touristy parts of a country
Motivation for travel off the beaten path
- More authentic experience. A friend once told me that if you want to truly understand people, you have to live right next to them and walk a day in their shoes. Although I think very highly of large cities, I find that it is much easier to get a ‘local’ experience by getting off the beaten path.
- Less English spoken. Assuming that you are traveling through a country where English is not the national language, you are hopefully trying to pick up a few phrases in a foreign language. Sometimes, this is hard to do in touristy areas. Even if you try hard, people who know English will want to impress you by showing that they can speak in English. This simply isn’t so common in the countryside and small towns. You will have to attempt their language or you won’t get what you want.
- Better food. I know, I know, the street foods of cities are hard to beat. I couldn’t agree more. However, you are not too likely to get a true home cooked meal by hanging out in a city. In a small town, people might even offer to cook for you. You can see what a true meal is like with a traditional family.
- It is cheaper. This point can be hit or miss depending on where you are. Certain goods will inevitably be cheaper in a larger city because of the ‘buying in bulk’ principle. It is more expensive to ship smaller quantities of goods to smaller towns, which drives prices up a little. On the other hand, accommodation and other related things will be cheaper. Imagine comparing Paris to a small town in central France.
- You can avoid long lines. I don’t think that anyone really enjoys waiting in line. Do you? Waiting in a line just comes with the turf if you plan on hanging out in a large city, especially if that city has a large tourist sector. Small towns or lesser known places will not have lines like cities.
- You might see strange things. Okay, define strange Andy… I get you. I don’t mean like really strange things such as zombies, but I mean the more unique things that you just cannot find in cities. Perhaps, this could be land formations or unique terrains. Think Douro Valley in northern Portugal. You wouldn’t see things like that in Lisbon. Additionally, imagine seeing the world’s largest ball of yarn in NYC. Although New York City is definitely unique in of itself, I think the yarn is just a tad more outlandish.
- People are more approachable. It’s true. I think that people who live in cities are used to putting a guard up or having walls around them. If they don’t have a reason to know you, then they won’t. They don’t do this because they are mean; they have just been conditioned to do this because of bad experiences or stories that they have heard about scammers, beggars, and the like. It is much easier to get to know someone in a small town or one that is not overly accustomed to foreigners.
- More challenging. By challenging, I mean that it will test your limits. Getting off the beaten path is not the easiest route. That’s why it is off the beaten path. You are a trail blazer planning your course by yourself, and taking things as they come. You are responsible for your destiny. In my opinion, the challenge of traveling is what makes you grow. At times, your brain may be on overload, but when it is all said and done I dare say that you’ll smile at your accomplishments.
- Better overall experience. Traveling, at least to me, is all about cultural immersion. The idea that you can try to understand someone else’s perspective and learn about other cultures is the greatest reward that anyone could ask for on the road.
What do you think?
Why do you like to get off the beaten path? What do you see as the benefits to taking the road not taken?
**Tags: travel off the beaten path, get off the beaten path**
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