Woman in a path leading to a tower

How many times have you traveled to a far-off destination to visit a sight, just to find that the crowds there made it impossible to enjoy it? It is quite disappointing when we plan a trip and cannot get the best out of it because everybody wants to go to the same spot at the same time as we as tourists always want the most stellar experiences.
But this does not mean that we should stop travelling or expect less from the destinations we visit. On the contrary, traveling stimulates economic growth and should be encouraged. However, have you ever thought about traveling somewhere closer? More often than not, there are many incredible sites just “around the corner” which have much fewer people visiting. We often think about traveling long distances because “exotic” places always sound more interesting or enticing. But it is as simple as looking to our neighbouring towns, counties, cities, or countries to see that sometimes, we do not have to travel far to be surrounded by beauty.

Look no further

It is easy to forget because we like keeping our eyes on the horizon, but every country is beautiful in its own way. Have you recently visited the quaint village close to your hometown, or gone skiing in the mountains that are just a two hours’ drive away? For example, when planning a trip to Germany, many people first think of Berlin because it is the capital and must have all the excitement to offer. Of course it is an interesting city, but it also very likely to have large crowds as many visitors go to there all the time.

If you look at a smaller city like Trier, on the other hand, you may be surprised to see that it has much to offer in the way of culture and history as well (such as many well-maintained ruins and masterpieces of architecture from Roman and medieval times), but that it receives fewer tourists. If you like the outdoors and being in close contact with nature, it has many breathtaking natural landscapes as well as outside activities like hiking and biking for its visitors. This is, of course, just an example, but it exemplifies how considering a lesser-known destination can be quite beneficial as well.

Staying close to home

In the German language, there exists a term called “Urlaub auf Balkonia”, which translates to “Vacation in Balconyland”. This phrase is usually used when they mean that they are staying home for their vacation and holidays. This is a great phrase to memorise because it is exactly what this article is about: thinking about staying at home, or closer to home, for one’s vacation. Short-distance travel has a lot of advantages, both for your wallet and the environment. Taking a two-hour trip by car will cost you far less than flying across the world in a plane. It will also use up less fuel, which means your carbon footprint is lower. Another example is the support of local markets, restaurants, and shops in general. The more people shop and eat locally, the better for a region’s infrastructure.

Short vs. long trips

Rarely, travellers think about the fact that short vs. long trips have a very different impact on the environment. Usually, when we extend our vacation and spend a long time at a destination, we spend fewer resources per day as we are not trying to cram too many activities into one day. When our vacation is short, we often want to do many more activities in less time.

Long-term stays have other benefits for hotels as well: Cleaning an occupied room is easier than a checked-out room, so it cuts down on some of the expenses and time for the hotel. Also, it reduces the hotel’s costs when it comes to changing and washing their bedding.

All of these examples show you that it is important to choose your destination and the time you spend on vacation wisely. Of course, all kinds of travel can have different advantages and disadvantages for you and the destinations, but for your next vacation, why not consider a place that is closer to home, and spend some quality time there instead of mobilising all of one’s resources to fly to a very far destination for a week and then stressing oneself out over having to do as much as humanly possible in a short amount of time. It is definitely worth a consideration.

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