I used to be a big fan of city breaks, especially when I lived in Europe and it was possible to simply “go to Paris for the weekend” or “pop up to Berlin”. But these days my number one pick for a destination when I have just a few days or a week for some traveling is to take a nature break, not a city break.
Perhaps you’re ready to look at some countryside breaks instead of city breaks. Here are eight reasons why you might enjoy them more:
#1: Go Somewhere Different
For a start, most travelers come from cities — statistically, most of the population of the world (especially countries where travelers often come from) live in cities. You know all about how cities tick and you spend most of your life in traffic and high buildings. Do something different! You know how they say a change is as good as a holiday — why not have a change and a holiday!
Getting out into nature is healthy. Instead of ambling at a snail’s pace through museum after museum, take a day-long hike through somewhere new and scenic.
A dose of fresh air is a wonderful thing and something you often can’t enjoy when you’re stuck in your hometown working or studying. The exercise you get will help you sleep particularly well and you won’t come home from vacation with a bigger waistline (perhaps the opposite!).
#3: Nature Is Refreshing
You’ll feel more refreshed from enjoying natural scenery than from being amongst the noise of a city — experts promise this!
For example, research shows that children with attention or behavioral problems are often happier and more focused if they spend time in nature — and the basic principle of this surely applies to all of us.
I know from my experience that I feel really positive and happy if I have the chance to get out into nature, stop to look over an awesome mountain view, or go for a walk through the forest. It definitely lifts my mood!
It’s often cheaper to spend time in a quieter area staying in a small town or out in the country compared to paying for accommodation in a city. It’s still easy to use budget airlines to fly city-to-city but you can head straight out of the city to a more rural or national park area and avoid the higher costs of accommodation and meals in the cities.
Admittedly I’ve come across a few exceptions to this, such as in national park areas where there is just one shop to buy supplies and the captive market nature of it makes it pricier. But in general it still holds true. You are also less likely to spend time shopping, and that’ll surely help your budget out!
#5: Snap Prettier Photos
Taking great photographs is a lot easier when you’re out in nature than when you’re in the city. Wide, impressive landscapes are just a snap away, and you’ll worry a lot less about strangers getting in the way of your picture or whether or not you’re allowed to take photographs at the exhibition you’re in.
Out in the wild, so to speak, it’s all yours, and taking home some images of the beautiful landscapes you’ved visited gives you something to remind you of a happy trip when you’re back in the hustle and bustle of normal life.
#6: Go Off the Beaten Track
I’m a big fan of traveling to the slightly-less-famous places when I’m on the road. I still like to hit key tourist sights, but it’s usually the off-the-beaten-path places that I enjoy most. Perhaps because I don’t really know what to expect, and definitely because they tend to be less busy and crowded.
Do some research about places where urban-dwelling locals go for a weekend break. Head there instead of hanging out in their city and you will probably get to know the culture and people of the area a whole lot better.
The internet has become so powerful these days that I sometimes start to wonder what the point is of traveling!
For example, if I’m planning to visit a famous art gallery in a big city, I can usually go online and find so much information about the gallery — to the point of looking through catalogues of all the works displayed there, reading the background stories artists and paintings, even see the menu for the art gallery’s cafe — that when I get there, I kind of feel like I’ve been before.
But if instead you get out into a national park or some kind of wilderness, it’s much less documented and more of a hands-on experience — something new to see and enjoy.
#8: You Can Travel Slower
Travel-lovers like me are often guilty of trying to pack so much into our available vacation time that we rush through our holidays without taking a breath. This is especially true if you’re staying in a big city with lots of museums, galleries and other tourist attractions to see.
However, out in the countryside, there’s likely to be fewer tourist spots and you can take your time to enjoy what you want to see without feeling that you have to rush off to the next attraction.
If I still haven’t convinced you, at least let me persuade you to try my strategy in a half-hearted way. Next time you book a city break, spend at least half the time out of the city in some kind of natural setting. You might be surprised how little you miss the city!