If you’ve kept up with my travels in any way, you may have noticed a pattern. While I visited many different destinations during my year living abroad, there are several cities I’ve frequented more religiously over the years. It’s tempting, for sure, to visit new places. There’s SO much I want to see. Yet, inevitably, I find myself repeatedly booking flights to cities I’m already quite familiar with. Especially in Italy. Especially Rome, where I’ve now been a whopping FOUR times. But also including cities such as London, Paris, Granada, Madrid. It’s not always an easy decision to make, but I do believe you should visit a destination more than once at some point.
Why You Should Visit a Destination More Than Once
1. Share it with loved ones
This is a big one for me, and the reason for much of my repeat travel. When I find a destination I fall in love with, I want all my loved ones to experience it as well. I feel a sense of personal responsibility, needing for them not to miss out on these incredible places. Now, I’m slowly learning this is not always the best reason to repeat a destination. If you really love a place, you may be disappointed to find it doesn’t strike as strong a chord with your favorite people! Take those close to you to your beloved destinations at your own risk, and know it’s also okay to keep some of those places for yourself. Everyone’s tastes are different. What I will say, though, is when your special people “get” your special place the repeat trip is well worth it.
2. Ignite that familiar feeling
In the midst of traveling to new and exciting places, it is perfectly okay to rely on the familiar from time to time. For me, nostalgia is a beautiful feeling made even more perfect once satiated. I often stroll the streets of Rome in my mind, replaying fond memories from each of my trips there, reimagining my favorite meals. Stepping out of the Termini station into bustling yet historic Rome feels like coming home, in a sense, each time.
Having lived in Madrid for a year, I often ache for that life. I miss the street I lived on, the routines I held. Sometimes, you want to eat the food you know will be good and visit the places you know will boost your happy. It’s truly satisfying to slip back into those close comforts and know that I am leaving familiar touch points for myself throughout the world.
3. See more of what you love
Visiting the same destination more than once gives you the opportunity to expand your itinerary! If you’re like me, you’re spending only a few days in each city you visit. But even when I’ve spent longer periods of time in one place, I’ve left feeling there is so much more to see and do. Challenge yourself to try at least one new restaurant, attraction or activity each time you visit the same destination. For me, this meant signing up for a cooking class in Rome and a food tour in Madrid (more on both to come!).
4. See it through new eyes
As familiar as a place may seem, it has likely evolved over time. On my most recent trip back to Madrid, I visited my old neighborhood. I was surprised to find what was once my grocery store had been turned into some sort of Home Depot-esque flower store, my favorite boutique shut down and my favorite frozen yogurt place no more — all this within a span of four blocks! What’s even more likely, is that you have changed over time. You’ve grown, you’ve expanded your mindset through new experiences, you see the world slightly or very differently from before. This sets you up to draw new insights from tried and true destinations.
Earlier this year, I returned to Houston for the first time since I left. When I first moved there, I was straight out of college. I was heartbroken, overworked, unhealthy, careless. Even still, I had fond memories of the city, thanks to the friendships I built while I lived there (and the food, the amazing food!). But the sense of clarity and relief that flooded me when I returned, older and more grounded, gave me new ways to frame the part this city played in shaping me.
Of course, there’s definitely something to be said for visiting new destinations. After all, how would we discover the places we love best without trying them on for size? Personally, I have a large list of countries and cities I would love to visit for the very first time. Until then, I will continue to nurture my love of the places I’ve seen so far.
How about you? Do you agree you should visit a destination more than once, or is that something you actively try to avoid?