The Big Question in Travel: Deciding How Long to Stay

In the world of travel, it seems like there are usually two different camps to which serious travellers belong: ones that go, go, go to check off places on their list, and others who would rather spend more time in one place than rush off to the next. While each traveller is different, has different preferences and goals, and experiences different circumstances on each trip, it’s safe to say that any real traveller would generally pick one travel style over the other. But, which one is better (if either)?

Generally speaking, how can you decide how long to stay in a place? First, the answer is up to YOU – or, at least it should be. Second, here are things that you can think about as you decide whether or not to stay in a place for a little while longer, or move on to the next one.

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1. How big is your destination? Can you see it in a day, or would it take longer to experience?

For example, travelling to a country like Luxembourg, in all its smallness and cuteness, can be seen pretty thoroughly in a few days. A country like France, on the other hand, has more geographic territory to cover, so one should plan to stay there a bit longer. Especially since each region of the country has a little bit of its own to offer. Space, style, culture, transport means and how important a place is to experience – these are all things that you should consider.

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2. How important are the culture and sights to you?

Has it been your childhood dream to visit the Great Wall of China? How about Big Ben? If so, then it may be smart to dedicate more time to places that you’ve always wanted to visit. Others that are beautiful and enjoyable, but don’t hold nearly as much personal or cultural significance to you, may warrant less time.

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3. If you had infinite time and resources, how long would you stay?

An important consideration is, of course, money. The resources you have can ultimately decide how long you stay in a place. But, imagine that you had unlimited resources: Where would you stay, and for how long? Are you just leaving out of necessity due to limited resources? If so, perhaps it’s worthwhile to consider staying longer and not travelling to other places that are less important. After all, you don’t ever want to regret leaving before you were really ready. (Obviously, visa constraints aside.)

4. Will you have the opportunity to return one day?

A major factor that you should consider is whether you’ll be able to return one day or not. While none of us know the future, generally speaking some places are much easier to travel to than others. If there’s a part of you that thinks you won’t be able to return, then consider whether or not it’s best to stay longer at present. This could be your only opportunity to really experience the culture, so make the most of it.

Photo via Flickr

Ultimately, the decision to stay for a while or to leave after just a quick visit is yours alone. Get to know your priorities, your passions, and the opportunities that await you. Happy travels!

How do you decide how long to visit a place? Please share your insider travel knowledge with us in the comments!

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