Every time I’ve booked a trip to a city I’ve already been to (usually under the persuasion of a friend who desperately wants to go there), I’ve ummed and ahed about it for quite some time before committing.
I worry that my travel budget and precious annual leave could be better spent exploring a new city or country I’ve never been to before, particularly considering the costs of revisiting expensive tourist
traps attractions which I’ve already ticked off.
But I’ve never once regretted revisiting a destination, and these trips actually tend to turn out much more memorable.
Here are 7 reasons why you should revisit cities you’ve already been to.
1. It’s impossible to see everything in one trip
Even if you’ve lived in a city for a few years, more will remain to be explored and an obvious reason why you should revisit cities is that you get a chance to see things you missed the first time around.
When I visited Barcelona it was on a cruise so I only got to spend a day there, madly rushing around to see as much as we could. I can’t wait to return next month, see the city at night and spend time checking out the amazing beaches.
Having a bit of local insight and knowing the best ways to get around helps too rather than grasping bus and train systems for the first time.
2. Cities change
I often think of Auckland, a city I knew well when I lived there five years ago and still visit regularly. It changes so much every time I visit as big cities are prone to doing, and that’s without an event which has forced a sudden and massive change.
I visited Christchurch before, shortly after, and then five years following the 2011 earthquake which significantly changed the city. Each time it was a totally different place – a functioning city, a cordoned off ‘red zone’, and then the beginnings of a vibrant and cool new city under construction.
But the change is not always positive – cities are changed by tourism as they become more popular. They become more developed, more crowded by tourists and more commercial as the big chains like Starbucks and McDonalds move in.
3. Changes in your life stage will change your experiences
There are cities like San Francisco, New York and Miami which I visited in true backpacker mode in my 20’s and would love to revisit with the funds behind me to do them in a bit more style – not staying in a dorm room and being able to eat out and experience more.
4. You (probably) won’t revisit cities with the same company
Visiting a city solo will generate experiences which are totally different to travelling with other people,with a tour group or in completely different company which can make for a totally different experience.
Visiting with a friend, partner or family member who has never been before means you can show them where to go and experience the city completely differently with them.
5. To experience different seasons
Cities can be immensely different from Winter to Summer. I visited Whistler in the height Summer when it was all sunshine, mountain biking and hikes. I hope to return during the winter ski season when the ski resort town is covered in snow.
6. For a more authentic experience
Once you’ve done the big tourist attractions you can get a real feel for the people, culture and back streets and can gain an understanding of what it might be like to live there.
It’s also great when you don’t feel under time pressure to race around at top speed ticking off the ‘must do’s, and you’ll feel less guilty spending time relaxing, eating and drinking.
7. Because you loved it, or because you didn’t like it
If you’re returning to a city because you loved it so much the first time, l really like the idea of start traditions such as photos in specific spots, cocktails in rooftop bars. You can also reread your old diaries, journals or blog posts to reminisce.
If you didn’t like a city, you can give it a second chance and see whether you overcome any negative feelings.
How do you feel about revisiting cities and places you’ve been to before? Tell me your experiences!
I always thought I’d only need to visit a city once and tick it off my list but sometimes going back is as amazing as going somewhere new. You get a chance to explore more and get under the skin of the city without having to do the typical landmarks!
Yes absolutely! There is always so much more to a city to explore than just ticking off the landmarks and sometimes an entirely different visit is required to get to that point.
Good points Sarah. Pleased to read it as we are about to revisit Lisbon soon. Great to find another NZ blogger!
Thanks Suzanne and enjoy Lisbon! A great example of a city I would love to revisit.
Love this post!! This is a huge thing for me — returning to a city that I’ve already been too especially when I have so much to still see. I’m so strict on trying new restaurants that my husband brought it up in terms of cities, but we have repeated cities before like Paris — we LOVE Paris. There is just too much to see and do. I think for me it takes a lot to want to spend money on those fights over and over to the same city. I always think I could spend that on another trip! Haha
Amazing post! I completely agree!
Thanks so much Camila! <3
I love discovering new things in a city I’ve already been too. Not even big attractions or sights but just the little things like popping down a different street and discovering something exciting. Love this!
You can have such a different trip in the same destination and you never know what you’ll find down a previously unexplored side street.
YES! I love returning to places you’ve been before, whether it’s local or across the world! I love your point of returning even if you didn’t like the city originally. It takes guts to face places you aren’t fond of, especially if there’s bad memories there. I’m a fan of creating new, better memories to replace them!
Creating new and better replacement memories is a great idea! I really must head back to Hanoi (which I hated) and give it a second chance. It would also give me the opportunity to explore some new places at the same time such as Cambodia and more of Vietnam. Win win!
Love this post! There are so many new places I want to travel to but also so many places I’ve been and love (and want to explore more of)!
Thanks Rachel! I can find it SO hard to choose between exploring somewhere new and returning somewhere to see more of it!
I love revisiting cities too! It’s always different the second time around. I feel the the first visit is all about seeing the tourist attractions, but when you revisit you can dig deeper into the local culture of the city. I’ve revisited tons of cities including London, Paris, Sydney, and New York too many times to count!
You have some of my favourite cities in that list Christie! Definitely all worth second and subsequent visits and exploring beyond the tourist attractions.
I love revisiting cities, it gives you a fuller perspective on the place and how things change with time. It also gives you more chances to fall for a place you didn’t quite get the first time or solidify your opinions!
Yes totally agree Candiss! It takes more than a few days to get to grips with a city and the best way to do this is to go back 🙂