I have been traveling regularly for the past 10 years, and while my first international travel experiences happened before that mark but it’s within the past 10 years that I’ve travelled internationally at least once annually. This was well before the invention of Instagram and the hashtag FOMO. However, despite my travels I don’t think of myself as well travelled and I definitely don’t count the number of countries that I’ve visited. I choose to not allow myself to be identified by the number of countries that I’ve visited. With the advent of social media apps like Facebook and Instagram way too many people are getting caught up in their country count and I wonder if they even enjoy the trip they take. I’ve seen itineraries so jam packed I would personally need another vacation just to recover.
Part of the reason I enjoy traveling is to connect with locals in any small way and to be able to experience their culture in an authentic way. Whether it’s sitting outside on a terrace café in Paris during happy hour or renting bikes in Amsterdam and navigating the streets as a local, it’s these types of experiences that make my trips unforgettable. So, if an itinerary has me spending a day or just a few hours in a city it’s much harder, if not impossible, to have those types of experiences or to connect with locals. One ends up too busy trying to visit the “must-do” items on your list with the limited time you have and snapping a photo in front of that important landmark. Granted there are always exceptions and reasons why a limited time in a location may be necessary however, trying to cram in London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Lisbon, and Dublin into a 7-day trip to Europe just strikes me as crazy. With itineraries like that it seems like the intent is to “check the box” and to rack up as many countries as one can in a single trip without really taking the time to experience any one of those beautiful cities. By doing so you’re doing yourself a disservice.
By no means am I saying multi-city itineraries are inherently bad but what I am saying is that if you do have a multi-city itinerary planned make sure it allows you enough time because travel is complicated. I know first-hand how complicated travel can be as a result of my recent trip to Copenhagen which was full of mishaps, delayed flights and missed connections. Given these types of complications why would you want to add to it and increase the risk of something going wrong without any buffer to be able to correct it? Also, do you really want to wake up at the crack of dawn during your vacation? Do you really want to have to pack and unpack every day? That’s not vacation that’s work.
The bottom line is, just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Next time you’re considering a 7 day trip that includes stops in 12 cities consult a professional before you make that purchase because random travelers on the internet may not have your best interests in mind.