It is well known that people have always been drawn to big cities. The bright lights, the culture, the atmosphere, the ease of travelling – all of these things combine to form a charm that is irresistible to many.
With cities having this effect on people, it can be easy to forget that the country you’re visiting is likely to have some beautiful rural areas that are every bit as exciting as the big city, even if for different reasons.
When visiting a far-flung corner of the country you’re in, some people will feel isolated, whereas others will feel more free than ever before. Rural travelling is definitely something you should try, at least once.
Read on to find some benefits and drawbacks about travelling in rural areas. For some people, the benefits will more than make up for the drawbacks, whereas others will find themselves wanting to stick to taking city breaks in the future.
Weigh up the pros and cons if you are planning a trip to a small town or village in the future.
Benefit: You get to see the true essence of the country
There are many who would argue that the true essence of a country does not lie in the busy, noisy, polluted streets of the city, but in the small towns and villages, and in the woodlands and lakes.
Many travellers go to countries famed for their incredible natural beauty, and yet spend all their time in city bars, flitting from place to place in a taxi or on the metro. People who travel this way miss out on experiencing the heartbeat of the country.
In some rural communities, it will be possible to hear an oral history of the country that stretches further back than the information that will be presented in museums in cities.
Rather than ticking items off an arbitrary list of things to see, you will find yourself becoming immersed in the culture and experiencing it much more deeply than you otherwise would.
Drawback: It is less accessible
It’s incredibly easy to get to the capital city of a developed country – all you have to do is book a flight or train journey, and then let yourself be transported straight there with a minimal amount of fuss. If you want to visit a small town or village, however, you may not find it so easy to get there.
You might need to take a number of connecting flights, or take the bus. In some rural areas, public transport is not widespread or reliable, so you will need to hire a car and drive there yourself.
Overall, some areas will be easier to reach than others, and small towns which are popular tourist destinations will have simple transport.
This will be a huge obstacle for people who enjoy a relaxed, luxurious holiday. You may have to plan multiple trips on different forms of transport. You may find your plans falling through at the last moment due to bad scheduling.
You may have to spend some time planning the best route if you are taking a car and driving there yourself. These are all things that could stand in the way of your dream trip that involved being looked after in the lap of luxury.
Benefit: It can be incredibly peaceful
If you are staying in a city-centre apartment, you will probably wake up to the sound of cars and people shouting. If you stay somewhere in the countryside, you might wake up to the sound of birds singing, and other than that, the idyllic sound of pure peace and quiet.
If you are using your holiday time as a way to distress from your busy and hectic lifestyle, a peaceful trip to a quiet place will be ideal for you.
A peaceful trip with very little to distract you is the perfect time to be alone with your thoughts, or to catch up on reading your favourite books that you don’t have any time to read otherwise.
If you are a creative person – an artist, photographer, or writer – the peaceful countryside may provide the perfect inspiration for your craft, so make sure to take your craft supplies with you on your trip.
Drawback: It can be isolating
Are you a social butterfly, do you thrive on meeting new people? If you are, unfortunately you might discover that a trip to a rural area may be an isolating and lonely experience.
There are simply fewer people around, and therefore less chance that you will meet someone who you will build up a great rapport and have fun with.
You may be lucky enough to ingratiate yourself with the local community and will therefore be involved in lots of fun activities, but if you are not you might find that you spend a lot of time alone, searching for things to do.
Benefit: It’s likely to be cheaper
Larger cities are often very expensive, while in rural areas your money could stretch a lot further. Getting a hotel in the city centre and eating out at prestigious restaurants every evening can quickly make a huge dent in your holiday budget.
If you head out to a smaller town and stay in a guesthouse, stay with a local family, or even on a campsite, you can keep your accommodation costs very low. What’s more, eating and drinking is likely to be very cheap.
In most countries, people in rural areas earn considerably less than those who live in built up urban areas. Therefore, the cost of living is higher in cities and lower in towns and villages.
In some rural areas, all the food will be very local and incredibly fresh, and as such, it will be very cheap.
Drawback: There is less choice
You will be overjoyed to learn how cheap the food and drink are, but perhaps distressed when you discover there isn’t very much choice. While a large city will offer endless dining opportunities, with a restaurant serving every cuisine imaginable, at all hours of the day and night, if you find yourself stopping in a small town there may only be a handful of places to eat.
If there are only a few restaurants and you find that you don’t like what’s on offer, you may struggle.
If you are used to being able to step out of the door of your hotel at any time and get your hands on whatever food or drink that you fancy, the lack of choice in a rural area will be a huge shock to your system. You will have to adjust to not having everything you need at your convenience.
As well as less choice, there may also be less opportunities for culture. For example, there may be fewer museums, and it might be harder to find a cinema to see the latest film.
Benefit: The people are friendlier
We all know the stereotype of a hard-faced city dweller. People ignore each other as they walk down the street, bumping into you as they run past you to catch a train.
You might be pleased to find that the further you stray from the city lights, the kinder the people you encounter are. They are likely to follow a more relaxed path of life, and will have more time to stop and chat, and to make you feel at home.
A popular form of accommodation in some rural areas is a home-stay, where you will be treated just like one of the family, and be introduced to the local dishes and pastimes.
You will have the chance to live like a local, while learning about the ancient traditions of the country you’re in, and have a completely different experience to the one you would be having staying in a city-centre hotel.
Drawback: There is less beautiful architecture
If you are fascinated by the dominating and intense architecture of your chosen country’s capital, and admire the way that you can watch history unfold before your eyes as you walk down a famous street, you may find yourself disappointed in a more rural area.
Historically, a country’s most impressive architecture will have been concentrated in its capital city, or the city where the social elite lived. Therefore, while a rural town or village may have some quaint houses and the odd church or temple, the sights will be more focused on the natural vistas.
Large cities are known for their overwhelming, stunning architecture. Whether you are itching to see the modern and contemporary buildings in Tokyo, medieval architecture in Prague, or the eclectic styles of Sydney’s architecture, you may end up feeling disappointed if you travel to a rural area and find that the buildings are just not as impressive as you had hoped.