1. The people are nicer and more welcoming.
Cities like Paris, Rome, and New York City have their charms, don’t get me wrong. But have you ever noticed how the locals generally aren’t the friendliest to tourists unless there’s money at stake?
This is because they see thousands of tourists throughout the year, sometimes millions. To them, you’re just another number; you’re another number that adds to the traffic and stops in the middle of the walkway to take pictures.
It’s like this because they deal with tourists all the time. It’s understandable. But small towns are different. Small towns get some tourists here, some tourists there, and they’re always appreciated. Tourism helps keep their town alive and flourishing with each and every dollar put into their small businesses.
Better yet, many people within small towns don’t get out very often so they’re curious. They’re curious about where you came from, your culture, your family, and oh so much more. Many families will even invite you to their home for dinner.
When you enter shops, cafes, bed and breakfasts, or any other business, your purchases are genuinely appreciated. You are genuinely appreciated, and that’s much harder to find in a big city.
2. Your money goes further.
It’s true! Everything will generally cost less. Big cities are known for requiring the big bucks. Ever tried getting a hotel in New York City? Super expensive. Every tried getting a hotel in a town north of New York City? Much less expensive.
When the demand is lower, the prices will be, too. You’ll be able to eat for less, sleep for less, and enjoy the town for less. It’s one of the many perks of traveling to a small town!
3. The food is more authentic.
This is my favorite part of traveling to small towns. Not only is it cheaper to eat in small towns, but it’s just better overall! For me, authenticity in a dish is essential to my enjoyment.
When I’m traveling, I want to know that what I’m eating is authentic to the place I’m in. I know for sure that is what I’m going to get when I’m in a small town because the restaurants are catering to the locals, not tourists.
If you feel like taking it a step further, ask your waitstaff for their favorite dish. You’re sure to get something unique; in flavor and definitely in experience.
4. The culture will shine through more.
People often ask me why I don’t like Rome (I know, who doesn’t like Rome?!) The answer is quite simple. When I’m in the touristy part of Rome, I feel like I’m just in another American city. There’s English everywhere, the “idea” of what Italian food is, and everything is overpriced.
While I appreciate the other areas of Rome, the touristy area just drives me crazy. Simply put, the real Roman culture has dissipated in that area and been overtaken by a more western culture. This is not unique to Rome, either!
Many cities throughout the world have “hidden” their cultures as a way to better accommodate tourists. Culture isn’t easy to understand and face, but that in of itself is the beauty of travel to me.
When I travel, I want to see how the locals live their lives and I want to surround myself with the experiences they live for day after day. I can much better achieve this goal in small towns rather than large cities.
5. Small towns provide a unique experience.
Every place you go will be so unique. There’s no town like the other and they all provide a new viewpoint. Everything is beautifully unknown when in a small town, and that is the charm.
You’ll learn to pronounce new words that you don’t know the meaning to, you’ll see things you didn’t know existed, and you’ll witness life as you didn’t realize it was lived. The beauty about small towns is that with each one you go to you learn new things and expand your view on the way life can be lived.
This is an experience that you can only get in a small town. There’s many things that big cities do better, but small towns take the gold on this one.
6. You won’t be sucked into any tourist traps.
You can’t go to London and not see Big Ben just like you can’t go to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. It’s just not something you do.
Did you know that you can also pay to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower? It’s definitely not cheap, but I was suckered into it just like so many are. And guess what? It wasn’t even worth it to me because the very thing I wanted to see wasn’t in the skyline anymore.
The best things about small towns are all the things that locals do; evening walks around the park, getting a customary dessert after dinner with friends… These are the things that I take pleasure in, and as a result, this is a huge reason I prefer small towns over big cities.
7. Walking around a small town and getting lost is something that never gets old.
My favorite activity while traveling is getting lost in new places. There’s nothing better than going through quiet, winding streets and stumbling upon an old church or a charismatic house. You get to observe people carrying their groceries to their house, picking their kids up from school… It’s an experience that requires your full attention and appreciation.
There’s a certain comfort that goes along with watching everyday life as an outsider. It’s quite a beautiful thing, really. While everyday life definitely goes on within the big city limits, there’s something that’s different about watching small town life. There’s a certain tranquility that you can feel while watching these locals going about their lives.
If you need help speaking the local language, check out our post “20 Words For When You Don’t Know the Host Language“. It will help you in so many way!