What type of travel suits you?

In today’s increasingly connected world, it’s possible to make just about any travel fantasy come true. There are virtually unlimited options for budget travellers, luxury travellers, and business travellers when it comes to accommodation, airfare, tourism, and working overseas.

Millennials are taking over business class while Baby Boomers are retiring abroad. Backpackers are travel blogging in real-time using Periscope and Twitter. And more and more people are becoming digital nomads, working from anywhere with a WiFi connection.

With so many different ways to travel, how can you decide which travel style is right for you? While there are dozens of different factors that go into making any trip great, choosing the right length of time to travel is key to having the best experience possible.

Here are the pros and cons of long-term travel vs. short-term travel for business, pleasure, and everything in between.

Long Term Vs Short Term Travel

Long-Term Travel

Traveling long-term gives you the chance to experiences the cities, countries, and cultures you journey to on a more in-depth level. 

Instead of merely seeing typical tourist sites, you’ll have time to dig deep into your destination, forging relationships with locals and getting insider secrets into what’s truly special about the city.

Long-term travel is also much more affordable than short-term travel. While it may seem counterintuitive, staying somewhere longer makes it much easier to find great deals on long-term accommodation. You can take advantage of month-long transportation passes, find a short-term apartment to lease, and discover secret hot spots like local restaurants and coffee houses that aren’t in the guidebooks.

Even better, when you stay somewhere long-term and start meeting the locals, they will introduce you to the best markets, bars, shopping, and attractions enjoyed by the people who live there year-round.

The biggest con of long-term travel is travel burnout. Burnout can happen to anyone, at any time, but it usually sets in after a few months of hardcore travel. If you’re trying to pack in as many cities as possible in as short a time as possible, it’s easy to become physically depleted and emotionally exhausted.

Even worse, long-term travel can quickly become a chore as cities blur together and the whole thing no longer feels special. A destination that would’ve excited you before no longer seems interesting, and you find yourself wasting precious days holed up in your guest house, binge-watching Leverage on Netflix. Which you could, well, do at home. 

Short-Term Travel

Short-term travel is exciting, invigorating, and practically a dream come true. When you only have a few days in a destination, you enjoy a burst of presence and energy unlike anything else you’ve experienced before.

Since everything and everyone around you is new, you’re not swept up in thoughts of the past or future. You’re living in the moment, which can make time seem to stand still. I’ll never forget the 4 days I spent in Bucharest, the 3 days I spent in Vancouver, or the 2 long afternoons I spent in London. The moments from those short-term travel experiences are burned into my mind forever. 

Short-term travel can be crazy expensive. Forget about bulk deals and discounts if you’re only staying in a hotel for a few days. Because you want to see as much as possible in as short a time as possible, you end up paying extra for airfare, transfers, rail passes, and group tours.

Short-term travel makes it hard to dig deep into any destination. The best you can do is to skim the surface of a city, seeing whatever guidebook sites you have time for. It can be extremely hard to meet locals or get a feel for what it’s like to live in your destination, too. 

If money is no object and you want to die with as many passport stamps as possible, short-term travel is probably your best bet.

If you’re more interested in cultural experiences than tourist sites, and relish the idea of meeting local people and seeing how they live, long-term travel is probably right for you.

Don’t be afraid to mix it up and try both. With unlimited options for how to experience 21st century travel, you’re sure to find a travel style that energizes, inspires, and fills you with awe.

Rebekah Voss is a freelance writer and the creator of TheHappyPassport.com, an inspiration website for solo female travellers.