First visits to any holiday destination can be great. However, quite often on the first visit, people run into unanticipated hurdles. There might be too many people crowding your experience at the perfect spots; maybe the transport or hotel costs or even just the taxes seem too hefty; perhaps you didn't pack the right clothes. All in all, there can be several hiccups that put a damper on your first visit somewhere. And that is where the second visit comes in, giving you a chance to experience the destination right.
YOU KNOW YOUR WAY AROUND
You're no longer getting lost on subways or bus stations. Taxis or buses can't overcharge you. You know where the locals shop and have a better understanding of how much stuff should cost, so you can avoid the “tourist prices” for your shopping.
Knowing what to expect, you've packed right. You're not freezing to death. You didn't forget sunscreen. You brought your hiking shoes and your swimming trunks. Only clear skies and smooth sailing ahead.
YOU KNOW WHICH TOURIST TRAPS TO AVOID
The biggest issue people face when travelling somewhere new is stumbling towards honeypot sites. This is usually what happens when you skim tourism sites online, and don't really dig deep into the authentic attractions of a location. The bustling crowds, littering children and annoyed overworked service people are bound to get on your nerves when all you're trying to do is have a break from your stressful daily life.
On your second visit however, you've learnt from your experience. You're now older and wiser. You know which sites are worth the hassle and which should be avoided with a ten-foot pole.
Since coming back from your first visit people have been telling you about all the amazing “hidden” areas that transformed their trips. Cursing them in your head, you make it a point to visit as many of these newly discovered sites as you can. With all the popular tourist locations out of the way, you can now visit these hidden gems.
YOU TAILOR YOUR EXPERIENCE TO YOURSELF
The second time around, you disregard what the internet says your vacation should be. You know that the best way to make your trip worth it is to cater to your likes and find experiences that are just right for you. You now find yourself at quaint little restaurants with amazing food, or at old bookshops with a certain mystique about them. You make your way to the best spot to experience the sunrise or sunset, and go on hiking trails with amazing views. You experience carnivals or festivals that you hadn't known to look up before. You might even find theatres, comedy bars, or pop-up dance clubs that you would never have thought of going to the first time.
The recommended things to do on a vacation aren't necessarily the best for you. A second trip to a location just allows you the freedom to decide what you want to do, without the pressure of missing out on the top five things on all the lists. So if you enjoy heckling over a pair of sunglasses with an old shopkeeper in Chinatown, you go do that with confidence!
Rabita Saleh is a perfectionist/workaholic. Email feedback to this generally boring person at email@example.com