5 Reasons to Walk when you Travel
1. Interact with locals.
Even if you’re not talking to anyone, when you walk you make eye contact as you pass. It’s a connection, even if only subtly. If it’s a small enough town you might even exchange ‘Hellos’. In Guatemala every single person I passed had a nod or a ‘Buenos Dias’ greeting.
If you’re in a huge city, like NYC, you probably won’t make eye contact, but the jostling and maneuvering through the crowd towards your destination is equally cultural and is still an interaction.
2. Slow Down.
Walking forces you to slow down. The little details that you’d miss as you fly by in the car become much more important when you walk. Enjoy the feel underfoot of the cobblestone streets that were laid centuries ago, or the wafting smell of blooming magnolia trees… Nothing can compare with those experiences.
It can be hard to get in enough exercise when you’re on a long road trip or adventure-packed journey. Exercise helps break up a long road trip- it will wake you up, get your blood flowing and give you motivation for the next several hours on the road- which can lead to safer driving.
When you have a completely packed schedule, try walking from sight to sight. You’ll get to see the sights from a perspective other tourists may not- from a distance, or as a reflection perhaps? Plus then you won’t have to worry about parking or transportation in a crowded area.
4. Money Saver.
If you’re walking then you’re not paying for a taxi or renting a car (and paying for parking). You’ll probably still end up paying for some public transportation, but that is a much cheaper alternative.
You never know what you’ll encounter when walking. You may walk past a hole-in-the-wall cafe that you decide to enter and it turns out to be a hidden treasure. Or that local with whom you interacted earlier may invite you along to their art studio to learn about their art. There is always more to discover.
Note: Walking late at night in a place in which you aren’t familiar could be dangerous and is not recommended for safety reasons. Unfortunately there are people out there trying to ruin your experience as well.