Walking tourism is a fast-emerging trend in the travel community. The UNWTO published a report on the reasons behind this upward trajectory, mentioning that walking tourism is a relatively easy venture for many locales and requires little investment. They also cite how it can be sustainable when appropriately managed and complemented with other tourism resources. Plus, it can create economic opportunities for locals.
Around the world, walking tours have become more and more popular. You can do a walking tour anywhere, too. There are readily available routes online that you can use as guides, from walks at the beachside destinations of Maui in Hawaii to the historical sites of Connemara and Galway Bay in Ireland.
In this article, we look into why walking can be the best way to explore a new city and expand travel experiences. Read on to learn more.
Interact with locals
Compared to using a vehicle to move from point A to B, walking allows you to take time to interact with people in the area. You can take a moment to linger in a place and talk to more locals. For instance, you can easily go into hole-in-the-wall shops when you’re traveling on your feet. This is something other modes of transportation can’t offer. Being in a train, bus, tram, or car takes away the opportunity for you to experience a local’s daily life.
Develop your sense of place
When exploring a new city, travelers often have a set itinerary of must-see spots. These are usually landmarks, restaurants, shops, and galleries. Exploring a city based on just those spots can take away from experiencing the city as a whole. What can happen is that you limit your knowledge and awareness of the city to just those spots. When you intentionally walk through a city, you can experience the paths and uncover hidden nooks and crannies that the typical traveler may overlook.
Remain active and healthy
A study reveals that walking 10,000 steps a day is just as effective as doing five 30-minute workouts every week. Walking increases your aerobic capacity, meaning that you have greater heart strength. Additionally, walking helps you store less body fat and drives your body to use food more efficiently. This gears you up for all the gastronomic feasts you may indulge in during your travels.
Stay balanced and centered
Walking can be an effective way to stave off cognitive decline and manage emotions skillfully. It can spur new cell growth in the hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for regulating emotion and memory. As we wrote in a previous post, walking can keep you sane. While an exciting activity, exploring a new city can also be an overwhelming experience. You may have to deal with new habits, people, culture, and languages, so it’s essential to take a quiet moment to yourself—which walking can provide.
Consider taking a day or two to walk around the next city you visit. Experience places as locals do and spot hidden gems on foot—every step can be an adventure.