Should You Return To A Place You Loved Or Travel Somewhere New?

Should You Return To A Place You Loved Or Travel Somewhere New?

Should I go back to a place that I know and love or should I take a risk and travel somewhere new? – It’s an internal struggle that I go through every time I sit down to start planning my next trip.

Throughout my life, there have been a few spots that I’ve been captivated and enamoured by. New York, Galway, Rome, and pretty much all of Germany come first to my mind. These are meaningful places to me, places I will always be eager to return to, and where the probability of a thoroughly enjoyable trip is high.

On the other hand, I’ve traveled to some cities that I just couldn’t get into. Porto, Strasbourg, and Chicago didn’t do it for me. While this was more of a reflection of my travel circumstances than the actual cities themselves (unpleasant weather, subpar planning, etc.), I’ve gone back and forth ever since about whether I should return to these spots to give them the second chance that they justly deserve. And of course, there are dozens of other cities that fall in between.

So where should I travel to?

The rational part of me wants to go back to my favourite spots as I know I’ll enjoy them and the chances of finding somewhere I love as much are relatively low. So, case closed. Right…? Then again, all of these places were new to me once, when I visited for the first time and developed these strong ties. Wouldn’t it be a shame to deprive myself of the opportunity of finding more spots like these? Or what if I’m missing out on the best place ever. And the travel FOMO sets in.

I met someone the other day, a 77 year old woman who has a deep passion for travel. The kind of person who can weave a travel related story into any conversation. She told me how she travels to New Zealand year after year, where she has amassed a network of friends scattered across the country. She’ll stop in at her favourite restaurant and everyone will know her and she’ll be driving in the rural countryside and someone whom she’s met before will flag her down. She confided in me that she’s never been to Europe or Asia, and I got the feeling that she’ll never have the desire to go either. She strikes me as a woman who knows what she likes, and in this case, it’s this isolated island on the other side of the world.

Which makes me think, why do we feel pressured to always see something novel when I travel? Is it still traveling when you’re not having a new experience?

Recently, I’ve been putting this idea to the test. On my last trip, I spent three weeks revisiting some of my favourite spots in Europe: Utrecht, Cologne, Maastricht, Rome. It was tough to neglect the places that I’m dying to visit, like pretty much anywhere in Scandinavia, but it was also phenomenal to instantly feel oriented when I arrived in these cities. I knew what to do, where to go, and how to do it, which removed all of that stress that typically culminates upon arriving in an unfamiliar place.

Ultimately, I think there needs to be a balance between the two extremes – the adventure of discovering a new place and the comfort of reconnecting with an old one. But maybe that’s just me. Anyway, Scandinavia, here I come.

What do you think about all of this? Do you have the same struggle? Tell me, I really want to know!

Lauren Barth
Lauren Barth co-founded Departful in 2012. Since then she has worked between North America and Europe and has published content in partnership with a variety of tourism boards and businesses based around the world. Lauren is currently based in Toronto, Canada.


  1. emi 3 years ago

    i love this because i have the same struggle all the time!
    i tend to always choose new places just because there are so many and i want to see them all…but there are a few places i ALWAYS return to at least yearly because it’s good for the soul. we are heading to toronto in the fall, i will need all your tips!


    • Lauren Barth Author
      Lauren Barth 3 years ago

      I think you’re spot on Emi. There are some places that have such a positively profound effect on you that you should go back regularly to re-energize yourself.

      I love when people visit my city! I’m actually working on a local’s guide to Toronto and I’ll send it over to you when it’s done. Love your site by the way, have followed for awhile :)

  2. Tihana 3 years ago

    Sometimes I think I do, but actually when it really comes to planning, I almost always opt for a place I have never visited before. I know it’s probably impossible to travel the world, but I want to do as much as I can, and since I usually have to travel on the cheap, it’s smarter to go somewhere new (in my case). The only places that might win over an unknown destination are London and Shanghai. These two are the loves of my life!

    Wandering Polka Dot

    • Lauren Barth Author
      Lauren Barth 3 years ago

      I share many of your feelings, Tihana. Too many amazing places to see and not enough time or money to do it all!

      I’m hoping to get to Shanghai for the first time in January and I have a feeling it’ll also be on my love list!

  3. Nicole 3 years ago

    Since I have time and budget constraints, I’d rather go a place I have never been to before. As you mentioned, all your favourites were once new =)

  4. Alex 2 years ago

    It’s so funny that you are visiting Scandinavia as a place of interest, rather than love. I’m having that exact dilemma right now – I love Scandinavia (I’ve been to Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark). My favourite places on earth. I leave May 1st for my next trip – I will be going to Iceland, London, Copenhagen, The Netherlands, and after that it’s pretty undetermined. I’m tempted to go back to Stockholm or maybe Göteborg – but I’ve never seen Berlin. In my mind, I’m leaving towards the fact that I don’t live in these places, and since I love them so much I should see them as much as possible. That’s my rationale anyway. Can’t wait to read about your trip!

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