When we travel to cities, we often opt for larger, better known destinations.  It’s understandable to do this because of the time that goes into travel, language barriers, and not being sure if we’ll be able to successfully find things to occupy ourselves with, but one of my favorite parts about staying in a country for a longer period of time is getting to explore its smaller cities and towns. The US, being so damn large and all, offers plenty of opportunities like this. “America” conjures images of New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago…but we have an endless supply of unique metropolitan areas scattered throughout. I recently visited my friend in Missoula, Montana. This city has a population of about 68,000 and is surrounded by mountains that I could not resist hiking, climbing, and roving through. Benefits of small towns include:

-Less tourism may mean people are less jaded and more welcoming. Visitors may be quite the novelty.

-Easier to find accommodation (though sometimes it’s not cheap because there’s not enough of a hostel crowd). Easier to find a couchsurfing host.

-Generally cheaper prices for food, gas, etc.

-No need for the metro. Get around by foot and bike!

-You can get to know folks around town more intimately and quickly.

-May have better access to outdoor sport and natural sights.

Of course there are the downsides associated with living in a small community too, that’s why I’m happy to get a mix of all sorts of destinations!












post by Jackie Clark