Many travel blogs will have you believe that to have amazing travel experiences, you need to travel to glamorous or far off destinations in the world. I am here today to call bullshit on that. Sure, by traveling far you can have an awe-inspiring travel experience and I am a big supporter of global travel, but, it’s not the only way you can have a memorable travel experience. I remember when I started my travel blog, I wanted to inspire people to see the beauty of the world, even in their own backyard. It’s been a guiding thought in my head for the last couple of years and yet, I haven’t actually stopped to write a post on how to travel more by exploring your own backyard. I just delved straight into adventures to be had and shared the adventures I have found, but never actually offered tips on how you can find adventures in your own area. So if you want to travel more but don’t have the cash or annual leave to travel to far off places then you’re in luck! Today I’m sharing some tips on how to travel more in your local area and still have memorable travel experiences.
How to Travel More Throughout the Year by Exploring Your Own Backyard
Go for a drive
One nice way to have a little day trip in your own local area is to just get in your car and go for a mini road trip. If you love the freedom and exploration, you could just drive with no destination in mind, or if you prefer to have a plan, you could look up a nice park, lake or lookout point and go there with a picnic. Maybe even find a nice spot to watch a sunset with your loved ones. You don’t have to drive too far either, even an hour or two can give you that road trip feeling and get you out exploring somewhere new. If you don’t have a vehicle, you could also do the same thing but use a train or bus. I often did this when I moved to Italy and didn’t have a car – I would just pick a new train station (whichever were the cheapest) and go off exploring which was really fun. However you do it, simply venturing out for a day trip is a fun and inexpensive way to travel in your local surroundings.
Experience a new culture
Check your local area for multicultural events and they can allow you to experience a completely different culture without leaving your state. When I lived in Darwin, Australia I attended Greek, Italian and African festivals and loved them all. It was a such a great way to experience a different culture through food, storytelling, dress, music, dance and art and I really enjoyed being able to see the people of my community from different backgrounds share their customs and cultures. If you get the chance, take a look into your local city guides to see if there are any cultural events coming up or check with local community clubs who may be hosting events. If you can’t get to a festival, perhaps even something as simple as trying a different cuisine or taking a language class is a good way to experience a different culture without the cost of an international holiday. Language exchange is a great way to learn a new language while meeting new people.
Do a touristy activity
Sometimes we avoid these because we are the locals and only the tourists do this or that right? I know I have been guilty of avoiding touristy hotspots near places I have lived but to be honest, if you remove your own local viewpoint bias, the touristy activities can be a bunch of fun! If you are trying to explore your local area, one good way to have a mini travel experience is to simply act like a tourist. Maybe visit a popular beach or landmark, try a popular food that your area is famous for, hike a popular trail, take a token touristy photo in an overly photographed spot or do one of the tourist activities of the area. Playing tourist for the day is a great way to feel like you’re on holiday without the holiday expenses.
Turn ‘one day’ into today
We all have those things that we are going to do one day don’t we? Sometimes we overlook the things we would like to do in our local area because it’s always going to be close so there is no pressure to go out and do it. ‘Maybe next weekend’ becomes ‘maybe next weekend’ and so on and so on until before you know it a couple of years have gone by and you’ve been doing the same old things and seeing the same old places. Well, wait no longer. Get out that list of things you want to do, places you want to see and food you want to try and start doing it now. Transform that ‘one day’ list into ‘this weekend’s plan’. After all, there is no time like the present right?
Learn something new
How much do you know about the history or traditions of your local area? Learning new information is such a huge part of the travel experience but you don’t need to travel far to learn something new, you can achieve that same ‘wow I didn’t know that’ moment by learning something new about your own area. Why not visit a museum and learn something new? Depending on your city there could be one general history museum or multiple different museums that each focus on an individual genre. You can try one in a genre that you know nothing about and get a really new experience. You could even look into free or low cost walking tours in your nearest city because they are a great way to uncover knew interesting information about your areas as well as join a group and meet new people. A headphone tour might be another good option if there are no walking tours or you prefer to explore on your own.
Visit a nearby town
You don’t have to travel far to have a travel experience, this month take a little trip to a nearby town. It might only be a half hour or an hour away, it doesn’t matter the distance, just go visit a neighboring town and explore a little. Walk around the city, pop in to check out some local stores, have a nice meal and get a feel for what the town has to offer. If you have the opportunity or budget you could experience one of the sights of the town like a museum. If you need to keep it to a budget then simply walk around and explore or visit the free sights like landmarks, scenic points or nature activities.
Ask a friend what they would do
If you are thinking about how to travel more and stuck for ideas on things you can do in your surrounding areas, a good idea is to get an outsiders perspective. Many times when you live in an area you see it through the tunnel vision of a local and overlook some activities or places that would probably be a lot of fun to visit. Ask a friend who doesn’t live in your area or state what they would do if they were coming to visit. If it is possible, you could even ask your friends to come and visit you for a weekend to do some of the activities together. Asking for an outsiders opinion is such a great way to get fresh ideas and see your local surroundings from a different perspective. Then take these ideas and use them too. Don’t let silly barriers get in your way or be scared because it is something you may not have thought to try. Go with the ideas and you might even surprise yourself!
I really hope this post inspires you to get out this weekend and travel a little in your own area. I believe that you really don’t have to travel far to have a wonderful travel experience and I hope you get to experience the joy and wonder of seeing a new sight, experiencing a new culture or doing something you’ve never done before. Enjoy traveling in your backyard!