Overseas travel may be ruled out of your holiday plans due to cost or time restraints but there is an easy solution to this – get creative, TRAVEL LOCALLY and explore your own backyard. Having numerous benefits, discovering your own area is one of the cheapest yet overlooked ways of fitting in more travel opportunities, especially if you work full time.
In this post I want to delve into the benefits, reasons and ways to incorporate local travel into your everyday life, so you can enjoy travel all year round.
TRAVEL LOCALLY : EXPLORE YOUR OWN BACKYARD
WHY DO WE TRAVEL
What is travel in the context of holidays and why do we travel?
Travel can be defined as “the act of moving from one place to another by different means and is usually for pleasure”.
Travel takes us to new places where we experience different cultures, people, languages, food and sights.
Going away from home helps us to switch off from the routine of our home and work lives, leaving us less stressed and more relaxed.
With social media increasingly portraying photos of exotic looking places, golden beaches, iconic landmarks and photogenic vistas, it can sometimes feel as if we are missing out on travel.
Having to take a holiday in our own country can feel like a second best option, especially if friends or family are jetting off to an exciting destination.
TRAVEL MINDSET AND HOW WE ARE AFFECTED BY TRAVEL
Anyone who loves travelling whether it be taking a cruise, a road trip, camping in the wilderness, a city break or beach stay will be aware of the “Mindset” that occurs during their holiday. We feel better within ourselves, happier, less stressed and more relaxed. Holidays invigorate us, excite us and a sort of “pause button” is pressed, taking us out of the daily humdrum of life. On holiday we can notice any or all of the following factors :
- Willingness to try something new out of our comfort zone.
- Opening our minds to new experiences.
- Meeting new people.
- Taking an interest in capturing photos.
- Sampling new/different cuisines.
- Being more tolerant of nuisances.
- Exploring places of interest/local landmarks.
- Sense of escaping normal daily routine.
- Less time restraints.
This Mindset can be applied to our daily lives whether we are exploring the streets of Paris or the streets in our home town.
REASONS TO TRAVEL LOCALLY IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD
#1. Save Money on airfare, accommodation and transport.
#2. Organising the trip is easier as you don’t have to spend much time planning an itinerary, researching flights or arranging visas.
#3. Less stressful for some as there are no airports to deal with and they feel more in their comfort zone, hence more in control of everything.
#4. Trips away can be more spontaneous and you can travel when you feel inclined to do so.
#5. You become more knowledgeable about the local area and your country as a whole.
#6. It is easy to take extended weekends which can be a better fit if you are very busy or have heavy workloads in your job.
#7. You can feel more refreshed and relaxed taking shorter trips.
#8. Travel is possible while you save for a foreign trip.
I like to take a 2 or 3 week holiday each year to an overseas destination, however I have learnt that the “good feeling factor” acquired from such as trip can be prolonged by taking time out the rest of the year, whether this is a day out or a weekend away in the UK. So how exactly do you explore more in your own backyard so you still have fun and sustain your travel mindset?
HOW TO TRAVEL LOCALLY IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD
Try putting your “travel glasses” on and be prepared to take a fresh perspective on the places you visit in the same way that you do when travelling abroad. Be prepared to see beauty in places that have previously not been on your radar. Approach your day or weekend as a tourist and experience a fresh view on your surroundings. Think like a tourist and be open to trying new things, which could include :
- Eating out at a new restaurant.
- Learning something new at a museum you havn’t visited before.
- Taking a hop-on-hop-off bus around a new city.
- Find a new cycle path, hiking trail or running track.
- Instead of walking around a lake, hire a kayak or canoe for a different perspective.
- See a show or performance at a theatre.
- Visit a new National Park.
- Explore a different headland or coast.
- Try local culinary delights at a Food Festival.
- Instead of driving to a destination, take public transport.
- Try a unique train ride.
- Visit exhibitions at local museums.
- Take a different route on a trip to the coast.
- Visit a new city.
- Buy foods from a local deli and go for a picnic.
- Join a club and try a new hobby.
- Try an exhilarating activity such as zip-lining.
- Try volunteering at a local shelter or animal shelter.
- Take a city tour, walking tour, foodies tour or devise your own.
- Take your camera with you and be a photographer for the day.
- Have a drink in a different pub.
- Visit a new park and be at one with nature.
Look at your surroundings as though you are on holiday and approach any visits as you would with your tourist hat on. It really is no different finding things to do in your own backyard than it is if you were in a foreign country.
RESOURCES TO HELP FIND THINGS TO DO LOCALLY
How do you usually prepare for an overseas holiday? How do you comprise your itinerary and decide what sights to see, which accommodation to stay in, which restaurants to eat at and what activities you want to experience?
Finding things to do and places to visit locally or within your area can be approached in the same way. Travel can be literally in the area that you live in, the next city or somewhere within a few hours drive of your home. I live in North Wales in the UK which compared to say the States or Australia is considerably smaller meaning that it is easy for me to visit London or anywhere in the South of the country over a weekend.
Resources at your disposal include the following :
#1. Online Search – there is a wealth of information at the tip of your fingers, just google your area and discover top things to do.
#2. Local Tourist Information Office – Find out about local areas and tourist information either in person or through the official website.
#3. Local publications – for details of local fairs, book readings, food festivals, concerts and events.
#4. Pinterest Boards – Type in your destination and browse the numerous boards for ideas of trips that people have taken.
#5. Social Media – Ask your Facebook friends for places they recommend, their favourite places to eat and ideas for local activities.
#6. Libraries – they will be able to assist you with local history and events.
#7. Word Of Mouth – Ask friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues for recommendations.
#8. Search your home town’s hashtag on Instagram to discover where other people are visiting.
#9. Use Trip Advisor to search your local town/city/country and read about things to do, restaurants to eat in and accommodation ratings. You could ask any questions you have in the forums.
#10. Listen to your local radio station for forthcoming events and festivals.
#11. Voluntary Organisations for places to volunteer and make a difference.
An added bonus of travelling locally is that you will be supporting local businesses and helping to promote sustainable tourism in your own country. Travel doesn’t have to mean a trip overseas when there is always somewhere new to discover in your own city. Open your eyes and see your close surroundings in a new light and start experiencing the joys of travel all year round.
Do you enjoy travelling in your own backyard? Have you discovered somewhere new recently, and if so what was it?
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