One of the biggest pieces of advice we give to those wanting to travel more but don’t have the funds for a big trip, is to simply travel in your own backyard.
Traveling in your local area is a kind of travel that’s often overlooked because you think “I can go anytime,” which, let’s be honest, means you never end up going.
Traveling locally is a great way to make your travel budget go further, and we’re firm believers that travel doesn’t have to be far away.
In this guide, we’ll share our top tips for how to travel locally so you can explore the best of your home country.
- What does travelling locally mean?
- Benefits of Local Travel
- How to Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard
- 1. Check Your Local Tourist Board Website
- 2. Use Social Media
- 3. Use Foursquare
- 4. Talk With Your Friends (And Other Locals)
- 5. Choose One (Or Two) Weekends A Month & Drive
- 6. Do The Familiar With A New Twist
- 7. Stay At A Local Resort Or Hotel / Staycation
- 8. Hire Out An Apartment With A View For Your Next Party
- 9. Have A Family Photo Shoot
- Final Thoughts
What does travelling locally mean?
When I say your “own backyard,” I mean travelling locally. Travelling locally means exploring places that you haven’t been before in your home state, county, or region.
There isn’t an exact quantifier to describe what local means, but to make it easier for you, we would class local travel as exploring anywhere within a 1-2 hour radius from your home by car.
It can simply be somewhere you explore on a day trip or a quick weekend getaway.
Benefits of Local Travel
The benefits of “staying local” and exploring your own backyard are numerous. Here are some of the top reasons why you would want to explore locally:
- Cheap Travel – it costs a lot less than going on an extended trip. You don’t have to pay much in fuel, accommodation, spending money and certainly not on flights.
- Less Planning – no stressful planning in advance. You can pack and go the night before or even that day. And you don’t have to research flights, or keep up to speed on political events overseas.
- Less Packing – at most you will need a day pack or a small suitcase.
- Less Time Away – if you have a busy life or heavy work commitments, you don’t have to worry about getting time off.
- New Appreciation – by getting out and experiencing new things in your own backyard, you will get to see your place in a new light and be more grateful for where you live.
- No Burnout – having to constantly pack and unpack, deal with airports, border crossings and visa issues can lead to burnout.
- Get Refreshed – travel, no matter how long we go for, enables us to get away from the normality of life. By rewarding yourself and getting away you will feel refreshed come Monday.
How to Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard
Now you know what it means to travel locally, it’s time to put the travel glasses on and explore your own hometown and region. Our other website is now all about exploring our backyard of Raleigh North Carolina.
Here are some ways you can discover your own town:
- Discover new walking trails
- Explore new beaches
- Enjoy a picnic in a new park
- Shop at local markets
- Go horse riding
- Go for random drives
- Participate in local festivals
- Hire kayaks on the lake
- Bike different cycling trails
- Eat at a new cafe
- Climb a new mountain
If you feel like you’ve got your home town covered, below are some of my top tips and resources to use for finding ways to travel locally
1. Check Your Local Tourist Board Website
Your local tourist board website usually has events and programs in your home town and surrounding areas.
The are a resource often forgotten about because of the rise in social media, but they are still in use and can be a great resource for creating a list of things to do.
If you were a tourist coming to visit your home town, think about where they might look for events. What things do you think they would like to do?
2. Use Social Media
Not only is Instagram good for inspiration, but most photos have a geotag so you know where they’ve been taken. Search for your home city e.g. #Sydney and check out the stream.
This is my favorite way of discovering hidden gems. When you see a cool photo, click on the geotag to see related photos and a map showing you the location.
You can also search for “Tags”. Here you can type in every keyword you’re looking for and it will show you every Instagram picture tagged with this keyword.
For example, you might choose to search for “nature” and “Utah” and see what hidden gem nature spots come up.
If you prefer using Twitter, follow the #hashtag of your city and see what events come up. Also follow your local tourism boards twitter feed for information, deals and inspiration.
Facebook is another great social media platform to find things to do. You can join Facebook groups for your local area, and see what other local members are sharing.
Get inspired to visit places your friends share. And again, follow your tourism board and favourite places to learn about deals and events.
Pinterest is a great resource for travel planning as well, though I admit that it’s better for international travel than local travel.
3. Use Foursquare
Foursquare is a location based check-in social network which has become a good resource of getting tips and suggestions from locals.
It works by users leaving feedback on where they’ve eaten, had a drink, chilled out at a cafe etc.
It’s another top way to tap into the suggestions from locals and other travellers in your area.
4. Talk With Your Friends (And Other Locals)
Locals hold all the secrets to where the best places to eat, drink, sleep, shop and stay are.
We love getting travel advice from other locals. They can tell you when specials are on, where to find deals and the best times to visit certain places.
Seek out conversations with taxi drivers, police officers, college students, hotel concierges, receptionists, and other travellers.
5. Choose One (Or Two) Weekends A Month & Drive
We make a plan to do at least one new activity a month that’s outside of our hometown in Raleigh.
It doesn’t mean driving for miles, we may simply visit the neighboring cities, but it allows us to explore more of what’s nearby without having to travel far.
You can use the strategies above and discover some hidden gems in those areas before you hit the road.
Before you know it your eyes have opened up and you’ve started your new travel habit.
6. Do The Familiar With A New Twist
Go somewhere you have been to before but explore it in a different way. Travel isn’t always about discovering somewhere new, you can go back to places you love and still call it travel.
If you have a favourite beach, next time you go, try stand up paddle boarding or learn to surf there.
7. Stay At A Local Resort Or Hotel / Staycation
Choose a special place you’ve always wanted to go for a weekend getaway and have a staycation.
We did this at the Crowne Plaza in Terrigal, a favourite place of ours to hang out as a young adult. We loved being able to stay the night and experience it, even though we lived down the road.
Sometimes we all just need a little bit of pampering, so staying at a nice hotel in your own town is a great way to do just that.
8. Hire Out An Apartment With A View For Your Next Party
We hired an apartment to celebrate my 40th birthday, and for our going away party for our one year road trip around Australia.
Having a new location to explore while you have a party is a great way to feel like you’ve traveled when you haven’t.
We all spoke of how it felt like we were already on holidays. And we rented this luxury villa in Orlando with friends!
9. Have A Family Photo Shoot
Choose a favourite place and use it for a family photo shoot. Snap the kids playing and the family having fun. You’ll feel like you’re on holidays, and it will look like you are too.
So from now on when you think about how to travel in your own backyard, just develop that travel mentality and I can guarantee you’ll start to find ways to create the adventures.
Start by taking day trips, then short breaks. You don’t have to have oodles of money to travel. Begin in your own backyard!
When we think of travel, we often look to far-flung places. We don’t think of stopping to view what’s offered in our own streets, or neighboring towns.
Travel doesn’t have to mean a trip to Bali or hiking in Nepal. It’s a mindset, and you can carry that mindset wherever you go, even if it is just down the road .
Over the years, we explored much of our local area as we have internationally.
Combing those three areas we have enough activities and attractions to satisfy most people for a very long time.
How do you travel in your own backyard? What’s one new thing you want to do in your home town? Let us know in the comments.