Want to travel more? Consider local and budget travel

One of the biggest pieces of advice we give to those wanting to travel more, is to simply travel in your own backyard.

This kind of travel is often overlooked and a great option when considering your travel budget. Travel doesn’t have to be far away.

Especially if money AND time is a problem for you.

When I say your “own backyard” I classify that as within a 1-2 hour radius from your home. And it can simply be a day trip or a quick weekend getaway.

We think of travel and we 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 .

For the past three years we explored much of our local area. We come from the scenically beautiful Central Coast area on the east coast of Australia which happens to be only one hour from the sights of Sydney and the great town of Newcastle.

Combing those three areas we have enough activities and attractions to satisfy most people for a very long time.

Benefits of local and budget travel

The benefits of “staying local” and exploring your own backyard are numerous:

  • 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 town

It’s time to put the travel glasses on and explore your own home town and region. New things you could do include:

  • 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

Below are my tips on resources to use for finding new things to do:

1. Check Your Local Tourist Board Website

They can be a great resource for creating a list of things to do. If you were a tourist coming to visit your home town, what things do you think they would like to do?

2. Use Social Media

On Instagram?

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. Click on the geotag to see related photos.

Go to your profile and click on the “Search” button at the top right, then choose “Tags”. Here you can type in every keyword you’re looking for and it will show you every Instagram picture tagged with this keyword.

On Twitter?

Follow the #hashtag of your city. Also follow your local tourism boards twitter feed for information, deals and inspiration. I use the Hootsuite platform and have streams created of various hashtags to follow.

On Facebook?

Your local friends will be sharing their photos and activities. Get inspired to visit too. And again, follow your tourism board and favourite places to learn about deals and events.

On Pinterest?

I recently wrote a whole post on How to Use Pinterest for Travel Planning

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 and other users who leave feedback on where they’ve eaten, had a drink, chilled out at a cafe etc.

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

Make a plan to do at least one new activity a month. 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

If you have a favourite beach, next time you go, try stand up paddle boarding or learn to surf.

7. Stay at a Local Resort or Hotel

Choose a special place you’ve always wanted to go for a weekend getaway. 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.

8. Hire Out An Apartment with a View for Your Next Party

We recently did this to celebrate my 40th birthday, and for our going away party for our one year road trip around Australia. We all spoke of how it felt like we were already on holidays.

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!

Check out these similar posts:

How do you travel in your own backyard? What’s one new thing you want to do in your home town?

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26 thoughts on “Want to travel more? Consider local and budget travel”

  1. Great article! Seeing your home town through the eyes of a traveller is such a good way to try new things, live life to the full and appreciate what you’ve got even when money and time are short.

    This is something I know all too well, because I’ve gone back to being a student after several years of working. I love to travel, but it’s been so hard to find the time and money to get away.

    At the moment I’m living in Sydney, but won’t be here forever so am trying to really make the most of it while I’m here. My favourite thing is to go on a random drive or ferry ride to somewhere new then go for a walk. Sydney is great for walking because there are so many beautiful views and pockets of nature where it’s hard to believe you’re in a city of 4 million! Not to mention all the cafes, bars, restaurants, shops and unique inner city suburbs to explore!

    I’ve also been surprised by how many good snorkeling spots there are on Sydney’s coast, my favourite being Shelly Beach in Manly.

    Still haven’t been kayaking here yet, so really want to give that a go!

    1. Hey Bonny,

      You’re lucky, and we were too, to have Sydney at your disposal for a “backyard” 🙂 Even though it’s expensive, there are many activities at your fingertips, and some of the best things are free.

      I actually had my first, and only, scuba diving lesson at Shelly beach in Manly. Such a great little beach that many visitors wouldn’t know about.

      If you haven’t read it already, you may like our “18 Free things to do in Sydney” post: https://www.ytravelblog.com/free-things-to-do-in-sydney/

  2. Well said. We live in Melbourne and we normally go away for a weekend or a day trip before my second was born. We haven’t been doing it for almost 2 years. We recently travel in our ‘backyard’ again and this time we are having camping instead staying in B&B or apartment or house. The kids having so much fun. We walked to the beach, bush, nearby town, boat rowing, star gaze etc. One thing that we didn’t do is taking family photo. we have lots of photos that kids playing and with one of us. I shall remember to do it next time.

    1. Hi May,

      Well Melbourne is another “backyard” I would be happy to play in for a long time. Such a great city and endless neighbourhoods to explore. You would never run out of places to eat and drink. And with nearby destinations like Philip Island, Mornington Peninsula, Marysville and Wilsons Promontary you are spoilt for choice 🙂

  3. Thanks for the amazing tips… my fiancé and me hardly had the time to plan out, coz we used to associate “Travel” with going on long trips days together, but then one weekend out of a spur we just took our SUV and spun a ride, that was possibly one of the best weekends we’ve ever had!! We never discovered we had so many lovely places to visit in our own backyard! We tried new cuisines! Jet skiing! Hitch-hiking and almost anything we could give a shot at! It was a wonderful experience which refreshed us and our relationship! It was a perfectly-unplanned trip with no burnouts!! Just some change, a big bottle of water, some sunscreen, a local map and a ride did the trick! Wherever you are there is still so many things you haven’t explored! I for two 🙂 would recommend traveling in your own backyard to anyone! Happy traveling…

  4. Couldn’t agree more! Travelling in my own backyard is my goal for the next year. I’ve lived in the same area nearly all my life, and think it is so silly that there are still so many things I haven’t seen or done, yet I’ll spend thousands travelling to the other side of the world to do them!

  5. I don’t do this nearly enough, and my excuse is that from Perth there aren’t that many options (all of “down south” of course – well, a bit of it, most of it is 3 to 5 hours’ drive which is a bit much for an overnighter with small kids) but my real reason is I get lazy and feel like travel is only “real” when it involves an aeroplane! So this post is a good reminder to get back out there and enjoy my own backyard in between bigger trips – thank you!

    1. Hi Amanda, I’m also from Perth, so I know what you mean!! Day trips to the wheat belt don’t tend to be the most exciting 😉 It’s a shame that Rottnest is so expensive and Margaret River just a bit too far for a day trip.

      But even in Perth it’s easy to take for granted the good things that travellers notice. For instance, for over 20 years of my life I lived 10 minutes walk from Kings Park, but it was only after talking to travellers and reading travel blogs that I realised it was something special! Also living away from Perth I really miss the hot dry summer and being able to zip down to an uncrowded beach for a 10 minute swim after work without worrying about traffic or paying for parking.

      1. I live in Perth as well so many great options for day trips here. Don’t get bogged down with you have to go down south. There are wineries and other fun activities in the Swan Valley, we have some of the best beaches in the world or you can go bush walking and a picnic in the hills. The maze has just opened a water park or go to the city and cycle the river, visit the various playgrounds in Kings Park.

    2. Hey Amanda,

      Yeah, Perth and surrounds is a tough one. I guess if you seek out free things to do like new beaches, new walks, new parks, markets etc and trying different cafes or even just going for random drives is always “something” good as well.

  6. These are all great ideas. I love to discover new places and things to do in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I like the idea of doing something new every month and I’m adding it to my goals for 2014!

    I would also recommend reading your local paper or checking out meetup.com to discover events happening in your area. For example, I recently went to an open house at a glass blowing shop and got to make a glass pumpkin. It was a fun day out and I discovered something new that I normally wouldn’t do at home!

  7. Fantastic post! There are definitely different means of travel and exploring the area we live in more often is one of my favorites. Having lived in a few different states in the US, it wasn’t until I left that I realized how much I hadn’t seen. I’m trying to travel more locally to make sure I’ve seen as much as I can in my backyard!

  8. One of the great things about local travel is it can be so spur of the moment. You don’t have to spend months or even weeks planning. You can just wake up and decide to go. Plus there are so many websites to help you book your last minute accommodation.

  9. Thank you for this! My husband’s daughters live in another state (we live in California USA) and we are about to embark upon a road trip up to the California Coast, through Southern Oregon and back down to San Diego on an interior road. Very true to travel and explore right where you live! So much I’ve seen, but so much new that I haven’t. Appreciate the resources. Great blog! Look forward to following your family’s adventures!

    1. That’s great Heather. We loved our road trip up to the California Coast between San Francisco and San Diego. Would love to visit Oregon. Yep, keep exploring that BIG backyard of yours!

  10. Lots of great tips. I love taking short trips outside the city. It helps if you live in a culturally or geographically interesting area.

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