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