It turns out having an adventure doesn’t have to mean traversing far-off jungles or exploring foreign lands. The opportunity for adventure is on your doorstep. You just need to know where to look to get started traveling local!
The last 18 months have made traveling internationally tough, but that doesn’t mean you have to have boring vacations. Local vacations can be just as exciting as traveling the globe if you know how to plan them.
What Counts As Local Travel?
The concept of local travel can be defined by a spectrum, rather than having a single meaning. In the USA, local travel could mean booking into a hotel 30 minutes’ drive from your home, or it could mean visiting a different state.
One definition of traveling locally is any journey occurring within your home country, particularly if you don’t travel by air. Holidaying close to home has already earned the nickname of a staycation. Exploring your own backyard is another apt description.
Holidaying close to home isn’t just a good option in terms of keeping to travel restrictions. It can be cheaper than trips overseas, better for the environment (foregoing air travel drastically reduces your carbon footprint), and a great way to support your local small businesses. All while getting to know your own area a bit better.
How To Make Traveling Local Exciting
If you take a moment to reflect, you might realize that you live right next door to tourist attractions that draw thousands of visitors every year.
National parks, museums, hiking trails, and day trips that are usually marketed to tourists often get overlooked by locals and seen as tourist traps. These, and many other activities, can be just as fun for people living close by as they are for holidaymakers.
We’ve put together a few ideas to spice up your travels and make local vacations more exciting.
1. Take A Train Trip
People who have to commute by train regularly might view this as mundane. On the contrary, there are a huge number of train trips in the USA that attract travelers from all over the world. Amtrak’s Coast Starlight, a 35-hour journey from Seattle to Los Angeles, allows passengers to see some of the spectacular natural beauty along the West Coast.
Another trip worth taking is the City of New Orleans route from Lake Michigan to Crescent City, which allows travelers to visit locations like the Blues Hall of Fame, the Mississippi Museum of Art, the National World War 2 Museum, and the National Civil Rights Museum.
2. Go On A Unique Tour
Many people don’t realize that they’re missing out on adventures in their own areas because those activities are considered tourist attractions. Thinking of something as a tourist attraction puts local residents off. The term “tourist attraction” has become almost synonymous with “tourist trap”. In almost every city, however, there are many tours and other experiences just as enjoyable for locals as they are for foreigners. Two examples are:
- Take a ride on Chicago’s Barrel Bus: If you’re interested in the behind-the-scenes workings of a brewery or distillery, the Barrel Run in Chicago is just the thing. The wooden, barrel-shaped bus offers different tours that take passengers around local breweries, distilleries, and the Chicago Brewhouse Riverwalk.
- Street Food Tour of Portland: Sampling street food is a huge part of traveling. The vast majority of people haven’t explored all the eateries of their own hometown, let alone all the street food on offer. There are various food tours in Portland that promise to introduce you to local delicacies that you haven’t tasted—yet. Most towns and cities in the US offer similar activities.
There are dozens of other weird and wonderful tours and day trips that happen in every state. The Area 51 Dar Tour in Nevada and Extreme Storm Chasing Tour in Oklahoma are just two other examples of unusual trips that even locals will love.
3. Sleep Under The Stars
Camping is set to make a comeback as an environmentally friendly and affordable way of having a holiday—partly thanks to COVID-19. For suburbanites, spending time in nature is a new experience, and learning how to let go of the rat race can be life-changing. If you’re really up for a new and exciting experience, ditch the tent and sleep under the stars. Disclaimer: use common sense when it comes to adverse weather conditions and potential encounters with predators!
4. Boost Adrenaline With Extreme Sports
If you’re sticking to urban areas, trying out extreme sports that are available is an exciting way to feel a rush and take your mind out of the everyday routine of work, home, and sleep. Activities like indoor skydiving, going on a rollercoaster, off-roading, or even taking part in race-type driving experiences are often available in and around urban areas.
You can often participate in these kinds of pastimes without traveling outside your city. But if you want to enhance the holiday feeling, look into booking yourself into a hotel on the other side of town to get some time away from your daily routine.
5. Road Trip
Road tripping isn’t for everyone, but when you’re only looking to travel locally, it can be a great way of seeing the countryside and getting acquainted with your surrounding areas. You don’t have to spend hours driving every day either. Before setting off, look at recommended hotels or campsites where you can stay overnight. It’s also a great idea to look for restaurants, theatres, festivals, and other attractions, and base your route on what you’d like to see.
You can also create a road trip itinerary that has a theme. Whether this is finding the best chicken waffles or seeing how many museums you can visit along the way, the choice is yours. If you’re really looking for adventure, consider doing a bit of urbex exploring or visit locations with a reputation for being haunted.
6. Experience The Exciting Side Of Nature
Getting out into nature is beneficial in a multitude of ways. Many people see the outdoors as a place to relax and unwind. Others, however, think of the world beyond their immediate surroundings as an outlet for their pent-up energy.
Like all extreme sports, activities that happen in nature—such as bungee-jumping, gorge swinging, cliff jumping, or white water rafting gives participants a one-of-a-kind thrill that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. Activities like gorge swinging or bungee jumping take you out of the humdrum of city life, which allows you to enjoy the experience even more.
If high octane sports are a bit too exciting you can enjoy more leisurely pursuits. You can still turn them into an adventure by exploring new places in different ways. You can learn how to paddle a kayak and try fishing in a whole new way, or you can simply explore lakes and rivers from a whole new perspective.
Traveling Locally Doesn’t Have To Be Boring
The bottom line is that staying close to home doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy exciting and novel experiences. All you need is a sense of adventure and a desire to try new things.
Being able to experience the holiday atmosphere should be accessible to everyone, and traveling locally is one way of achieving it. Even if you venture just past your own backyard!