How to Make the Most of Traveling Locally
While most people associate traveling with international destinations, no one said you can’t explore your own city and still have an amazing time. Even if you don’t have the money or the time to spend on a trip abroad, it’s always possible to travel locally.
When you change your perspective and decide to see your own city as a new place to be explored, you may end up finding unknown gems that were hidden in plain sight.
Wear the Traveler’s Hat
The easiest way to begin traveling locally is believing you are a visitor who’s arriving for the first time. So, instead of just trusting your own knowledge about the city, start with a clean slate and do some research.
You’ll probably realize there’s a lot more to do in your city than you previously thought. With that in mind, you may decide to try the new menu of a restaurant you visited years ago, attend a farmer’s market in a new neighborhood, or go dancing in the new trendy club.
Check Guides About Your City
It’s common to find people who live in breathtaking capitals but never once took the time to visit the tourist attractions. They might live their whole lives walking past incredible museums and parks, all while not knowing they were ever there.
Travel guides tend to focus on the important sites and give you all the information you need such as opening times and entrance fees. Some attractions even offer special discounts for residents, which will make your trip more worthwhile. The more you get to know your city, the better information you can give to visiting family members, for instance.
Visit Quirky Museums
Some people think that once you’ve visited a museum, you can tick it off your list. However, that thought couldn’t be further from the truth. While some of them only have permanent collections, most museums have ever-changing temporary exhibitions.
It’s always a good idea to check what’s going on in the city’s museums as you may find something interesting to see. For example, the British Museum once displayed China’s Terracotta Warriors.
Join Travelers’ Get-Togethers
Apart from exploring new sites and experiencing new activities, many travelers visit new countries to meet like-minded people and make friends. If your city is relatively big, there’s a good chance you’ll find travelers’ events going on.
The best course of action is searching Couchsurfing and MeetUp to find where and when travelers meet. Another option is to just visit any nearby hostel and hang out in the communal bar to find interesting people.
Take an Exciting Local Tour
One of the coolest things you can do to get to know your city better is going on a local tour. Not only will you be able to meet new travelers, but also learn about interesting facts and visit new places.
When you take into consideration that there are many different types of tours, you’ll definitely find something you like. Apart from the classic ones that take you to the popular tourist attractions, there are others that might explore the food scene or entertainment district. Plus, free walking tours can be found in any major capital.
Go on a Hostel’s Pub Crawl
If you’ve ever stayed in a hostel, you’ll know that, apart from the cheap dorm rooms and funny travelers, you’ll find the best parties. So, while some hostels have their own clubs and bars, most of them organize pub crawls.
A pub crawl sees a group of people — sometimes as many as 50 — visiting several bars and having a different drink at each of them. By the time they visit the fifth or sixth bar, everyone is somewhat inebriated, overly friendly, and the atmosphere is ideal to meet each other.
Revisit Childhood Memories
Do you have fond memories of the places you used to visit with your family? It could be a special seafood restaurant, a park with many hiking trails, or maybe a quiet neighborhood that was perfect for cycling around.
It can be quite an experience to revisit these places and see how they changed over time. If you have the chance to do it with your friends and family, it can be even more interesting as they might remind you of curious facts you may have forgotten.
Consider Staying in a Hotel or Hostel
Who said you need to leave your city to stay in a hotel? It might not make sense financially to pay for accommodation when you can just sleep in your own bed. But, the idea here is to have a different experience and really feel like a tourist in your own city.
Instead of always wondering what it would be like to spend a night in a popular hotel, why not see it for yourself? If you’re doing it on your own, consider staying in a hostel as you’ll also make some new friends.
Find a Nearby Camping Site
Sometimes, you just need to venture 30 minutes outside the city to be in the think of nature. It can be an exciting adventure to stay a couple of nights at a place near the beach or up in the mountains with beautiful lakes and rivers.
Remember that camping doesn’t have to be a hassle. Nowadays, most campsites have all the facilities to provide as much comfort as you would have back home. However, don’t be afraid to rough it a little bit.
Go on a Hiking Adventure
Hiking is an inexpensive, healthy, and challenging activity available to everyone. Most cities have at least one national park nearby, which usually has hiking trails for beginners and experts.
Some of these hikes might only be one-hour long, which are ideal for a picnic in the woods. Others can take five hours and enjoy lead to some stunning views. Either way, it’s good exercise and a great way to get people together.
Attend Different Concerts and Events
Humans are creatures of habit. As such, they tend to do the same things over and over again. However, to travel locally you need to change your mindset and try new experiences you wouldn’t have otherwise.
An interesting idea is to attend concerts, especially from bands you’ve never heard about. Also, consider attending a vintage car show or a comic convention.
Try New Restaurants
If there’s one industry that’s always reinventing itself, it’s the restaurant business. You’re either going to find new venues popping up in trendy areas or new menus in the places you already frequent.
Is there a local delicacy in your city? If the answer is yes, you could visit the top restaurants and see how they stack up against each other. You could do the same for Indian restaurants, burger joints, pizza places, and more. The options are limitless.
Support the Home Team
You don’t need to be into sports in order to attend matches and support the local team. Even the people who don’t care about soccer get together during the World Cup to scream their lungs out and have a crazy time.
Pick a sport that’s popular in your city, invite a few friends who are diehard fans, and expect a great outing. If your team wins, you might end up partying all night long.
Volunteer for a Cause
It’s interesting how many people travel to the other side of the world to do some volunteering but forget that people in their city also need help. Giving assistance to those in need can be a very rewarding experience.
Could you help feed the homeless? Maybe teach disadvantaged kids? What about making sure a local species of birds can mate and breed in peace? You usually don’t need to look far to find people or animals that could benefit from your skills.