15 hacks to explore like a traveller without leaving home
Stuck in one place? Here is a list of 15 ways to travel without leaving home base, to help you become a tourist in your own town, cultivate a traveller’s mentality and beat the wanderlust.
Travelling is more than just a plane ticket, traveling is a mindset and you can start getting into that way of thinking right now, even if you're broke, or have family or work commitments holding you back from having epic travelling adventures.
Start practicing a traveller’s perspective in your own backyard and not only will you discover some local gems and have a great time in your own city but you will start to gain the skills to plan great adventures and the mental attitude to make the most out of them.
The first step is to plan your adventure as you would any overseas vacation, set a time frame and a budget and get researching local attractions and activities to get to know your local area.
· Tourist attractions – First up have a look online for the must do’s in your region. Have you actually seen all the sites and attractions on this list? Often tourists explore what a city has to offer more than the locals. So make a list of anything that sounds fun no matter how “touristy” it seems.
· Free events – While you’re online, look up free events or activities in your area, many councils have a ‘what's on’ guide that can help you add to your activity list without breaking the bank.
· Virtual tourist – There are other places you can find online to give you some more activity ideas. Sites like TripAdvisor are perfect to find quirky tourist attractions. Apps like Zomato give recommendations on the best local restaurants and even daily deal sites can give you ideas (and bargains) for local activities you might not have thought of.
· Public transport – It’s easy to drive everywhere but some of my best travel memories, have evolved around local characters I have met on the public bus. Bus and train routes are also likely to take you through an area you might not see if you drive. See a great shop or restaurant? Hop off and go explore this new part of your community.
· Taking photos – Capturing that perfect moment has become part of travelling so make sure you bring your camera along to capture all the memories. What picture can you take that sums up your city? How about a pic of the skyline from a rooftop bar or a vista that is so different you would never recognize the location? Create a little photo treasure hunt of your city adventures.
· Eating adventure – Be brave and try something new, make it a policy not to eat at any restaurants you have been to before during your adventure. What food is traditional to your city? What is something you never even knew you could get there? Eating local food is so much part of the adventure of travelling, embrace what is produced nearby.
· What makes the city tick – Is there a local festival or band that is just intrinsically your city? Is there a sporting team the whole city gets behind or a market that it’s famous for? Go to a game, see a show participate in the activities that someone visiting for the first time would associate with your hometown.
· Go to a new area - It's too easy to live in a city your entire life without exploring it fully. If you live on the west side go explore the markets on the east side. If you live near the mountains, spend a day wandering downtown. Get out of your comfort zone and explore all of what your city offers.
· History – History is a big part of culture, visit local museums to discover your forefathers. Find out when your city was settled and if there are any monuments or museums in the founding fathers honour. Get a local history book out of the library and give yourself a whirlwind lesson. You'll be surprised by the number of interesting characters and developments that created the city you know today.
· Sleepover – Get out of the house, whether you pitch a tent in a local campground or spend a night in a downtown hotel have a mini break to recharge and really get absorbed in your adventure.
· Read a book based in your city – Your local library should be able to recommend something here. Looking through the eyes of an author going on their own personal adventure is a great way to get re-inspired by your town.
· Treasure hunt – create a challenge to keep motivated. Instagram architecture from each century since settlement. Have a best burger competition. Facebook funny street names or try something like geocaching, anything that keeps you inspired to explore outside you your local haunts.
· Choose a theme or culture to explore – This is a particularly fun staycation for families. Choose a theme say history or water sports or choose a culture like China and theme all your activities around that theme, eat at a Chinese restaurant, see a movie with subtitles, visit the immigrant museum and shop at the Asian markets. These mini adventures are great to get the kids involved in coming up with ideas.
· Turn off your phone – Or at least your data. If you were on vacation you wouldn’t be checking your work emails all day, so set aside some time once a day to catch up and the rest of the time have a break from technology and make the most of your ‘me-time’.
· Talk to strangers – Travel is one of those things that bring people together, talking to strangers -though it can start out uncomfortable, is a great way of discovering new interests and broadening your horizons. Try signing up for a Meetup group, or a day tour and interact with people outside your existing circles.
So you have your itinerary sussed, whether it’s a long weekend or a range of adventures spread over several months, treat it just like you would a special holiday. Give the city your attention, marvel over the little things, try something new, wander aimlessly and take the time to talk to local characters.
Travel is a mindset, you get out what you put in and practicing looking at things with a beginner's mind will be great practice for future travel (not to mention the research, planning and budgeting you just did) and don’t forget to record your travels, whether in photos or journal you might just be surprised how many adventures you had when you look back on this one day.
If you enjoyed this article please check out my post on easily recording your awesome travel memories.