Now that you understand what local travel is and all of its benefits, here are 11 practical tips to help you start travelling locally, exploring your country, region and city!
When I wrote the series back in Nov 2019, I had absolutely no idea what the world had in store. I didn’t publish the series immediately, because the idea of local travel was very overshadowed by the thousands of globetrotting travel bloggers, hopping from exotic location to exotic location. Travelling your own city and country didn’t seem like it would be a very attractive idea.
But now it’s 2020 and the tables have turned. Due to the global pandemic, international travel has almost come to a complete stop. Countries have closed their borders and those that have economies based on tourism are struggling. More than ever, the idea and notion of local travel is critical to keeping small tourism businesses alive, providing jobs for people and ensuring that the economy keeps going.
This is part 3 of a 3 part series. Read Part 1 – What You Need To Know About Local Travel here and Read Part 2 – What Are The Benefits Of Travelling Locally here.
Local travel is the idea of taking recreational travels within your neighbourhood, city, region or country. Here are 11 tips to help you make the most of your next local trip. Use these ideas to thoroughly enjoy travelling locally.
1. Wander around your neighbourhood
We are so accustomed to driving in NZ culture, that many of us haven’t been for a good walk in our own neighbourhood. Put down the car keys and walk the streets, get to know the area around your home, slow down and appreciate the neighbourhood you live in. Maybe there’s a hidden walkway you didn’t know about, maybe you’ll discover a chic cafe, maybe you’ll finally step inside that boutique store that you always drive past!
2. Find out what events are going on – annually, quarterly or weekly
Wherever you live, there are events happening all the time. Search through the council websites, facebook events or other services to find out what’s going on. Auckland’s calendar is packed with festivals including, Auckland Fashion Week, NZ Comedy Fest, Pasifika, the Diwali Festival, or the Lantern Festival, just to name a few.
3. Go to a different district/region or state
Head to a destination in your country that you haven’t been to before. If you’d like, begin with travelling to the popular tourist hotspots – like Waiheke, Northland, the Coromandel – and then discover the more hidden gems and other destinations that are off the beaten track. There’s always more to see in your district, region, state or country.
4. Visit local, regional and national parks
Parks are hugely underrated. The local parks in your city are a place of quiet, an oasis in the bustling city, visit them regularly to get your dose of fresh air! Regional and national parks are great travel destinations, many offering camping sites or huts, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in nature for as long as you please.
5. Look out for Seasonal events
Find out what seasonal events or activities are available so you can enjoy local travel all year round. Head to the ski fields in winter, a beach in summer or flower gardens in spring.
6. Eat somewhere new
Often, you don’t have to travel far to try new food. Step out of your comfort zone and get dinner somewhere you’ve never been before – eat in a different area of town! If you fancy, try a new cuisine and keep in mind that the smallest eateries are often the most authentic.
7. Airbnb, house sit or swap in the same or nearby city
If you’re tied down at a job, you can still discover new parts of your city and temporarily house sit in another suburb, or airbnb a home, while going to work during the week and exploring your “new backyard” over the weekend.
8. Travel by car, train, bus before plane
If you are booking in a longer trip, you can opt to travel a bit slower. Choose a train, bus, boat or car before purchasing that airplane ticket. You always see so much more travelling by land or sea and it truly becomes more about the journey than the destination.
9. Ride a tourist bus
Almost every big city has a hop on/hop off tourist bus service. These buses go to a number of key destinations across the city and allow you the flexibility to spend as long as you’d like at each stop. This is a great way to make sure that you’ve seen all the tourist attractions in the city. I know for sure that there are a few key spots in Auckland which I’ve never visited.
10. Go remote & unplug
Just because you’re in a familiar space doesn’t mean that you have to stay connected the whole time. Tell your friends & family you’re on holiday, set up that email responder, turn off the work phone, leave your laptop behind and disconnect. If you want, get off the grid and go somewhere remote, where there’s no phone signal!
11. Volunteer for a good cause
“Voluntourism” is a growing trend, but it’s actually much better to volunteer and do conservation work in your own country. Spend some time volunteering for a cause you believe in, participate in a beach cleanup, plant some trees or do some conservation work.
With these practical tips, I believe you have all the tools you need to plan that next local holiday. Who knew it could be so easy to refresh and relax, without all the hassle of an overseas trip?!
While travelling locally is extra important in 2020, I believe it is one of those things that we should adopt and incorporate into our lives going forward.
Let me know in the comments below the one place that you’ve always wanted to go, but you’ve never found the time to do it!