I’ve done a lot of traveling in my life. Much of that travel has been for work with tacked on vacations. During that time I’ve made friends in all sorts of locales. My friends almost all seem to have one thing in common. By the time I leave, there is almost always something local to them I’ve seen that they have not. While they each have spent a lot of time traveling, just as I have, they also neglected to experience local travel.
Examples of World Famous Overlooked Local Travel
A few years ago I visited Melbourne for work. (In fact I practically lived there off and on for 9 months, but that is a story for another day). During one of those trips I visited with a friend of mine who is a car and motorcycle nut. During my visit I went to both the Great Ocean Road and the Philip Island Moto GP racetrack. Both were fantastic experiences, but neither were ones my friend had experienced. Never mind that he had lived in Melbourne his entire life, was a huge fan of Moto GP and cars, and was located only 1-3 hours away from these locations. By comparison a few years later my mother spent a good deal of money for the trip of a lifetime just to see these same things he hadn’t bothered to visit. She wasn’t even a fan of Moto GP or cars. When I asked him why he had not done the trip it was not due to lack of interest. No, the reason was simply because he hadn’t gotten to it.
Lest you think I’m picking on my Aussie friend another example pops to mind. I did another work gig on the edge of the Welsh and England border a few years later. During that visit I ventured to several world famous castle ruins as well as toured London. I ran into people in that small town who’d never bothered to visit either location. These were well travelled people. Many of them had visited the US and mainland Europe. Again, the reason they repeated was not lack of interest, but because they had not gotten a chance to yet.
One final example in case you think this is just an English ancestry thing. In Germany I took a trip around the Nordeschliefe and visited the Porsche Museum a few years back. Yet a friend who drives a Porsche, is a devout racing fan, and lives 1 hour away had never been there. While I did not get the chance to ask him why he had not made the trip, he was awe struck that I had. He stated he was going to make plans for later that month to go visit.
Local Travel and Me
The key here is in every case these folks had an interesting local travel experience they had yet to experience. In each case it was not lack of interest, it was just simply that they had not gotten to it. Honestly up to a few years ago I too had this issue. There were many parts of my state, Delaware, I had never visited. However, with the birth of our first child travel increased in difficulty. This forced us to stay local and experience local travel. You know what? I found all kinds of interesting things to do here. I know what you’re thinking, FTF even the Simpsons made fun of how dull Delaware is. Yes you’re right, and so are they. It is a pretty boring pass through state, but that doesn’t mean there are not hidden gems if you look around a bit. Things like a small out of the way beach, a famous craft brewery tour, wild horses on a small island, or a major Airforce base can bring hours of entertainment and are all within 1 hr. And yet without the birth of our first child we’d probably have never experienced them.
By now you’re wondering why a finance blog has spent 900 words explaining why you should not overlook local travel. Well, I’ll tell you why. If you’re looking for a way to save money on your travel budget look no further. If you look closely there are likely enough things near to you to fill a few weeks of travel. Chances are good you will enjoy it just as much as that trip to Disney, but you’ll at minimum save hundreds on airfare. Depending on what you choose, the craft brewery tour in my case was free and the wild horse campground was 35 dollars a night, it also might be cheaper then entrance to some of those more famous locales. I’d recommend doing a local travel vacation once a year as it could save you at least a thousand dollars a year. For example, many attractions, particularly places like state parks provide entrance rates at a discount to residents. Many big name attractions like Disney World even provide a reduced rate to Florida residents, so its worth checking out those local attractions. One final thought, some people talk about staycations as a money saver. Yes, it is cheaper to stay at home and not travel at all even the local travel. However in general some of us, myself included are not the type to want to stay at home on vacation. I want to use my limited time off to explore. Remember life is about the journey, not the destination, therefore if you do like to explore then you should do so when you have the opportunity. However, there is nothing to say that exploring has to be 1000 miles away.
Have you explored your local area?