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Local Travel is a Great Way to Experience New Things

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?


  1. Leo T. Ly @
    Leo T. Ly @ March 13, 2017

    I have a very similar thought when it comes to travelling locally. I live in Canada, it’s such a huge country. There are so many places that I haven’t visited yet, especially some of Canada’s most beautiful national parks such as Jasper and Banff. Heck, I live less than two hours away from Niagara Falls and I don’t think that I have done all the touristy sight seeing there yet. Maybe this summer will be a good time to start that road trip.

    • March 13, 2017

      Great example Leo. I went to Niagra with my mom for a high school graduation 18 years ago now. From what I remember the falls are stunning and there are all kinds of things to do. If you do go I’d love to see some pictures.

  2. Minnesota is a beautiful state – it’s nickname is the Land of 10,000 Lakes! I’m doing a staycation this week because I want to work on my blog, read a lot, and get back in the gym.

    I think traveling abroad would be awesome, but I’m cheap and to your point, I haven’t seen all of my local area even though I’ve lived here for 20 years!!

    • March 13, 2017

      Minnesota is actually one of those places I look forward to visiting some day. From the pictures it looks stunning. What is the best thing you’ve seen locally.

      • Well depends on your lifestyle: if you like plays and shows, there are numerous theaters near the Mississippi River. You can visit the Gutherie and go up on the observation deck.

        If you want to walk around lakes or rivers, there are a bunch near the Downtown area. Otherwise head up north to Duluth and experience Lake Superior!

 March 15, 2017

          We’re definitely a Lake and River hiking type of family. Thanks for the ideas.

  3. msrob0t
    msrob0t March 13, 2017

    I need to do this! I’m so close to Austin and there’s so many spots I want to visit there! This post helped calm my desire to travel the world 🙂 Thank you!!

    • March 13, 2017

      There are definitely a lot of fun things to do near Austin. I’ve only ever passed through but it’s a place I plan to stop some day. Once I finish with my home state of course.

  4. Personal Finance King
    Personal Finance King March 13, 2017

    I’ve lived in the same city most of my life and I still find new things on occasion, sometimes just miles from my house. One of the things that gets me out looking is when friends or relatives come to town for a visit. It forces me to do the research I should have done years ago.

    • March 13, 2017

      Great point. In some cases those friends came with me. I’m sure they enjoyed the trip even more with visitors.

  5. Mrs. Groovy
    Mrs. Groovy March 13, 2017

    We like to check out our local wineries which are only about an hour and a half away. A few years ago we also learned about a national park we never knew existed – right near us in South Carolina. But then the area was hit horribly by floods so we need to research that again. If you’re into nature and beauty there are always untapped and undiscovered wonders nearby.

    • March 13, 2017

      There are certainly some great places in South Carolina. We have some friends that live just over the line in Savannah and have stopped on the way in Charleston.

  6. Max Your Freedom
    Max Your Freedom March 13, 2017

    Nothing like a good staycation! It is pretty amazing how so many people only end up seeing their local attractions only when visitors come to town. We’ve done a pretty good job exploring our local area, we usually take advantage of a long weekend to do short trips. Unfortunately the driving distances in Texas are pretty big, so that’s one of the downsides.

    • March 13, 2017

      Everything’s bigger in Texas;). In all seriousness the one advantage you have is the distances are long but you have less major traffic obstructions on the way. (I’m looking at you Washington D.C.)

    MUSTARD SEED MONEY March 14, 2017

    Living in the DC area all my life I have not explored it as much as I probably should. I’m sure there are tourists that know all the great sites that I have overlooked for years. Last year during my staycation I did convince my wife that we should go to Luray Canverns which is an hour away. That was fantastic and I wish I had gone sooner. So doing something local again is definitely something to consider for a staycation this year 🙂

    • March 14, 2017

      We haven’t been to Luray Caverns but it’s not that far from here. Thanks for the recommendation.

  8. SMM
    SMM March 14, 2017

    Local travel is great for one day family trips. Last year we went to Gunpowder State Park which has a man made beach area. The sand was clean the water was nice and calm and there was a food bar on site to purchase snacks. We had a great time there and it was less than an hour away. I live in the DC MD VA area and there is soooo much to do around here. I feel like I will never get done sightseeing.

    • March 14, 2017

      Another D.C. person. We’ve actually been to Gun Powder and are talking about another trip this summer. We’re also talking about camping at Big Creek state park.

  9. Mr. Need2save
    Mr. Need2save March 14, 2017

    I’ve lived in the DC metro my entire life (including college) and there are still lots of local attractions I haven’t visited yet. Still haven’t been in the White House, just recently went up the Washington monument, etc.

    That said, this area has a huge number of attractions to see and we have visited many. From the other comments, it looks like I have some FIRE neighbors!

    • March 14, 2017

      I didn’t realize there were so many Fire bloggers in the D.C. Area. We drive down to D.C. about once a year, usually to hit up some of those numerous attractions. It helps that a lot of them are free or low cost.

  10. Mr Defined Sight
    Mr Defined Sight March 16, 2017

    We did just return from Florida but will be exploring more locally in the midwest this summer. It certainly does bring down the costs which everyone can appreciate. We just love seeing new parts of the country!

    • March 16, 2017

      Your not the only one. I love traveling the world. But doing one week of my four on vacation locally makes a big difference on the budget.

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