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Local getaways can do a lot to fix the pesky “travel bug!” For President’s Day weekend, I spent four days enjoying the Jersey Shore, especially all the little artisan shops and restaurants which dot this state’s coastline. Yeah, it was the “off season,” but the shore attracts a lot more visitors year round than it did when I was growing up in the southern part of the state. Naturally, I was thrilled to have a chance to relax and forget about all the stressors in my life. It was a vacation.
Sadly, I think local getaways are undervalued in the exciting world of travel. We tell ourselves “oh, I can always visit that place later, it’s just two hours away,” to devalue a local trip. We need to stop. Local getaways can brighten any weekend. Furthermore, it’s especially important for busy workers (I see you) to take advantage of whatever is in the area.
And, as travelers, shouldn’t we have open minds? Why should we write off the places closest to us? Aren’t they worthy of exploration too? I mean, think about it!
So here are 5 reasons why local getaways are fantastic! When you’re done reading, your homework is to google interesting towns, cities, and sights within a two hour radius of your home. You may be super surprised at what you discover! Enjoy!
1. You Save Money and Time
Travel is expensive and time consuming. Make no bones about it. Sure, travel is also life changing and you can save money, but you can’t deny that taking an international trip sucks a lot of your resources. A single ticket from Newark Liberty to London Heathrow can cost $600, probably way more if you’re traveling in peak season. An international plane ticket alone is not exactly a purchase to make on a whim, because we all have bills to pay and food to keep on the table.
However, with local weekend trips, you may only spend money for gas, food, and activities. No plane or hotel costs wrecking havoc on your beloved wallet! It’s perfect.
Furthermore, bigger vacations take time. You may need to take off two weeks from your job to fly across the globe. Instead local getaways might only cost you a single afternoon, which is perfect for those busy times we all experience at some point in our lives!
Saving time and money are definite benefits to taking local trips.
2. You Can Do A “Last Minute” Trip
This reason ties into the whole concept of saving your precious time. Unless you’re quite privileged, you have responsibilities and obligations, such as jobs, children, and errands, in your life that requires you spending your time. And yes, money is a factor. So when you travel to other parts of your home country or overseas, you need to plan well in advance to get the best prices for plane tickets. Sure, you can capture some “last minute” deals, but most of our jobs can’t offer us such flexibility. I know as a teacher I will never ever enjoy those wonderful discounts that comes with booking a cheap ticket in mid-January. Alas.
However, with a local getaway, you can hop in the car and leave the very same day you decide to take a trip. This spontaneity is wonderfully healthy. We all know the popular quote about routine being lethal. Well. It’s so true. Nip routine in the bud.
A change of scenery, even if it’s close to your house or apartment, can work wonders for your mental health. When I drove to my apartment from the shore, I felt completely and totally rejuvenated, and ready to take on the week.
3. You Develop An Appreciation for Home.
I learn so many surprising things about New Jersey whenever I take a drive around my home state. I slowly come to realize my home state is not only a place filled with highways, sky-high property taxes, lousy drivers, and other assorted headaches. We have the shore. We have cute university towns. We have amaaaazing restaurants. And, being one of the original 13 colonies, we have a lot of history packed into a small mile radius.
My point is that we tend to ignore our home and see it as a place where we sleep, eat, work, do chores, etc. We never view home and vacation through the same lenses, so developing this newfound appreciation takes some mental shifting.
When you take a local getaway, try to learn something new about your immediate area. You may be surprised at what you discover.
4. You Can Give Back to Your Local Community.
Sustainable travel is important at a social and environmental level. You don’t want to damage the places that you’re so keen on visiting. And a big part of traveling responsibly is ensuring your money goes to the locals rather than huge corporations. You want your cash to “stay close to the ground” and truly benefit individuals who already work hard to provide a living for themselves and their families.
When you travel locally, you can better support family-owned shops and restaurants, as well as take other steps to ensure your money benefits your local community.
And honestly, you can even make friends with business owners more easily when you keep travel local. I love being a “regular” at some of the shore establishments! The familiarity and friendliness, which comes with a smile and a “Hi, Rachel! How are you?”, always makes me feel special. I know I mentioned the importance of a smile in my solo travel posts. Utilize that smile on your local getaways too! You never know what relationships may come from such a simple action!
5. Local Getaways Will Make You Patient.
I talk a lot about traveling with anxiety. Even though it’s more than possible to complete an international trip if you’re an anxious person, these local getaways will make you feel even more patient and prepared, and eventually, you will transform into a travel pro! Ta da!
By taking a local trip, you can see how you would react if you got lost or missed a dinner reservation, and at the same time, not suffer from too many consequences. You will have a chance to build your confidence in a “familiar” area – which is worth its weight in gold! This patience will take you far in life.
What have been some of your favorite local getaways? Share all your experiences in the comments.