Is flying just not in the cards right now? Whether you have fear of flying or you don’t have the means to purchase a plane ticket – you’re craving an alternative method to satisfy the travel bug.

I have shared with you alternative methods of travel before. However, we’re going to look at using one of those methods in conjunction with local travel. Local travel may not appear to be worth your time because you’re traveling within your state. Although, the notion of travel is nothing more than an enabler to more experiences.

So… if not having enough money hinders travel plans out-of-state, then let’s think micro. We’ve talked about not going too big to start off and instead go small. By traveling local, we’re going even smaller to seek activities that are at most an hour away from where we live.

Why Only An Hour Away?

When looking for something to do locally, I recommend searching for an event like a convention. If you’re interested in checking out a major convention, you’re most likely going to have to venture out to a major city in your area. The hour away concept allows you to take a road trip without the looming feelings of anxiety that can seep in on long road trips.

If you’re new to traveling, starting with an hour is a good starting point to see if you can withstand that length of a road trip. You want to enjoy your travels as part of the entire experience. If traveling becomes too stressful or a bother, you’re not going to do it anymore. If you start with just an hour in the car, you’ll know if you’re willing to try two hours next time. However, if one hour is too much to handle, then that’s when you know you need an alternative method of transportation.

It’s important to not dismiss local travel and embrace what things we can do in our nearby cities. I’m guilty of this myself. I’ll find myself unsure of what to do in my hometown on Long Island. We tend to get into this mindset because we’ve lived somewhere for a long time and your surroundings tend to become commonplace. Yet, when we go to a new state, it’s unfamiliar territory so everything’s exciting and new. We can replicate this in our local travels by researching what types of interesting activities are going on. There’s more to do in your home state than you may realize. The familiarity we live in can cloud our judgment and force us into the preconceived notion that there’s nothing to do.

An Experience You’ll Never Forget

As I mentioned, I’ve been guilty about downplaying the benefits of local travel. It’s important not to discredit going somewhere local or getting into the frame of mind that this isn’t traveling. Your main objective is to get out of the confines of your immediate surroundings like the town you live in, the local businesses you’re always used to seeing, or even the local roads you use every day.

I no longer have the mindset that local travel is not worth my time. Instead, I’m seeing that it’s enabled me to feed my need to explore. For example, I’m a huge fan of superheroes and comic books. I’ve always wanted to go to a Comic-Con event, but always thought it wouldn’t fall into my price range. As a budget-conscious traveler, I want to make my money go the furthest to ensure the most amount of enjoyment possible. I’ve made it a priority to go to a NY Comic-Con every year and it’s been completely worth it. I’ve enjoyed myself every single time. To make sure I’m saving money, I only go to the convention on a Saturday (the event runs Thursday through Sunday). This enables me to use my money to buy new comics and collectibles which brings me a lot of joy.

You, too, can experience this same type of joy for whatever your hobby may be. All it requires is some research on your part. By following my advice and putting in a little effort, I was rewarded with multiple entertaining experiences. The second was also a convention except this one was held in the suburbs of Long Island called Eternal Con. I thought both conventions, especially NYC Comic-Con would be out of my price range. Shockingly they were both reasonable given their location – $30 and $65 respectively.

The message of this story based on my own experiences is to give your local area a chance. Also, think about what your interests are and search for conventions with those interests in mind. There are so many conventions out there and everyone’s hobbies are being accounted for more and more.

A Low Barrier To Entry To Fulfill Your Exploration

Having a low barrier to entry with local travel is such a plus. It all can be had with a willingness to take an hour road trip. You’re not spending money on a hotel, you’re not spending hundreds of dollars to fly, leaving you the flexibility to spend your disposable income on what makes you happy. You’re not going to find a more efficient travel option than local travel. It’s cost-effective traveling at its finest.

If you choose to find somewhere to travel locally, you’re taking the first steps in your journey to traveling more. It’s all about taking small reasonable steps to be a United States Traveler. You aren’t going to be able to do everything you want early on, so seek out what you can do in your stomping grounds. I know this can be a discouraging feeling if you aspire to visit Hawaii, so I have a counter to this way of thinking.

When you’re marking off the places you’ve explored in the United States, can you mark off your local area/state when you’ve done nothing except live there? Living someplace doesn’t necessarily mean you experienced it. So make sure you don’t dismiss your area as I did for a long time. Then and only then can you say you’ve truly explored your local surroundings.

I want you to keep the following in mind when you’re traveling locally in your area…

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”

– Seneca

Overcoming The Obstacles Of Local Travel

In some scenarios, you may face some obstacles in your local travels. For example, not living in a state where conventions take place. You could also face a road trip that takes more than an hour by car. Quite possibly, the most frustrating could be not having a car to take a road trip. Maybe you don’t know where to find a convention in your area.

Yes, stumbling blocks can occur whether you’re planning a domestic or local trip. It’s all about how you assess the current situation presented to you and come up with a resolution.

If a convention doesn’t exist in your state, you can always take a road trip to the next closest state. I live in New York, so I could look for conventions in New Jersey. That would add on about an hour to my trip. Even though I said it’s best to start with an hour road trip, when you face these obstacles, you’ll have to make comprises. When you get backed into a corner and you’re forced to take a longer road trip than you anticipated, you’ll learn right away if a road trip longer than an hour is for you.

If you don’t own a car, you can either carpool with a friend or do what I do and take a train (I own a car, but I prefer not to drive into the city). Additionally, I recommend going to a convention with friends or family. However, if you’re dead set on a traditional in-car road trip, but you don’t have a friend to carpool with, then ask a friend you work with. All of my friends moved away to different states, so now I hang out with my friends from work.

If you want to find conventions in your area, all you need to do is run a search on Google. I know, that piece of advice sounds pretty generic. However, I know some people may not know the keyword phrases to use to generate the best results. I always type in “conventions [state]” to start off and then I’ll try an even more narrow search like “conventions [city]”. By doing this, you’ll find yourself on the right track.

The Ball Is In Your Court

You’re wanting to take that road trip and do some exploring. Taking that first step and getting micro as we talked about is your ticket to more adventures. While local travel is best for those on a budget, it can open your eyes to so many things that exist in your state that you didn’t know was there before. Who knows? You may find yourself going on more road trips than you had done previously.

So now I want you to start doing some research on Google. Use those keyword phrases to find a local convention (or some other event) nearby. Don’t stress if you need to travel a little further than expected. Always be moving forward in this process. After you’ve found a convention, decide how you’re going to get there – car, carpool, train, etc.

I think what’s great about local travel is the money spent is a fraction of what you’d normally find yourself spending on a domestic flight. The biggest complaint people always have with traveling is money. Now, you have an alternative option. So get to searching and in the comments below, share what you find and let us know what you will choose. If I can help, let me know!

The Budget Planner
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