I believe in something I like to call 'small travel.' Small travel helps satisfy the travel bug and opens your daily life to change. This is especially important for those of us who are pushing through the day to day grind. Here are a few ways and tips for practicing small travel at different distances from your location.
CLOSE: Check out a new neighborhood or check off a place in your city that you've never been to.
Take your bike out and discover a new neighborhood. Go to that restaurant, cafe or park you've been meaning to check out. You may think you've seen it all but even a familiar place will feel different on any given day. Keep an open mindset and try to see the new even if your city has been feeling stale to you.
TIP: I like to find directions to a destination so I feel a bit more comfortable about where I am go (in the case where your city might have rough parts, it's good to at least know where you're going so your not wandering alone.) When you get to that place, you'll usually find other spots to discover around it.
NEARBY: Take a road trip and visit a nearby city, park or attraction.
Road trips are an easy way to just go. They don't require too much planning or costs. Some ideas are NATIONAL PARKS, nearest metropolitan city, beaches, amusement parks and even quaint towns off the beaten path that might have something unique.
TIP: If you don't have a car (like me) sign up for alerts from sites like HOTWIRE for rental deals or use services like ZIPCAR or CARTOGO (p.s. get a free hour in a smart car with the code HOPIN20DC_cmichelson) and you can find deals that are sometimes less than $100 for the weekend.
FURTHER: Take a train or bus to a new city or visit a friend.
Try a different mode of transportation to save on costs. What's great about bus or train rides is that you can either use that time to catch up or you can fully engage in the traveling aspect of your trip. Observe the landscape, relax and zone into traveling. If you have a someone you've been meaning to visit, make the effort to see them! You will be in good company, be shown around by a local and sometimes save on accommodations if they can host you.
TIP: AMTRAK offers quite a few discounts for students, military and even AAA members. For those in DC or NY, I have taken the DC2NY bus without any problems, my only advice never be late. The buses fill up fast and leaves exactly on time.
Small travel can also mean a small amount of time even if the location is a longer flight. Sometimes we overwhelm ourselves with the idea that because we are traveling far, we need to take advantage and send at least a week or more. While it would be amazing to go overseas or cross country for a week, a long weekend can also be enough. Remember the longer the stay the more accommodation and food cost you also need to budget.
TIP: Look for destinations on the off-season, to major cities and use the search all airports in the location you want to go.
TIPS for infusing small travel into your life.
-Be patient and flexible. Don't worry about planning too much but look at all your availability as opportunity and look at time ahead.
-Don't set high expectations instead be open to simplicity
-Observe and absorb the different environments to maximize your experience
How do you practice small travel? What's one of your favorite small trips?
all photos taken on my iphone 5s during my own small travel adventures.