In these strange times, we’ll do anything to feel like we’re traveling the wide world again. And while nothing quite compares with the exhilaration of landing on foreign soil, we can get new perspective on our everyday surroundings. In fact, that new perspective is dissimilar to what we experience abroad. For a taste of this at-home exhilaration, then, we present 5 local “travel” activities that feed the need for globe-trekking.
1: Host a themed backyard movie night.
We poo-pooed this when it was first mentioned to us, then we actually experienced it. Done right, this local travel activity can really make you feel like you’re enjoying a new place for the first time. Truth be told, the equipment is pretty cheap – all you need is a large cloth you can hoist up or hang from the side of your house, and a projector. The latter may seem a bit pricey, but there are some as cheap as $50 (check these out on Amazon for an excellent selection).
You can even go above and beyond and make movie-matching food and drink for the occasion and encourage people to interact in the language of the film (assuming they have at least a basic knowledge). If it’s a success, do it every month – you’ll be the darling of the travel-loving neighborhood.
2: Visit a local ethnic restaurant and speak only in the language native to the restaurant’s country of origin.
This year, we wanted desperately to go to Germany. That’s off the Tisch, of course, but we did the next best thing: We ate sausages and drank beer at a German restaurant. We even one-upped the experience by committing to speaking only in German while at dinner. While this may seem silly, we highly recommend it – you get into the experience by “living” like you’re in Germany. We were even able to converse with some of the staff in German.
Is there a country you wanted to visit this year? Pick a restaurant that serves cuisine from that part of the world and, if you can, go enjoy dinner while speaking that country’s language. It’s a nice taste of what dining in the country will actually be like – someday.
3: Go on a tour of a monument, site, or museum you’ve never visited before.
You know the old charade: Sometimes, it’s nice to be a tourist in your own home town. For a tried-and-true local travel adventure, take the opportunity to explore the landmarks of your region – especially if you haven’t done so already. If there’s a tour, take it – or set one up with a local docent/expert. Chances are you’ll feel like you’re discovering something for the first time and learning things about your area you never knew before. Kind of like you would in a new city.
4: Plan a walking tour of your community/neighborhood and take photos of interesting sites.
What do tourists usually end up doing when they travel? Eat, drink, visit cultural landmarks – and take lots of photos. Why not do the same? Plan an easy walking tour of your city, community, or neighborhood and invite some friends along. Make sure you mark stopping points for taking stellar photos (use your region’s tourism website to help pinpoint these), then share any information you know about points of interest with your fellow photographers. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, add your photos to your travel journal or scrapbook just like you would with a trip abroad.
5: Take a method of transportation you don’t typically use to visit a nearby historical site.
In the same spirit of local travel perspective-changing, find a historical site within about 50 miles of your home. Then, map out a trip to visit using methods of transportation you don’t usually use – buses, trains, etc. Spend an afternoon or day touring the site and taking photos with a friend, then stop for a meal or a snack at a restaurant you’ve never visited. Make your way back home at your leisure, discussing the most interesting historical factoids you learned during your expedition.
Do you have local travel activities you would recommend? Send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share them with other travel lovers!