When someone says “vacation” or “travel,” what’s the first image that comes to mind? Is it long rides on a plane or a train? Do you think about traveling to faraway places where people speak a completely different language and the culture is relatively unfamiliar to you?

Yes, these all sound like a dream vacation, but what if you can have a dream vacation right in your own backyard? This year, local travel is going to increase in 2023, with many travelers intent on staying close to home and/or within their own country. At first glance, this may not seem as enticing as a globe-trotting trip, but you’ll find that local travel has as many upsides to it as going abroad.

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Supporting local businesses


By traveling locally, you can help support your local economy by frequenting small and local businesses. Sure, large retailers can be great for quickly grabbing something you need, but there’s something comforting about a small mom-and-pop store and the warmth that comes with it. Take a chance to not just boost your local retailers, but support smaller businesses in your own neighborhood.

Save money


Let’s get down to one of the more practical reasons for traveling locally: the savings! You won’t have to shell out money for airfare if you’re staying nearby. If you’re going on an overnight trip, you won’t have to worry about booking a hotel or AirBnB for the duration of your stay. And, if you decide that you would like to spend a few days away from your home, HomeExchange is an affordable way to travel without breaking the bank. You can home swap with any of our 100,000 members, including ones that may very well be nearby. Even if you don’t live in a well-known cultural hub, there are plenty of people who want to explore places that are off the beaten path or who would like to travel locally as well.

Protect the planet


Did you know that local travel can decrease your carbon footprint? When you cut back on traveling to faraway destinations, you cut back on the necessary means of transportation, like a plane or cruise ship, which can cause pollution and negatively affect the environment. By traveling locally, you are more likely to have access to greener methods of transportation, like cars, buses, and trains.

Uncover hidden gems


How well do you really know the area around you? Do you know every nook and cranny, every hotspot and rare find? When traveling locally, you have the opportunity to find or visit locations that you might not usually go to. Before your trip, read some local newspapers and travel blogs to find anyplace that you haven’t been to and that you’re interested in and add it to your itinerary!

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Travel more frequently


Since you won’t be venturing far away from your home, traveling locally means that you can go on vacation more often. You can take a day trip on a whim, go on a weekend adventure a month later, and spend a long weekend exploring your surroundings during the holidays. Gone are the days of planning a single trip for the year: If you opt to travel locally, you can enjoy multiple trips annually.

Flexibility in scheduling


Being so close to home means that you can cancel or alter your plans with little to no hassle. You most likely won’t have to worry about expensive plane ticket refunds or the frustration that comes with rescheduling everything, or even losing out on a deposit. This also means that it’s much easier to plan a spur-of-the-moment trip if you’re nearby and it’s simple to access your destination. It also takes away the stress of planning to be away from home for so long (like arranging for a house or pet sitter).

Learn about local history and gain a greater understanding of your surroundings


Think about it: Have you ever toured your city or town like a tourist, rather than as a citizen? It’s very easy to get used to your surroundings, and only visit familiar places like the grocery store, the nearby park, or your favorite local restaurant. It’s great to call someplace home, but it can be even better to experience your hometown in a new light. Hop on a tour bus, visit a local historic site, or patronize the local hotspots. You’ll learn about the history of your surroundings, see your city through the eyes of a tourist, and open your eyes to new possibilities.

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By choosing to travel locally, think about the money you’ll save, the appreciation you’ll gain, the good you’ll do for the planet, and the advantage of re-discovering your surroundings from the perspective of a tourist. If you’re ready to start planning your next local adventure, HomeExchange has a community of 100,000+ members that are more than willing to swap homes with you!