Taking the plunge to plan a trip this summer can be stressful, especially if you take on too much. For the travel lovers, taking a big international trip every summer can be extremely tempting, but often the expense can get in the way. Domestic travel can be an awesome alternative and help you save money, but can feel rather unadventurous and sometimes boring. We’ll explore some the positives of both domestic and international travel this summer to help you make your decision, and prove to you that traveling either way can be exciting, fulfilling, and a whole lot of fun!
Exploring close to home
Most of us fail pretty miserably at exploring our own country. It can feel like our home will always be there, so we push it to the bottom of our travel lists. Even if we plan on never moving from our country and feel as though there’s unlimited time to explore it, there’s still plenty of positives to getting out and seeing it this summer.
For one, it’s extremely handy to be able to explore close to home. If someone gets sick on the trip, or an emergency happens at home, we’re already close by and can attend to it quickly. Exploring close to home also means you can potentially spend a bit more as you’ll be saving money overall on airfare and other international expenses. Consider hiring a car out of Auckland and taking a North Island road trip, or even planning a luxury escape somewhere in NZ for a relaxing local holiday.
Learning more about your own country
When is the last time you learned some history about your country? For most of us, the answer is probably not since back in our school days. Taking weekend trips from Wellington, New Zealand, for example, can bring you out to the beautiful Kapiti Coast where you could visit Kapiti Island, or find a beautiful bush walk to do. Small, local towns will often have a quirky museum or a fun nature centre where you can learn about the native bush and perhaps spot some unique flora and fauna. Use a trip as an exploration opportunity to get to know your area better and be able to spout some interesting NZ facts back at home.
One of the best parts of traveling domestically is the freedom. You can be as spontaneous and last minute as you like, since there aren’t any visas to arrange or affordable accommodation to track down. Find yourself a weekend trip where you can book a nice Airbnb or Bed and Breakfast and then just head out! The best part of a quick weekend trip is that you don’t need to plan too heavily, and can just wing it. You might discover something you weren’t expecting, like an amazing mountain bike track on the North Island, or a beautiful swimming beach.
The other beauty about the weekend trip is being able to take them often. You don’t need a lot of paid time off, and you don’t need a giant budget to afford it. Try a super spontaneous trip by packing your car up with camping gear or luggage on a Thursday night, take a half day on Friday and head out of town before the traffic gets rough. Use your smartphone to pick a campsite or local hotel in whatever direction you choose!
Part of what we long for when we travel is to be immersed. Most of us love that feeling of something new, something different, and maybe even something that scares us a bit. Getting immersed in new culture is a great reason to travel internationally this summer. Whether that means trying lots of new foods in Vietnam, or going to see a local dance performance in Europe, trying to better understand a new country’s culture is exciting and rewarding.
Try talking to locals to find out the best breakfast joint, and to strike up a conversation with someone who might be willing to tell you more about their culture. Learn a bit of the language by memorising some basic phrases to get you by. Get off the beaten path and the top 3 tourist destinations and just walk around. Don’t be afraid to get a little bit lost!
Push out of your comfort zone
One excellent benefit of traveling internationally is having the chance to push out of your comfort zone a bit. Try traveling alone to a new country, or choosing a country you never thought you’d be able to go to. If you really want to feel pushed, try something that scares you, like skydiving, or even something as simple as taking the metro in a foreign country. You’ll feel liberated and exhilarated, and ready to take on even more challenges.
Summer travel in the Southern Hemisphere means winter travel in the Northern, which can lead to some cheaper trips if you decide to head north. Off season travel usually means less people, cooler temperatures (sometimes freezing!), cheaper and more available accommodation, and smaller tours and attractions.
If you can handle the cold, try heading to a Scandinavian country to catch the Northern Lights, or to the northern United States to see bears playing in the snow. Remember to bundle up and bring lots of layers, but remember you can also rely on outfitters to provide you with heavy winter boots or other cold weather gear, if needed.
Now that we’ve gone through the benefits of domestic and international summer travel, even we are having a hard time choosing between the two! No matter what, any trip you take this summer is sure to be filled with amazing memories and incredible experiences if you remember to push yourself out of your comfort zone, try something new, and do exactly what you want to do. Have a great summer travel season!