Since graduating college I’ve been wanting to travel internationally. Unfortunately, when you don’t have the funds to do so, your plans are limited. So being the broke post-college student I am, I figured why wait for an adventure in the eastern part of the world, when I can just travel within my own country by traveling domestically?
The thought of domestic travel used to be boring to me because my family and I took road trips all throughout my childhood, but our constant travels were mostly limited in the east coast. I’ve never been to Île de France, but I’ve never been to Montana either. I want to visit Amsterdam one day, but New Orleans sounds just as awesome. As attractive as international traveling may seem, it’s expensive and you can always find an alternative.
So I began taking interest in traveling domestically. The United States is a vast and huge country, offering a diverse history in every region, state, city, locale and neighborhood.
For those of you cash-strapped people with a travel-itch like mine, start researching new cities and areas you’ve never visited, here in the country.
How does one start?
Learn about your own city and state
How many people can say they’ve done extensive traveling in their home state? A lot of people spend all their lives living in their city or state, but don’t explore it enough. I’m guilty of this. I’m from New York City, and out of the five boroughs that make this city, I usually only flock to two, never really venturing out to the lesser known boroughs to see more. I can’t say I know upstate New York well either. Up until recently I broke this habit, and took a bus trip to Schenectady.
Visit a state capitol (including your own)
Or visit another popular city in your state. There’s so much to do and learn. Nowadays every city and state has a website that explains touristic activities one can do. Every state also has cities that differ in culture. Some might prefer Nashville to Memphis (Tennessee), or Dallas to Houston (Texas), or San Diego to Los Angeles (California). Either way, you’re exploring new places.
While you’re there, see if you can visit a national park.
When you arrive in a new city, take a tour. If you know absolutely nothing about a city the quickest way to learn some 101 information about it is through sightseeing. You may be limited in what you’ll be shown of course, but you’ll probably learn something from the bus guide that a book or brochure won’t tell you.
Visit a region you want to know more about
There are fifty states in this country, each in different diverse parts of the country. There are lesser known areas worth visiting at least once. The Rockies are a sight to see in the mountainous Northwest. The pacific Northwest and New England boasts of mild weather and awesome coastlines. The Southwest is home to the largest deserts in the U.S., as well as natural landscapes, and the Southeast is home to the most authentic of American culture and history.
Take Advantage of Layovers
Never mind that flights with stops are cheaper, if you’re traveling somewhere by plane, choose a flight that will have a layover so you have an excuse to make a brief visit somewhere. Perhaps you’ve never been to the city you switch flights in.
Cheaper Traveling expenses
If you’re wise with your money you will save a lot. There are benefits to road trips— you are your own guide and you have the ability to explore even more when you reach your destination. But if you can’t afford or don’t have the energy (or company) to take a road trip, most bus lines offer very cheap prices to take or connect you to most major cities in the U.S.
Do Short Day Vacations
A full-week vacation can blow through your wallet if you’re already strapped on cash, so limit your travel stays to 2-3 days. Make sure you book and reserve the earliest as possible (including tours & sightseeing). The earlier you book, you’ll find cheaper and affordable prices for whichever mode of travel you choose (plane, bus, or train).
Simply do a lot of research. It’s OK to want to travel, but you also can’t just up and pack and say you want to visit LA without knowing what about the city you want to see, where you’ll stay, how long you plan on staying, and how you want to spend your time there.
But to soothe a travel itch until you have the money to go out of the country, do some local traveling within the country.