How to Travel in Your Home Town

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Inland beach at South Bank in Brisbane
Most of us don't have the funds or the time to jetset off around the world 24/7. If you're like me and work a 9-5 job with 4 weeks annual leave a year, it can be hard to satisfy your need to travel within such restricting circumstances.

So what do we do now? This is where I like to become a tourist in my own town. We often miss the wonderful places around us just because we live there on a daily basis. Google your city and I guarantee you'll find a few unexpected places to visit and explore.

As an example, I live in Brisbane (Queensland, Australia). Less than an hour both north and south are amazing beaches and incredible hinterland forests, and inland around some lovely regional and rural towns with lots of outback history. My weekends usually involve a hike through the nearby hills and forests or a roadtrip down to the beach for some R&R.

Tips to become a home-town-traveller 

1. Let go of the everyday

Depending on your usual routine, some of you will live a lifestyle less like a traveller than others. By this I mean that some people have clear cut routines such as getting up, going for a jog, making breakfast and watching the morning news. When we travel none of that particularly matters. We get up, scoff something down and run out the door to experience something wonderful! You really need to let go of the everyday mindset and embrace the idea of "away". Perhaps this means getting up early and driving to watch the sunrise, or having brunch at a cafe you've never been to in a local town you don't visit very often. As long as you're not stuck in your normal routine you'll begin to awaken to the idea of travelling at home.

2. Eat somewhere new

We all have our favourite cafes and restaurants, but when I travel I like to be spontaneous and try somewhere random and new. To travel at home I'll often go out with a friend and just wander (or drive) around until we come across someone that looks good to eat. Not only does this mean you're doing something different, you might end up finding a really cool place that you'll fit in as part of your normal lifestyle!

3. Research local activities

Most of us probably aren't aware of all the cool and intricate workings of our home towns or local cities, so get online and find out what is happening around you. In Brisbane I'm subscribed to the Urban List, a really cool website which lists events, provides reviews of bars, cafes and the like, and points you in the right direction when looking for something a little out of the ordinary. Another thing I love about this site is the What's on this Weekend posts, keeping me up to date with what's going on in my local community. There are these types of websites all around the world, a great starting point for all the home-town-travellers!

4. Ditch the phone

I don't know about you, but when I'm overseas travelling I'm not constantly checking Facebook or texting my mates, I'm actually living in the moment and just enjoying being where I am. This is the worst thing about the social media lifestyle that we live, as we can't seem to tear ourselves away from our phones to really experience life. So when I head out on my weekend adventures, I turn onto flight mode and give my full attention to where I am and who I'm with. I would totally ditch the phone if it wasn't also my camera!

5. Take pictures and make memories

Now I say this with some hesitation as I don't mean take 500 selfies so you can find one for Facebook. What I do mean is take pictures for yourself so you and your friends can look back and reminisce. Gone are the days of hard copy photo albums, but I still enjoy flicking through all my electronic photos and getting my favourites printed. Taking pictures is a great way to hold onto your memories. You really don't need to tell the world that you're having a great time, as long as you know it. Keeping things to yourself is sometimes a blessing.


One of my favourite weekend activities is a random roadtrip. Often on a Sunday morning my friends and I will jump in the car and head off into the distance, maybe to the beach, maybe to the mountains, and sometimes with no destination in mind! Getting on the road and out of your most local areas can really make you feel more like a traveller. The open road (well at least here in Aus!) is a great way to wind down, sing your heart out and have a great time. It's also a great way to get totally lost and find yourself checking out somewhere completely unexpected!

7. Park the car and walk

We miss so much by knowing where we're going, so park the car and walk around like you would if you were in Rome! I've stumbled across boutique cafes and many markets by doing this. Not only is it great for your health to be out in the fresh air walking around, it is also a way to make you pay attention to your surroundings.

8. Join a tour

Not like a Contiki or Intrepid tour, just a day trip of the best sites or a more specific tour of the local museum or haunted hot spots! In Brisbane we have a double decker tour bus that loops the city every day pointing out the local attractions to our many tourists. This is great fun even when you work nearby some of the key points. Anything out of the norm to get your wanderlust feelings to flutter!

9. Find out why people visit your town

What is it that draws people to where you live? If you're not in a known tourist destination, perhaps look at your town and think what it is that would make you want to visit if you didn't live there. Is there an awesome view from the top of the local hill? Is there a quiet, secluded beach that people aren't aware of? Maybe there's a lake or springs that you can paddle in? Ask yourself what there is around in the natural environment as well as events and activities, as often the outdoors activities are far more enjoyable!

10. Stay the night

What better way to feel like a tourist than to actually stay overnight in your town! If you have the funds to afford a night away from the dishes and your favourite soaps, find a funky hotel with a view so you can kick your feet up and relax! Maybe have a few drinks and head out on the town, or enjoy a book on your balcony, these kind of adventures are so much fun! Keep an eye out for Mystery Hotel stays in your town, often ridiculously cheap and somewhere you wouldn't have otherwise picked (just check the star rating, we don't want you sleeping in the hay bales of the pub out back!).

Being a Tourist in Brisbane

I've given you a few hints on how to be a tourist in your home town, but how about a few examples of my own! These are a selection of some of my latest escapades, all within 1-2 hours from Brisbane and easily experienced in a day :)

Riverview Fire
Brisbane CBD

Mt Coot-tha Lookout

Coolangatta Beach
 Currumbin Wildlife
Gold Coast
Mooloolaba Beach
Sunshine Coast
Tabletop Mountain
Mt Coot-tha Forest
Walking Trail

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  1. I'm planning on visiting Brisbane next May and this post just gave me a list of different things I can go and do while there!


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