In today’s day and age, where we’re inundated by images of far-off places and stories of people who quit their jobs to travel the world, it can be easy to get swallowed by envy and the desire to get away from it all. Just as easy as speeding through and barely enjoying a vacation that you try to pack full-to-the-brim with as many sights as possible. But breaking out of your own rut doesn’t have to require plane tickets or drastic career moves. And you don't have to see every tourist trap to have a good time on your next trip. Two current top travel trends are not only smart — they're highly accessible.
This is the last post in this year's Guide to the Perfect Summer, and though the summer is almost over, we wanted to leave this travel post for last. Even if you've already taken your trips this summer, you can take the advice in this post to make the last bits of your summer travel even sweeter, as well as continue finding fun and adventure all year long. If you didn't take any trips this summer because of lack of time or money, then the ideas below mean there's still a way for you to squeeze in some adventure this summer.
Can't go far? Don't have a lot of time? Don't have a ton of money? Try microadventures.
Do you dream of climbing mountains? Backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail? White-water rafting down churning, scenic rivers? No one's saying you shouldn't plan or aim for such life-altering adventures — but they're not the only adventures to be had in this big world. And when big adventure goals are unattainable to you because of time or budget right now, it can be easy to assume there's nothing to do. But your own backyard, your own city, your own state are full of things that you've never seen or done.
There was a great New York Times piece interviewing adventurer Alastair Humphreys about the idea of microadventures (he recently wrote the book Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes).
Like the staycation of recent years, a microadventure doesn’t require you to learn a new language or get over your fear of flying. But it does challenge you to look at your world in a different way. The idea of microadventures encourages you to explore a little wilderness in your backyard, take even a short camping trip an hour or two away from your house or see a side of your town you've never ventured out to before.
Simply put, though yes, great adventures can be found in the world's most far-flung places, if you look hard enough, they can be found a lot closer to you, too. Humphreys insists that a microadventure has to at least involve staying out overnight, but we're willing to be a little more lenient. We challenge you to take any time you have off this summer — whether it's an evening, a weekend or longer — and see the world near-to-you in a new way.
Make the time you do have away count more: Slow down.
The other top trend this summer is slow travel. Like the slow food movement, slow travel encourages you to, well, slow down. Not wake up each morning at dawn to fill every moment of your day with a dizzying and exhausting mix of tourist traps and must-Instagram sights. Instead, find an apartment on Airbnb to stay in for a week or longer if you do go some place other than your home this summer. Laze around and cook a breakfast with local ingredients like the locals do.
Linger at long meals at restaurants a local told you about (not one rated the next must-eat place by some travel guide). Slow travel is about focusing in on how someone lives at your travel destination — how they buy food at a local market and what they do. It's about discovering the culture of a place by really discovering it (not the version of it you think it is). And, while this isn't a requirement (more a mere suggestion), you should maybe consider going completely tech-free for an even slower, more immersed vacation.
There's science behind the fact that spending your money on experiences, and not things, will make you happier, according to this Fast Company article. And a slow living expert expounds on the importance of slow travel in this Guardian piece: "Pico Iyer on the art of slow travel."
Will you be doing any slow travel or microadventuring this summer? Tell us about your plans.