The New York Times recently called out the idea of ‘small travel,’ and how applicable it is to this time. The world is reopening, but many are still feeling hesitant to dive back into booking flights to international destinations, where the state of health and other regulations are still potentially in flux. (Plus, once you arrive wherever you’re hoping to explore, there’s the skyrocketing cost of rental cars right now … if you can even get one at all.)
PLEASE EXPLAIN …
Small travel speaks to staying close to home, while cultivating the feeling that you’re far away. Think ’staycation,’ but not in your own house or apartment. According to the Times, “it’s part of a changing perspective on travel engendered by the pandemic.” Finding rest, relaxation and rejuvenation without a ton of logistics and distance covered.
BUT WHAT ABOUT ROAD TRIPS?
Road trips are, of course, at the forefront of the conversation this summer. But what if extended time in the car just isn’t your thing? What if you don’t have a vehicle to support the journey? What if you’re negotiating small children, and pet care, and a variety of other considerations that make a multi-hour or multi-destination excursion seem completely overwhelming?
OK, WHY EXACTLY IS THIS COOL?
Viewing your own hometown and the surrounding areas with the fresh eyes of a ‘tourist’ can bring an entirely new perspective to what is right at your fingertips. Think about whether there’s a spot not so very far away that you’ve always wanted to visit but just somehow haven’t found the time. This is your moment! With a little curiosity, even a 15-mile change of scenery can become an adventure you never expected. Or, the most peaceful escape you didn’t have to work very hard to create.
I’M LISTENING …
Not only is small travel more environmentally friendly — and let’s be honest, the climate could probably use as much help as it can get these days — but less time getting there means less ‘off work’ time you’ll have to spend in transit rather than simply enjoying yourself. Plus there are no flights involved, no screening tests to schedule, and no rental cars to worry about (see the above point about escalating prices and limited availability).
Meanwhile, by avoiding the associated costs of all those things, you can potentially splurge on more experiential indulgences that you might not otherwise have considered — a more luxurious booking, a full day of spa treatments, a local attraction you’ve never experienced like hot air ballooning or deep sea fishing.
And if you zoom out a little, discovering what’s interesting about the place you live can have a dramatic effect on your overall life satisfaction. Maybe you’ve lost sight of why you chose that area in the first place? Maybe you moved there for work and haven’t yet felt like it is the kind of ‘home’ you connect with? Understanding that there is something nearby that lights you up and feels like a vacation means you’ll always have that in your back pocket for the next time you have a free weekend or want a quick getaway.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
The key is to step out of your normal, daily routine. According to Forbes, one place to look might be cities that have taken a hit in business travel. While you can pretty much always find great hotel rates in urban meccas that don’t necessarily qualify as ‘resort’ areas, this year could be even more affordable because hotels that look to conferences and meetings are more vacant than usual. Consider: museum-hopping instead of island-hopping, with some new dining and experiences in the mix.
If you’re already a city-dweller, locales and nature areas with walking, hiking, and biking trails are a great way to de-stress and relax, as are, of course, waterfront and beach areas. If you’re feeling REALLY adventurous, pick somewhere without cell service (or maybe just without wifi, at least!)
Once you’re wherever you’re going, explore as you would at a farther-away destination. Check websites like Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure, which provide city guides for almost anywhere in the country and beyond. Lean into the idea of having an open mind about a place you’d already assigned as ‘familiar,’ and you might be surprised at what you discover.
And of course, the other benefit of small travel is that partnering with a private transportation service like UrbanBCN Worldwide to get you from place to place makes complete sense. The distance isn’t so great, and that extra measure of relaxation and care can really round out the whole experience in a beautiful way. Ready to start planning? We’re always taking inquiries and bookings via our website reservation form, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can call or text +1 415 494 8122.