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4 Reasons to Travel Local in 2021

In the same breath, one year ended and another began. The ball dropped, the dulcet tones of Auld Lang Syne played, and 2021 arrived with all the flourish of a year as-yet unknown. Midnight struck out 2020 (about time!) and welcomed in its place a clean slate of 365 days (and 52 weekends), each with the potential to be as extraordinary as you make them.

But what, exactly, counts as “extraordinary”? Google defines extraordinary as something worthy of attention but fails to mention whose attention that something would need to be worthy of. What if all a moment needed to be deemed extraordinary was to be worthy of the attention of the person living it? To grab that person by the shoulders and demand they open their eyes to the everyday magic, the kind of magic you won’t find scrolling through highly saturated photos of pricey, far-away places?

2021 is the year to make your every day extraordinary by simply paying attention. It’s a year for reacquainting yourself with your own backyard, for adventuring on four wheels instead of two wings, and for letting a long weekend be enough when you can’t step away for more. Make local your new global in 2021 with these four reasons why traveling in your own backyard is best.

Spend Less Time On the Go

Look up remedies for travel illnesses, and you’ll find thousands of tonics and treatments and miracle cures designed to keep you going. Search for tips for low-stress travel, and you’ll find another huge haystack of hits--without ever finding the proverbial needle. Why? Mingling with the masses in the confined cabin of an airplane is the perfect way to catch a cold, a cold that could flourish among the stress of air travel.

Sure, you can drink tea or pop vitamin C or even wear a face mask, but the only real way to avoid the sick and the stress is to steer clear altogether. Traveling locally means no planes, no crowds, and the trip is in your hands--meaning traveling locally is one of the only times your journey really will be as rewarding as your destination. Map a route that includes killer roadside attractions, can’t-miss food stops, and even public restrooms you won’t mind using. Because you can meander to your final destination rather than making a beeline, you’ll spend more time adventuring through the best vacation spots in Texas and less time navigating TSA security checkpoints.

Rediscover Your Local Area

Think you know everything there is to know about Texas? Think again. No matter how long you’ve lived here, no matter how well you think you know your neighborhood, there will always be something new to discover. From the newest restaurant on the block to a nearby town you hadn't previously considered, there are Texas destinations aplenty worth a trip in 2021.

Do the kind of research into your own area you’d do before an international (or even cross-country) trip, and you’ll uncover vacation spots that have flown under your radar, from Texas Hill Country to the Rio Grande. And because hopping in your car is less commitment than booking a plane ticket that could very well cost over a thousand dollars (depending on the destination, of course), your reasons for going don’t have to be so compelling. In the mood to try a top restaurant in San Antonio? Go. Want to catch a football game in College Station? Go. Interested in the spring blossoms in a unique West Texas state park? Definitely go. When all you need to plan is a hotel room at your destination and snacks for the ride, adventures become less a luxury and more a way of life--exactly how it should be.

Find New Favorites You Can Actually Return To

International travel is much sought after, and for good reason. There are mountains begging to be climbed and cities begging to be explored, each as majestic as the last, and each more different from the U.S. than you can possibly imagine. Yet the only time travel can truly become a tradition is when you travel locally.

No matter how much you loved the Great Wall, no matter how many memories you made in Peru, you likely can’t return every year. And with the other destinations burning a hole in your bucket list, the reality is that you may never return. But find a new favorite town in South Texas? Or a new go-to eatery in Dallas Fort Worth? That you can return to year after year, and even bring along loved ones to share in these new, special places. When you travel locally, you take with you more than a camera roll of highly Instagrammable photos. You also hold onto a refreshed list of your best places to visit in Texas--each of which you can re-experience at the drop of a hat.

Enjoy More Time Together

While a trip can be all the opportunity you need to get to know your travel partner on a deeper level or even rediscover long-time loved ones in a fresh, new light, traveling can also become more about the hustle than it is about each other. From the chaos of the airport to the confusion of the local transportation system, it’s easy to let the one you’re with fall by the wayside--unless you’re traveling locally.

In your own car, you won’t have to shout over the engine to be heard. Countless communal entertainment options like radio stations, podcasts, and eBooks also kindle conversations you can continue while en route to one of your best places to vacation in Texas. And once you arrive, there’ll be no finagling over metro tickets or counting your unfamiliar currency. Rather, there’ll be just you and the one you’re with, deliberating over which to hit first: the winery, the live music venue, or the town’s best restaurant, each of which offers a unique and enriching opportunity to connect.
This year, invite extraordinary into your life by reimaging what it means to travel. Traveling is still traveling even if it doesn’t involve a plane and a passport stamp. Even if all that stands between you and your destination is a few hours on the road, you just may get more out of that trip than you ever thought you could without leaving the state of Texas.  

Fill your days with the magic of new memories by exploring the as-yet-undiscovered vacation destinations within hours of your hometown. You never know what hidden gems you’ll find that will stick with you into 2022 and beyond.

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