How to Satisfy Your Wanderlust When You're Broke AF

Traveling is on everyone’s bucket list. It’s almost as if we’re instinctively curious to discover new lands, cultures, and people. In this digital age, people’s travels are documented all over social media which can encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone even more.

However, backpacking through Europe isn’t fiscally reasonable nor possible for everyone. Here are some ways to satisfy your wanderlust when your wallet isn’t full of travel change.

Discover new local shops and museums

When you’ve lived somewhere your whole life, you can fall into a routine of visiting the same shops and sources of entertainment. It can make home feel a little too comfortable, causing you to yearn for a change in Bali or Cancún. However, there are always chances to reach outside the normalcy of things, even in your local area. Drive outside familiarity and learn about the history of your town. Visit museums and parks. These can make you feel a little bit more exotic even though you haven’t broken the bank and traveled far.

Monica, a senior from the University of Washington, says, “I started going to a new café every week just to change it up a bit, and I even became friends with some of the baristas!”

Making small changes as Monica had can make home life seem just a tad bit more exciting!

Find adventure at home

Yes, skydiving in Australia sounds amazing if you’re an adrenaline junkie. Videos on YouTube of people having the time of their lives doesn’t make it easier either. But wanderlust isn’t just about going somewhere new; it’s also about doing something new and experiencing something different. Thankfully, you can quench your thirst for adrenaline by doing adventurous things at home as well.

Do you live near the ocean? Try surfing lessons. Live near a lake? Find some diving board areas. Live more inland? Amusement parks can do the trick! Did you know that the tallest rollercoaster in the world is actually in New Jersey? But if you’re still itching to do something a little more dangerous, look up ziplining, bungee-jumping and skydiving in your area. You’d be surprised at how many American states have activities for adventurous types. You don’t need to travel to another country just to do something fun and exciting.

Jessie, a sophomore from Rowan University, says, “My boyfriend and I went to this wolf farm that was only 30 minutes away. It was amazing and it felt like I went into uncharted lands even though we weren’t far away.”

You might be surprised what kind of bold things you can do without hopping on a plane.

Make the most of what you have

Traveling is amazing for obvious reasons, but it’s limited because of the cost. And that means you can’t just invite all your friends to the south of France whenever you feel like it.

But you know what you can do? Use what you already have at home so you aren’t spending money just to spend time with your friends. Have a blanket? Have a picnic. Have a car or can borrow someone’s? Go stargazing. Live near a trail? Go for a hike. Buy a disposable camera and capture the moment, not to post it online, but to remember that you don’t need to travel just to spend time with your loved ones.

Jo, a junior from Lehigh University, says, “I went on Pinterest to find some inspiration and found this picture of a drive-in movie theater. My friends and I drove to the nearest one an hour away, and it was like a mini-road trip!”

There are so many local events happening, especially in the summer! Take advantage of the free things in life and make the most of it.

Eat something you normally wouldn't

Isn’t traveling all about immersing into a unique culture and stepping outside your comfort zone? Next time you’re picking somewhere to eat, try something a little unusual. It may end up being a cautionary tale or an amazing one, but the point is that you tried! The same situation would happen if you were in a different country trying a new dish for the first time. Your taste buds get to have a little taste of a different culture.

We hope that, with these tips, you’ll be more inspired to make your local area feel new and exotic. You can learn a lot about yourself by trying new things, and life is all about growing. Good luck!

Stephanie is a junior at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where she is currently studying international relations with a minor in psychology and economics. When she's not researching and writing assigned articles for Her Campus, she is involved in extracurriculars on campus such as the Kappa Delta chapter, and Student Political Action club. Stephanie hopes her future consists of making the earth a more sustainable environment, helping underprivileged minorities, and advocating for women's rights. Additionally, her interests include dogs, green tea, and travelling. You can find her on Instagram at stephanie.huynh_

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