Travelling is an essential part of our life. We know it’s a luxury to be able to travel as much as we do, but a lot of sacrifice goes into it too. When we are at home we live a pretty simple life, we have to say no to so many events and invites because we are committed to saving our money for travel and experiences, and we sometimes miss out on family occasions because we’re out on the road.
Most of our best memories have been spent on the road – we’ve made lifelong friendships between bunks in backpackers, we’ve camped out in thunderstorms, we’re hiked through the real Middle Earth, and we’ve seen some pretty amazing things while out kayaking.
But this is New Zealand – and you don’t have to travel far to find spectacular scenery, long stretches of golden sand, or fairy filled forests. Depending on where you live you’re probably less than an hour away from places tourists pay thousands of dollars to see for just a day, and that makes us Kiwi’s pretty lucky. So if you want to have an adventure, but don’t have the time or the money to head too far from home, here are a few tips on how you can have an amazing adventure without even leaving your home town.
Turn your town into a giant scavenger hunt.
Make a list of significant features your town has – a prominent statue, store fronts like Smiggle, water bodies, or geological features, and get out with the kids to hunt them down. Depending on the age of your Little Explorers you may want to choose smaller items – a pink flower, three butterflies, a swing set, and limit the area to a local park. We spend hours creating and completing scavenger hunts and it is so much easier than I Spy for little ones.
Switch up the time – make a night time adventure.
Slather the kids – and yourselves – in bug repellent, pack a torch or two and an easy picnic dinner, and head out for an evening picnic. Even in summer beaches are almost deserted by 6pm, and it’s a pretty special place to watch the sunset. Or head bush and find night time creatures and creepy crawlies who only come out in the dark.
Camp in your backyard.
Last summer we picked up a pretty decent 3 person tent brand new for $15 – it won’t last forever but it held up in a few showers, and was roomy enough to live out of for a few weeks on the road. Pop up the tent, teach your Little Explorers how to make “Scary Tent Face” with the torch up to their chin, listen to all the night noises, and enjoy the experience of camping without having to set up a solar shower!
Get out and about in your neighbourhood.
We just don’t get to know our neighbours anymore! If you want to get involved in your neighbourhood a little more, and want to make a day out of it, get your Little Explorers in the kitchen bright and early on a Saturday morning and get them baking – mini cupcakes or cookies are always a winner. Drop a couple into a paper bag and help the kids deliver them to your neighbours. Chances are you’ll find another family who are looking for local playmates for their kids too!
Just get out the door.
Pack a simple picnic lunch, lots of cold water, and just get out the door. Remember all those times you’ve had to drag your Little Explorer off the playground because they weren’t ready for home yet? Imagine how amazing their day could be if you went to the park and didn’t leave again until they were falling asleep on the swing. Go somewhere with a little diversity – a playground near a river, or a beach with a forest nearby, and make a real day of being outside the house.
So there it is – a few easy ways to have an adventure with having to buy admission tickets or book fancy accommodation. For more tips and tricks on how to travel with kids, where to go, and how to do it all on a budget, you can follow our adventures around NZ on our blog, over on our Facebook page, on Instagram, or for a more behind the scenes looks at our life you can find us on Snapchat.
Blog – http://happiestwhenwandering.com
Instagram – www.instagram.com/happiestwhenwandering
Snapchat – https://www.snapchat.com/add/emmyandme13