I saw an article today that said AAA is estimating 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more to celebrate Thanksgiving this week. Maybe it is because we’re headed somewhere familiar or because the intention of the weekend is predetermined but it seems when we travel for the holidays we forget that this is still an opportunity to break away from the norm and explore. There is no denying holiday travel is stressful. But I do not believe we should allow that to stop us from making the most of our experience. Here are four ways you can mix a little travel fun into your holiday weekend.
Shop Small Saturday
I’m not a big shopper but I do love wandering through small local shops when I am traveling. Even if I am not buying anything (which I am usually not because of packing light and being on a tight budget), I like to check out the artisanal crafts, handmade jewelry, and one-of-a-kind clothing. I also enjoy wandering small local bookstores. I love the displays, not as predictable as Barnes and Noble, and talking to the employees about their current favorites. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, nicknamed Small Business Saturday, is the perfect day to explore local shops because many of them will be offering their own Back Friday-esque deals.
If you need even more motivation to shop local, remember that 48% of your purchase recirculates in the local community, as opposed to only 14% when you shop at a chain store (even less when you shop online).
Most likely you will spend the majority of your weekend eating leftovers but if you do go out to eat, select a locally owned restaurant. Not only will you be supporting the local economy (65.4% of your spending dollars will remain in the community compared to 34.5%) but you’ll also get a one-of-a-kind experience you can’t have at home.
Not planning to eat out? Consider picking up pies and desserts from a local bakery, instead of a big box store.
Chances are your destination has plenty of museums, hiking trails, galleries, and parks that you have not been to yet. Maybe you’ve always intended to check out the Coca Cola Museum while visiting your sister in Atlanta, here’s your chance. Have you always wanted to run the Rocky steps while in Philly? Do it. Have you been meaning to check out the State Park near your grandmother’s house? What’s stopping you?
Whatever it is, now is your chance to make it happen. Of course, you can’t do everything but try to be intentional about scheduling time for at least one of the items on your list.
Instead of viewing your drive as work, reframe your mindset. The journey should be just as much a part of the adventure as the destination. Setting the intention that your drive is not just about getting there but also about exploring will make it more pleasant.
Maybe you decide to stop for lunch in a cute little town, visit a historical landmark like George Washington’s Birthplace (here is a map of National Park sites if you want to check what’s along your route), or take the scenic route along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The point is to not take things too seriously and enjoy the experience. I also suggest downloading an audiobook or a couple episodes of your favorite podcast (mine is Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard), making a fun road trip playlist on Spotify, and stocking up on snacks.
Will you be traveling this week? If so, what do you think? Do you think you will be able to mix in a little travel fun to your holiday weekend?