When you think of travel, you probably think of exotic countries on the other side of the world. While there is mass appeal to long distance travel, it isn’t possible for everyone, nor is it everyone’s preferred type of travel. Some people can’t and don’t want to be far from home for extended periods of time. Here are some excellent short distance budget travel options for the traveller that prefers staying close to home.


If you’re low on funds or don’t want to muck up the environment with long distance travel, a staycation is exactly what you’re looking for. The secret to a successful staycation is to treat it like an actual vacation. Put together a quick vision board. Research interesting activities in your area. Pretend you’re not from your city. Make an itinerary and stick to it. Make reservations at that restaurant you’re normally too busy (or lazy) to go to. Book a spa day! Do the activities that all the tourists do that you’ve taken for granted. Buy tickets to an upcoming concert. Go have fun! Above all else, avoid your daily routine.

Visit A Nearby City

You don’t have to go to the other end of the world to enjoy a trip. Vacation mode can kick in somewhere closer to home. Go to a nearby town or city and be a tourist there. There’s major upside to this type of budget vacation. You don’t have to learn a new language, change currency or book a plane ticket. Buy a bus ticket or train ticket, take your car or find a ride share on a site like Craigslist. Plan your activities and get on your way.

I was raised in Montreal, and I’ve taken advantage of the big city feel of Toronto, slower pace of Ottawa (Canada’s capital city), the rich history of Quebec City or the small town charm of Saint-Sauveur. None of these cities are anything like Montreal and I always have lots to do when I visit. I can also go to the U.S within a few short hours. It makes for a great road trip.

Host A Couch Surfer

Couch surfing is an amazing way to score free accommodation and make friends while you’re out in the world. It’s also a great way to make friends from the comfort of your own home. You’d be surprised how different your own city feels when you’re seeing it through the eyes of a visitor. Be a great host, make new friends and become a local tour guide. All you have to do is sign up for a site like Couchsurfing. Give it a try, you won’t regret it.


You want to travel, but you don’t want to do the typical tourist thing. You want to go somewhere you’ve never been to do something meaningful, something that will help restore faith in humanity. Why not do a volunteer “vacation” in a foreign country? You get to be somewhere new and absorb a new culture from a very unique vantage point. Work with disabled children or orphans. Help battered women or the elderly. Give a helping hand to a farmer. You have plenty of options. Many organizations will feed and house you in exchange for your help.

Don’t want to spend on a plane ticket? Mix your staycation with your volunteer work and spend your vacation time helping out local not for profit organizations. Speaking from experience, they can aways use a few extra hands.


Travel is an irreplaceable experience, but hiking, swimming, walking and a number of other activities ca be very tiring. Every once in a while, it’s okay to clean your apartment, load up on groceries and vegetate. Put on your favourite music, order some takeout and catch up on some of those TV shows everyone’s been talking about.

Feeling a little more social? Put together a playlist on Spotify or Songza then pull out a deck of cards and some board games. Send a group message to your friends telling them to BYOB (bring your own bottle) and 5-10 dollars to order take out. You’ve got yourself a house party. Make sure no one drinks and drives!


Camping is a cost effective way to do something different either alone or with friends and have a great time. Do groceries and bring all of your own stuff. There’s no sense in camping in the wild and eating every meal in a nearby restaurant. Pitch a tent, get the full experience of spending time in the wilderness. Most campsite fees are no more than $30-40 CAD

Not made for the outdoors? More and more campsites are making cabins available to the people who like the outdoors but don’t want to spend all of their time in the woods. Some people need the comforts of home wherever they go, and that’s okay.

There are plenty of ways to experience travel and the world. If long distance or long-term travel isn’t for you. Try exploring somewhere closer to home. Short term travel is great for those who aren’t in the best financial situations or can’t stray too far because of health or family duty. The most important part of travel is gaining new experience and insight into the world and yourself.

Did you find this post informative? Do you have any other short distance budget travel alternatives? Leave a comment or response below. Hit me on Twitter [at]DriftAway2015 or like and comment on my Facebook page, Drift Away – Travel Blog and follow me on Instagram [at]godriftaway for all of my recent travel photography.

Until next time,

Drift Away.


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