Forget Paris: Why You Need a Local Bucket List

local trips
Photo: Grady Reese
Exploring your own city can be just as fulfilling and exciting as visiting a new country.

Eating dim sum in Hong Kong, roadtripping through New Zealand's North Island or kicking back on the white sandy beaches of French Polynesia—far flung destinations are staples as far as the average bucket list goes, no matter what defines your idea of a good time. Globetrotting is a game-changing experience—fact—but don't discredit the idea of playing tourist in your own city. Here's why:

It gives you an excuse to get up and get out.

Chances are, there are plenty of activities, attractions and sites to experience not far from where you call home. But just knowing that they're close by and easily accessible often leads to a severe case of procrastination. Why see it today when it'll be there tomorrow? However, you might be singing a different tune if you end up having to move without having truly immersing yourself in your own digs.

It's officially time to stop making excuses. Get out there and start compiling a list of must-see's, must-do's and must-eat's (our personal favorite) for your own city. Urban areas—big and small—are constantly evolving, and you might be surprised by what you find.

It makes you a better host.

Whether you frequently entertain out-of-town guests or play host only a few times a year, knowing what to do or where to go when friends and family swing by will make your life a thousand times easier—especially around the holidays when you have so many other things going on. Visits are also a great excuse to tackle some of the items on your bucket list that you haven't gotten around to yet. So, go ahead, hit up that buzzy new wine bar or check out a new exhibit at a local gallery of art.

It keeps boredom at bay.

You love your local hangout spots—and habits are hard to break—but why limit yourself? Variety is the spice of life, people! Make a point of test driving at least one new place per month, be it a coffee shop, boutique, restaurant or park. You might find a new favorite along the way, and if you come across a few duds, it'll just make you appreciate your go-to even more.

It allows you to see your city through new eyes.

Sure, there are plenty of life-altering experiences to be had abroad (sunset over Angkor Wat, anyone?), but you don't have to leave home to realize how good you have it. Consider creating a local bucket list a form of practicing gratitude, with each bullet point celebrating something amazing in your neck of the woods.

It'll satisfy your sense of wanderlust without breaking the bank.

Exploring more than one exotic destination per year might not be in the cards, but that's no reason to stay stationary until then, pinching pennies while you save up for your next adventure. A local bucket list gives you something to look forward to, even if it's just sipping lattes at a new café, preventing you from going stir-crazy and helping your bank account from going into the red.