If you’ve read Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance, then you know the taco syndrome that plagues our Yelp-obsessed generation. (Bear with me, I swear there’s a travel-related point here.) It’s this theory that we’re always searching for the perfect, well, taco in Ansari’s case. We are so intent on our need to find the perfect taco that we end up squandering our moment to eat, and leave with nothing at all.
This analogy seems so relevant, not just for food, but also for that travel bug inside you. (I told you I would bring this back.) We spend so much time looking for those big, grand adventures that we sometimes miss out on the super-Instagrammable hidden gems that are right under our noses because we end up just staying home.
But it doesn’t have to be so hard to find your amazing weekend adventures. We’ve got your back so you don’t squander your chance at that diamond in the rough.
Habitat for Humanity is probably one of the most well-known volunteering organizations, but it’s not the only one that will get you out working in your community. For example, the New York Restoration Project plants trees and greenery around the city. The organization also offers fun events around the city throughout the year.
Download GTFO (aka get the “flight” out)
If you’re in the mood for a spur-of-the moment, take-me-wherever-the-wind-blows kind of adventure, then GTFO is for you. The app makes those spontaneous trip desires oh so easy by giving you the best prices on flights to ideal locations. Basically, the app works to fill those not-so-full flights by offering competitive rates for last-minute flight deals. One reviewer said she flew from New York to Tokyo for under $600 round trip. As for trips south of the border? Those can reportedly go for as little as $400 round trip. Don’t think. Just go.
Join a gym
Where is the best place to find active people who like doing active things and have active minds like you? Yeah, a gym. Whether it’s CrossFit or yoga, there are a ton of gyms out there that are going above and beyond the studio these days. Gyms aren’t just offering classes, they’re offering connections to adventurous people who do adventurous things, like fitness studio Pure Austin, whose membership includes a private outdoor lake. Uh, yeah, an outdoor lake.
Scroll through Groupon
Groupon has an entire getaways section that is brimming with deals waiting to be snagged. Whether it’s an exotic trip overseas or a day trip right in your own backyard, Groupon has become one of my go-tos for things to do on a given weekend. Right now, you can stay at a four-star hotel in Miami for just $69 a night. Better yet, Groupon also offers all-inclusive deals, meaning you’re just $379 away from a stress-free trip to the Dominican Republic.
Join a meetup group
The days when meetup groups were only for singles is long gone. Now, there are dozens of meetup groups available for people who simply want to try new things and meet new people. Like those clubs in college, there’s something for everyone. Whether you want to hike up a mountain or learn self-defense, Meetup.com has got your group desires covered.
Check out Travelzoo
If you’re looking for that perfect staycation, Travelzoo is the app to use. This app is like Groupon, but only for fun things to do near you at great prices. For example, right now near me, there’s a deal to go explore the OUE Skyspace Observation Deck and one to go on a flight over the Pacific Ocean. And that’s just the start. You can also find cruises, hotel deals and restaurant experiences.
Google is your friend
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but local travel and event websites are a great hub for conversation among locals. Don’t just read the articles that proclaim to have 10 adventures you must try in a given city. Also take a few moments to read the comments. Sometimes, they are the keys to unlocking the real gems.
I always ask my Uber and Lyft drivers about their favorite locations in the city where they drive. It’s a great way to discover new mini adventures. Also, if you’re looking for a good staycation, then your friends and co-workers are a perfect resource for hidden travel treasures.
This post is sponsored by Land Rover.