cape breton island, nova scotia, travel domestically in your home country
BC,  Local Travel,  Rest of Canada,  Travel

5 Reasons to Travel Domestically in Your Home Country

I’ll be the first to admit that I have not seen very much of my home country. Before 2020, a domestic trip to somewhere else in Canada wasn’t really on my radar. But with covid shutting down international travel these last few years, I didn’t have too many options. If I wanted to travel, I had to get on board with domestic travel in my home country.

And while there’s nothing as thrilling as getting that passport stamp, the last few years have shown me that Canada has a ton to offer and domestic travel actually is pretty great!

No matter where you live, you can find awesome adventures in your own backyard. Below I’m sharing five reasons why you should travel domestically in your home country.

Domestic travel is easy

Lost Lake in Whistler with our dog
Lost Lake in Whistler with Ellie

One of the best reasons to travel domestically in your home country is that it’s just easier! You don’t have to worry about exchanging money or currency conversions, you can (likely) speak the same language, and your cell phone is going to work without any outrageous international fees. And in covid times, domestic travel also means no (or fewer) testing and quarantine requirements. Plus, you may not have to travel as far. When you’re based in Vancouver, spending a weekend in Whistler is a lot easier than a weekend in Cape Town.

While that’s not to say you won’t have any hiccups with domestic travel, or that international travel is always difficult, it is nice to remove a few travel challenges when you travel within your own country’s borders.

It doesn’t have to feel like you’re in your home country

Mount Royal, Montreal, Quebec
Exploring Montreal back in 2016

One of the amazing things about living in a country as vast and diverse as Canada is it truly feels like you’re visiting another country when you head to a place five hours or five timezones away. We live in Vancouver and trips to Montreal where the language, architecture and delicious Montreal food is so different feel a world away.

I travel for the novelty. I love exploring new things in new places. So being able to get that experience without crossing a national border is pretty cool. Driving through Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail, seeing the fall foliage, and feasting on fresh lobster dinners felt very different from my everyday life in downtown Vancouver.

Travelling domestically helps you learn the history and culture of your own country

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Travelling in your own country can help you appreciate the history of where you live and the cultural ties you have to your homeland. When we lived in Prague, I loved going on walking tours throughout different European cities and learning about the history. But there’s something extra special about learning Canadian history where everything hits a little closer to home for me.

When we were in Halifax, we visited the Pier 21 Immigration Museum and got to learn about the immigrant experience coming to Canada. That visit was incredibly impactful for me, imagining how my own family and friends arrived in this country. I felt both a huge sense of pride but also a real acknowledgment and better understanding of some of Canada’s uglier history. Past visits to our nation’s capital, Ottawa, also provided similar history lessons.

PS: Planning a trip to Nova Scotia? Check out 22 things to do in Halifax, including the Pier 21 Museum! 

You can visit friends and family

pender harbour july 2021
Pender Harbour

Of course, a very obvious reason to prioritize domestic travel is the ability to see local family and friends. As a travel blogger, I dream about discovering new places, tasting new foods and enjoying new cultural experiences. Sometimes I forget that the best trips can be about familiar places and familiar people.

I grew up in Toronto and most of my family still lives there. I usually get back to Toronto once a year and it’s always so sweet to catch up with my loved ones and wander through my old stomping grounds. My husband’s family has a tradition of meeting up at their family cottage in Pender Harbour on BC’s Sunshine Coast every year. It’s one of my favourite trips that we go on; I love taking part in a family tradition my husband has been enjoying his whole life.

You need to travel domestically to appreciate what travel opportunities are in your own backyard!

Selfie on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Usually when we plan a trip, it’s to leave Canada. I would be lying if I said I’d pick a trip to Calgary or Quebec over a trip to Peru or Paris. But for the last two years, we didn’t have a choice. International travel was effectively closed (or heavily restricted) and domestic travel became the safer, easier, and cheaper (thanks to never-bef0re-seen discounted airfare!) choice.

The silver lining of not being able to easily hop a flight to London or Tokyo was getting to appreciate how much there is to see and experience in our own backyard. Turns out, Canada is pretty cool!

From getting engaged in Penticton, to family trips in BC and Ontario, to honeymooning in Quebec and the Maritimes, we have had an incredible time exploring our country like we never did before. I got to see my home country through a tourist lens and learned to stop taking for granted all of the amazing travel experiences Canada offers.


So does this mean I’m never going to travel internationally again? Of course not! And, if I’m being honest, I will probably still choose an international trip over a domestic one when given the choice. But I know the value of domestic travel and certainly plan to explore more of my home country in the future. I’ve got a number of places on my Canadian bucket list and I am so excited to tick them off!

Have you travelled domestically in your home country? What were your favourite domestic travel trips? 

 

4 Comments

  • Carolin

    I agree with you and all the points you’ve mentioned. “It doesn’t have to feel like you’re in your home country” is very true. Mine is Germany and it is split into 16 different states. I have been lucky to visit most of them as a kid and young adult but I often felt quite alienated in my own country the further the state was away from my home state. Bavaria for example is quite the opposite in lifestyle/religion and language to my state Berlin. I do find travelling domestically important especially before you go abroad you can benefit from experiencing your own culture first.

    Carolin | Solo Travel Story

    • Riana

      Thanks, Carolin! I’ve travelled in Germany a few times and even as a non-German person, you can feel the differences from state to state. So interesting how much our home countries have to explore and experience!

  • Peggy

    Great points! I have traveled much more in the US since Covid. It is much more accessible, sometime inexpenive and takes less planning. I do love it but I’m with you, if I said I’d prefer it to a trip abroad, I’d be lying 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.