Travel at Home – How to be a Tourist in Your Own City

Jetting off around the world is all very well and good when we have the time and when we can afford it – but that’s not always the case. For those of us not lucky enough to get paid to travel (a perfectly obtainable dream) life has the unfortunate habit of getting in the way. However, there are ways to banish the doom and gloom if you’re grounded for a while, so we thought we’d take a look at what’s right under your nose!

Killarney National Park

You could have lived there for years and you’ve never thought of it as a place that other people visit, right?! You might live somewhere that’s a big pull for tourists – but you’re so used to it you don’t see it in that light – especially on your daily trudge to work! So, here’s some advice for forgetting it’s your hometown, putting your traveller hat on, and how to be a tourist in your own city!

Be Intrepid

So, you’ve lived in New York for ten years you say? Have you seen it all?! We doubt it very much! There must be somewhere in your town that you’ve not been to, be it a museum, art gallery, tourist attraction, or such like.

Broadway at night, New York City

Go online and find out all the attractions your city has to offer – and you might be surprised to find something really interesting was right in front of you all along. Make a note of all the places you’ve never seen and work your way through them. Better yet, pop into a tourist information office or hotel concierge and pose as a tourist – asking what the best things are to see there while you’re on holiday. However, this might not work quite so well if you know anyone employed there!

See also  Charging Batteries At Home

Do a Tour

Most big cities now have one of those sightseeing bus tours – and don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! We can bet you’ve never done anything like that in your own hometown, so grab a friend and go super-cheesy with a tour of your own city. We’re sure you’ll learn things that you never knew, and maybe even see something that sparks an interest to visit again or for the first time.

The Hobbiton Movie Experience

Many cities offer free walking tours too, and it would be really interesting to learn things you might not already know – or show off your own knowledge if the guide starts dishing out dodgy information! Going on a tour is a great way to see your town with a fresh pair of eyes.

Check the Listings

There is always a varied and eclectic program of events taking place annually at venues all over any city around the world – so check the local listings and see what’s going on near you. When was the last time you went to the theater?

Blarney Castle

Have you ever been to see a stand-up comedy set? Are you too old to thrash your hair around at a local rock club? Regardless of what you might or might not be into – why not try something totally new in your neck of the woods, and you could soon be feeling like a stranger in a strange town.

Move Out of Your House

When you travel to a foreign place, you don’t sleep in your own bed, so why should you not try a hotel or RV rental when you’re in your own city? You should indeed. It may not be money-saving, but it will feel genuinely like you’re on a holiday somewhere else.

RV trip us road

Remember not to tell the receptionist you’re from here, see what they would recommend you to see. If you’ve rented out RV, ask people for directions, they may give you some local tips as to what to see that you may have never thought of.

See also  Travel Tips For British Citizens: All About Getting Your First Adult Passport

Eat Out

You might already be doing this on a regular basis, but if you mix it up a bit and go somewhere you’ve never eaten, you can get a sense of being a tourist in your own town. Or, at least feel like you’ve gone somewhere new because you actually have! Explore what the review sites say about all the eateries around your stomping ground, and pay particular attention to views from people from other countries.

Food vendors fotki11

It might be fascinating for you to find out your favourite restaurant is actually really terrible! And when you’re in a new restaurant, why not go the whole hog and order something you’ve never eaten instead of fish and chips? The more exotic the better!

Back to the Books

There’s nothing quite like seeing your city from a new (old) perspective than when you visit it back in time. Visit your local library or do some internet research on what your city used to be like back in the day. Look at old photographs, read about people’s lives, re-visit a history museum.

taking pictures

Once you’re armed with a bit of knowledge, you’ll be amazed at how new your city’s landscape can feel, so get out there and explore knowing exactly what you’re exploring. Your walk to work might have been the scene of something fascinating – and you have had no idea!

Bring a Camera

Be honest – have you ever taken photographs of the city you’re living in? Maybe you did a few years ago when you first visited and decided to move there? Maybe you’ve lived there your whole life and never seen that side of the place? Whatever it might be for you, take a camera out and get lost wandering the streets and taking snapshots.

camera pictures

Look up too – it’s amazing how much of a city we miss because our noses are pointed at the ground, while we’re lost in our own thoughts. Take silly selfies in front of touristy places too – if you act like a tourist you’ll soon feel like one!

See also  Missing the Point: Why a Break from ‘Safe’ Tourism Can Be Healthy

Urban Exploration

It’s not always about the obvious tourist attractions or sites in your city – and you can have just as much fun exploring its districts, streets and neighbourhoods – especially if you’ve never done it before. Why not visit that old, abandoned building and take some great pictures?


Have you ever turned right at the end of that road instead of left? What lies beyond that locked gate? Urban exploration is a great way to see your familiar city and find some really cool buildings off the beaten track. Just make sure you do everything legally of course!

Just Do It!

You’re the only person stopping you from getting out there and seeing your city in a fresh light, so actually get out there and do it! If you’ve got the money, you can even book a night in a local hotel for a really authentic experience, but going out with an open mind is just as good – and a lot cheaper. Follow our tips and you’ll at least be able to keep the wanderlust at bay for a little while longer!

Let’s hear your advice and experiences! What do you do to become a tourist in your own city?


Close this search box.

We want you to know! Some links on this page may be affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from what you buy. 
It will never cost you extra, or make us bias, but helps us run this blog and occasionally get a good cup of coffee. 
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Picture of Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
Do you want to contribute?
Publish your guest post on Etramping!

22 thoughts on “Travel at Home – How to be a Tourist in Your Own City”

  1. Avatar of Jub

    I like the concept. I used to have a lot of disagreements with the ex about going to stay in a hotel down the road.She was all for it, but there never seemed to be any point to it! Maybe now I can see :)

    I’m going to add, talk to the locals. Ask someone for directions (walk around with a tourist map?), go to a cafe and ask for a recommendation where to eat for dinner. There could be plenty of awkward situations, but hey, that’s always a chance for a laugh yea?

  2. Avatar of Leanne

    I love it! I keep thinking I should bring my camera wherever I go but keep talking myself out of it. I should bring my camera around town with me–just in case I see something cool!

  3. Avatar of Luciano

    Really good advice! We did that in our own city (which is a small city too) and enjoyed it greatly. We even considered spending one night in a hotel, which would’ve made the experience seem even more genuine. And it was good, because there were new things we discovered, while others we hadn’t seen in a long while were nice to re-discover.

  4. Avatar of Renuka

    This is favorite topic! I’m so much my city explorer. I have played a tourist when I was in Delhi…have done that in Hyderabad and now in Mumbai. I love exploring new eating places in my city…and also beautiful photo spots. Seriously, exploring your own city like a tourist can be so much fun! :)

  5. Avatar of Christoph

    I am constantly “travelling” around my hometown and i take my camera with me almost always…now i finished a short timelapse movie about my hometown. There are always things you don’t know. In my case- my hometown is over 1000 years old and has a fantastic history. When you talk to elderly People or read the town-history-book it is astounding how much the people suffered from war and hunger and devastating floods and so on…but they kept looking forward and carried on so that we could live in a better town that that had in their time….

  6. Avatar of Slavko

    Hey Agness, loved the ideas!

    Starting a traveling website few years back, I was – and to some degree still am – amazed by my own ignorance. Albeit being born here, and spending most of my teens and adult life, I was legitimately clueless about the breathtaking nature scenery, and the provincial cultural vault waiting to be explored.

    Trying to remedy this one step at a time though!

    I love your idea on eating out. Will try googling new places, and reading reviews, as if I arrived here for the first time. My wife would definitely enjoy it!

    P.S. found your site through reading a comment of yours under my post, published on JustTravelingSolo. Glad I did! You and Cez are doing an amazing job. Just earned yourself a new reader. :)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *