3 easy ways to discover a new area

Our traveling family fields all kinds of questions from people. Two frequent ones are variations of these:

1) Are you lonely when you travel?

2) How do your kids handle being without friends?

When I hear those questions, I realize that people misunderstand the full scope of travel experiences we seek out. 

The whole point to traveling is to get to know people and places in every area you're fortunate to spend time. 

 Kids make friends easily, just be sure to provide lots of opportunity for interaction when traveling.

Kids make friends easily, just be sure to provide lots of opportunity for interaction when traveling.

Making new friends, getting involved in the community, sharing a moment of our life with someone else, these are the things that make our travels more than mere vacations. 

So what does that look like?

How does one embed themselves in a community for a short period of time?

Here are three ways we've found helpful:

1) visit the local library - you'll meet the local children's librarian(s), a good resource for all things kid related, participate in story times with other families, and get to know upcoming, community events that are (most of the time) free!

 Rock painting at a local library in Kingman, Arizona.

Rock painting at a local library in Kingman, Arizona.

2) check out the class offerings and local events at a nearby recreation center - for example, in Largo, Florida, we were able to sign the kids up for community classes like karate and gymnastics. The rec center there offered classes in 4 week stints which perfectly coordinated with our stay. For a nominal fee, our kids were able to meet children in the area and participate in some great sports, as well!

Click here for an example of Largo, Florida's community class list! 

3)  seek out local places of worship - in doing so, you can be made aware of local needs and participate in group activities that address those. Is there something you could do as a family to serve the community? Local places of worship are often good starting points for discovering those opportunities.

I can say that in every place we've traveled, we've left with new friends.

We had moments where we overcame language barriers to find commonality, traded cultural savy, and discovered different ways to live a full and happy life.

 Meeting new friends and reconnecting with old friends are gifts of the traveling life.

Meeting new friends and reconnecting with old friends are gifts of the traveling life.

 

The next time you travel, we challenge you: don't be just a consumer or a tourist in the area, but to get to know the people and the community you're visiting.  

Take away more than just pretty images of your vacation, and let a new place leave an imprint on your heart.

We'd love more ideas:

What are some other ways you have gotten involved in a community during a short-term stay?