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Your very own treasure trove of easy travel resolutions for 2017

EASY TRAVEL RESOLUTIONS FOR 2017 header

I, for one, am here to welcome 2017’s arrival with open arms. And chances are you, like me, have some big, over-the-top goals for this year. (Mine? Be completely out of debt – student loans, car payments, ALL OF IT!)

But when you need a little mental break from your big dreams… well, I’d like to give you few easy travel resolutions for 2017 that will make your days a little more adventurous. (Plus, they’re all low-cost so you can meet your budgeting goals and enjoy the world around you!)

Oldenburg Indiana Church

Travel to a “foreign” city in your own state

Last year one of my favorite little treasures was the town of Edinburgh, Indiana. Why did I go there (and subsequently discover an absolutely gorgeous nature preserve)? Simply because I liked the idea that I wasn’t going to the “real” Edinburgh in 2016, so I’d do the next best thing.

On my “foreign” Indiana list? Peru, Angola, Morocco, La Paz, Bristol

Visit at least one odd/offbeat festival

I love festivals – they have the ability to bring a city/neighborhood/street to life in a way that just doesn’t happen normally. I missed out on a bunch of cool ones last year for a variety of reasons (laziness), but this year I’m bound and determined to make it to a few. Especially if they’re free!

After just a few minutes searching, I was able to find Pierogi Fest, the Popcorn Festival, and an amateur circus festival – all in Indiana (err, and Nudes-A-Poppin’ which is pretty much exactly the kind of festival it sounds like).

Madison Indiana Guide: downtown

Try to complete 1-2 travel challenges each month

This is the biggest of my own travel resolutions for 2017! The routine of day-to-day life can really be a drag sometimes, amirite? (I wrote a whole post about combating it last year.) To break up the doldrums, consider completing 1-2 travel challenges each month. They get you up, out of the house, and looking at the places you see every day in a different way!

Looking for ideas? Here are some to get you started!

Plan a camping trip with the company of an adventurous audiobook

Full disclosure: I am not a camping person. I do not own a tent or a sleeping bag or really anything that would make camping feasible. However, I do have a car, blankets, and love for big green spaces. No matter what your “camping” looks like, make a plan to sleep under the stars in 2017 with the company of a book that will make you feel like a world-class explorer.

My recs? A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines by Anthony Bourdain, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, or the classic The Hobbit. *(affiliate links)

Plan and execute an urban exploring adventure

I realize it’s not everyone’s dream to climb through a hole in the wall of an abandoned property and get dirty, but I’m here to say: it’s really, really fun. I’ve done a lot of exploring all over the world and have yet to get in (too much) trouble. Armed with a camera and a love of history, you’re in for some treats as you explore parts of the world that once were.

Of course the usual disclaimers: wherever you’re planning to go is probably NOT legally open – explore at your own risk.

Take on a time limit adventure

A time limit adventure is simple: set a time limit, then drive/bike/walk as far as you can in any direction for the duration. My favorite is usually a 45 minute or hour aimless drive through back country roads. You’ll see some new, interesting places and – if you’re really lucky – discover a great place for a bite to eat.

Selfie Butler University

Plan an epic walking tour of your neighborhood

I’ve created several of my own walking tours here on the blog (and even showed you how to make your own tour for fun and/or profit):

Wandering around with some tentative research is one of my favorite ways to get to know a neighborhood better; too often we pass by neat spots if we just whiz by in a car on the daily. One of my own blog goals for 2017 is to create more accessible walking tours for my favorite Indy neighborhoods.

Adventure List Example

Create an ongoing “to-do” travel list

I talked a lot about my adventure list last year, and I still maintain that the best way to add more travel into your daily life is by keeping a log of all the places you want to visit. Without an easily available list of things, I guarantee you’ll find yourself in the same old “ugh, I don’t know what to do” trap we fall into so easily!

Your turn! Shoot: in the comments please give me and Let’s Love Local readers some more awesome travel resolutions for 2017!
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It’s over?!: 2016 in review

Is anyone else finding it really hard to believe 2016 is almost over? I’m sitting here, totally panicking that I’m planning a road trip back to Virginia in just under a week and then immediately heading back to Indy to ring in the new year, Russian style!

I hope I’m not the only one delving deep into both panic and nostalgia this week because here’s the best of 2016 AKA a year where I only left the state three times and managed to have more fun than anyone ought rightfully have without crossing an international border.

Polly in Indy

January

How I’ve Saved for Travel on Any Budget: this was a time when we’d just moved, I’d been working for just under a month, and my husband had yet to find a job. Somehow, we survived and even managed to save. It’s difficult, but possible.

Indy Street Art: Fountain Square

February

Downtown Indianapolis Street Art Walk: if my memory serves me right, it was an unseasonably warm February which made it perfect for exploring all of Indianapolis’ wonderful public art. Seriously, there’s so much here!

March

Let’s Love Local Road Trip Resource Guide: as I began gearing up for late spring/early summer road trips (we finally bought a car!), I compiled a list of all of my favorite tips, tricks, and hacks for making the most out of a long drive.

Downtown St. Louis

April

Weekend Escape STL: my visit to Saint Louis represented the furthest west I’d ever been (aside from California) and it was cool to see a new part of the world. Saint Louis really impressed me – not that I had any real expectations – with its gorgeous public areas, great beer, and thriving culinary scene.

Monon High Bridge in Delphi, Indiana

May

Delphi, Indiana: the Abandoned Monon High Bridge: probably one of my favorite adventures of 2016, simply because the bridge was in such a gorgeous location and the existence of an open abandoned, rickety railroad bridge seems like something out of a story. Delphi is definitely worth the drive.

Early morning adventure Indianapolis

June

How to Use Social Media to Plan Your Next Trip: I’ve taken my trip-planning to the next level in 2016 thanks to a lot of in-depth research about how to better leverage social media. Check out this post and stay tuned for my other tips and tricks in 2017!

Briggs Woods Park

July

Webster City, Iowa Guide: my first trip to Iowa! Webster City was a great introduction to real Midwestern farm county. In other news, tack that on to the bottom of the ‘Places I Never Thought I’d Go’ list.

Madison Indiana Guide: downtown

August

Easy $5 Adventures for Broke Travelers: I’ve said it many times – 2016 was not a big year of travel for me. And that’s totally OK! There’s plenty to do nearby (and on the cheap!), you’ve just got to get creative.

September

Here’s Why Indianapolis is Cool(er Than You Think): imagine any up-and-coming travel/food compilation of 2016 and you’ll probably find Indy or one of its restaurants high on the list. Indy is poised to be a big(ger) tourist destination in 2017 and I’m here to tell you why.

October

An Easy Weekend Vacation Budget Planner: October heralded the start of a new job which once again confined my travels to long weekends. Still, weekend adventures can be fun and – with a proper budget – super affordable!

Fort Wayne Weekend: Karpeles Museum

November

How to Spend 36 Hours in Fort Wayne: November’s highlight was a fortuitous invitation from Visit Fort Wayne to head back up north and see the city I almost froze to death in at the start of this year. Check out how exactly to spend 36 hours in this totally underrated city.

Muncie, Indiana: Elm Street Brewing

December

17 Must Visit Indiana Towns/Cities in 2017: What better way to end the year than by looking forward to what 2017 has in store?

What was your travel highlight of 2016? Share in the comments below!
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17 Indiana towns/cities to visit in 2017

17 INDIANA TOWNS/CITIES TO VISIT IN 2017
17 INDIANA TOWNS/CITIES TO VISIT IN 2017

As 2016 comes to a close, I’m (unsurprisingly) already plotting my travel moves for 2017. What better way to start the process than by choosing 17 Indiana towns/cities I’d like to visit/revisit in the upcoming year. Check them out and tell me what you think of my list.

South Bend

Way up north on the border of Michigan stands South Bend, Indiana. I’m mostly excited to see the city in 2017 because of the city’s multitude of amazing instagrammers who make the city look really cool. Plus, there are tons of wineries in the area which I’m always excited for. Oh yeah, it’s also where Notre Dame is.

Bloomington

Hard to believe, but after a year of living in Indiana I still haven’t made it down to the hipster haven of Bloomington! Just an hour south of Indy, Bloomington is a vibrant town with plenty of great food, beer, and scenic beauty. Until I go, I’m obsessively stalking the Bloomington CVB’s Instagram account as well as local blogger Em’s on the Road.

Columbus Indiana

Columbus

Columbus (Indiana!) is amazing little city packed full of unbelievable art and architecture. From Chihuly glass installations to seven national historic landmarks to a perfectly intact, 117-year-old ice cream parlor, there’s more than enough to do in Columbus for a long weekend visit.

Terre Haute

I passed through Terre Haute briefly but would definitely go back in 2017. Terre Haute is only an hour and fifteen minutes west of Indy, located on the border of Illinois. I’m especially excited to visit the very first brewery in Indiana which was re-opened this year in honor of the state’s bicentennial. For more about Terre Haute: although the focus is on family fun (and I’m more of hedonistic, adult-only kind of fun!), Haute Happenings is a great resource for upcoming events in the area.

Marengo

Marengo is a teeny-tiny town under 1000 people but it’s got a great reason to visit: Marengo Cave, a U.S. national natural landmark. Since 1883 (after some kids discovered the entrance!) Hoosiers have been exploring the massive underground space. I’m all about taking a walking tour through the cave in the next year!

French Lick West Baden

If you haven’t heard of French Lick yet, check it out and then come back. Absolutely epic, right?! I’m all about it not just for the beauty, but because the spa was originally set up as a mineral spring health spa. The two towns surrounding the massive resort complex also has plenty for explorers who are able to drag themselves out of the opulence.

Muncie, Indiana: Elm Street Brewing

Muncie

I went to Muncie in late November and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Not a bustling city by any stretch of the imagination, Muncie still has several cool features on offer that make it worth the hour drive from Indy. They’ve got a couple of breweries, a lovely park, a gorgeous cafe, and some mind-bogglingly cheap antique places.

Kokomo

I’d honestly thought nothing at all about the city north of Indy until I saw a stunning picture of the Seiberling Mansion and decided I need to plan a trip. I don’t know a whole lot more about Kokomo, but their tourism site makes it seem like a visit should be in the cards for 2017. (Plus, it went from America’s 3rd fasted dying town in 2008 to one of the best cities for jobs in 2011 – talk about a turnaround!)

Nashville

My husband and I made the mistake of visiting Nashville on Labor Day weekend, when tourists were so thick you could barely push your way down the sidewalks. In 2017 we’ll go back on a slow mid-week day to truly get the vibes of this tiny historic artist colony. Located right next to Brown County State Park, Nashville and the surrounding areas are the perfect scenic getaway.

Monon High Bridge in Delphi, Indiana

Delphi

I stopped by Delphi very briefly on my way to check out the endangered historic abandoned Delphi bridge. (Think I could have stuck a few more adjectives in there?) The town itself, while small, is ridiculously charming and was bustling on the weekend morning I was there. A happy contrast to many sleepy small towns, Delphi offers shopping and dining opportunities as well as the option to ride a canal boat down the Wabash and Erie Canal!

Delphi, Indiana: the Monon High Bridge

Richmond

Sitting just on the border of Ohio, Richmond, Indiana is a great place to visit if you’d like to see some of Indiana’s Amish culture. Once you’ve got your fill of that, they’ve also got two microbreweries to hang out in. Even better, there was a huge push for public art creation in 2016 which is now proudly displayed around the city!

Elkhart

Elkhart has the traditionally charming downtown main street chocked full of museums, restaurants, and plenty of local shops.

Madison Indiana Guide: downtown

Madison

Eat, See, Do: Madison, Indiana Guide

Peru

I pushed off my Peru trip until too late; now I’m going to wait until spring 2017 to visit the Seven Pillars of the Mississinewa, a natural structure formed “over the centuries as wind and water eroded the limestonecreated over the centuries as wind and water eroded the limestone”.

Lafayette

Aside from being able to yell out “Lafayette” like the Hamilton song, the northwest city which houses Purdue University offers plenty to do. With several breweries and a winery, I think Lafayette will be a perfect spot for one of my 2017 pub crawls. After that, I’ll be ready to wander along the Wabash River and check out some of the many art galleries in the city.

Fort Wayne Weekend: Karpeles Museum

Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne has the distinct honor of being the only city/town in Indiana which I’ve visited twice! After a two-hour drive north, you’ll be in Indiana’s second-largest city with plenty of options for everyone. I love the flourishing small business community and have a feeling you’ll love eating/shopping your way through them all too! Check out my 36 hour trip for more inspiration:

How to spend 36 hours in Fort Wayne

Shipshewana

I mean, do I need to go any further than the name alone? Aside from the awesome name, the teeny-tiny town of Shipshewana is at the heart of Indiana’s Amish country. The area also offers miles and miles of quiet nature preserves and secluded nature trails. Win-win!

Which cities have you visited/do you want to visit? Do you have any other cities you’d add?