Jetting off to exotic locales is so tempting that you might just overlook the wonderful adventures right in your own backyard. On a "staycation," a vacation you take in or near your hometown, you can save valuable time and money on transportation. Here are a few tips on how to discover the joys of your city and maximize your vacation time and budget.
1. Treat Your Staycation as a Traditional Vacation
A staycation is a break from routine, just like a traditional getaway. Choose specific start and end dates for it. If you are employed, remind your boss and co-workers that despite the short distance, you are inaccessible. Avoid work emails and phone calls. Notify anyone with whom you have weekly commitments that you are absolutely unavailable (Guilt can nudge you into watching the grandkids or volunteering at the church for a few hours). Resist the urge to do chores. Cleaning out the rain gutters and changing the oil in your car will have to wait — you're on vacation!
2. Plan Like a Tourist
In the weeks leading up to your staycation, check out travel guides, websites and blogs about your city and its environs. As a local, you undoubtedly have your favorite sights, restaurants and neighborhoods, but travel writers and visitors know a thing or two about finding the finest, best-value, quirkiest and most entertaining things to see and do. Visit your local tourism information office to pick up discount vouchers and information. The helpful staffers can suggest the top museums, historic sites and neighborhoods as well as unique sights, offbeat tours and other unusual activities suited to your tastes.
3. See Your City with Fresh Eyes
The joy of visiting a new destination lies in the thrill of discovery and learning. A vacation in your city is the perfect occasion not only to explore unfamiliar neighborhoods and sights but also to see familiar places in fresh, new ways. Take in your city through a different lens — by bike, say, or on an architecture, photography, culinary or garden tour. Plan around favorite events and seasons, or take the opposite approach, and relish a season you rarely have time to fully enjoy. Shoot plenty of photos and videos to document your adventure. Even send a postcard or two to share the fantastic discoveries you make.