I think we all miss international travel, but the pandemic is a great excuse for a staycation. A staycation is an easy, safe, budget-friendly, and socially distanced alternative to a traditional vacation. The word staycation come from “stay” and “vacation”. It offers those holiday vibes without having to leave your hometown.
I personally love a staycation, it’s such a fun way to explore your own city! To me, travel isn’t about distance, it’s about opening yourself up to new experiences. So even if you wish you were sipping cocktails on a beach, you can bring some of that vacation magic to your home. It’s as simple as walking out the door or booking a night in a hotel.
But even in normal times, a staycation is a great option for those on a budget or with limited time. Local travel like a staycation can be organized last-minute, and you save time and money on transportation and accommodation. All without having to sacrifice on fun!
Ready to plan a staycation? With my tips for the best staycation, you’ll be able to relax and unwind safely.
Book a hotel in your own city
The easiest way to get that break from the everyday slump and stress is to spend the night away from home. Treat yourself to a night in a fancy hotel for the best staycation. Take a luxurious bath, order room service, watch movies, and dream away in a fluffy hotel bed. Finish it off with a breakfast in bed that you don’t need to cook or clean up, pure indulgence!
On a budget? You can always go camping in your own backyard, which is a fantastic option for a staycation with kids. As a kid, this was of my favorite things. There was something so magical and exciting about the spending the night outside.
This is also perfect for a romantic date night. Set up a tent and go all out on the decoration: fairy lights, throw pillows, lanterns, champagne, music. You only need to carry it from the house to the yard, so you can make it the most luxurious camping experience ever!
Because you’re not taking any flights, a staycation and traveling local is a great option for sustainable travelers!
Join a guided tour
Do you think you know there’s everything there is to know about your hometown? I bet you’re wrong! As locals, we rarely do the typical “tourist things”, and you might actually be missing out on some interesting stuff. Turn your staycation into a learning experience with a local tour.
A guided tour is a great way to explore your city from the perspective of a tourist. Discover new spots, visit those popular tourist traps, and learn something new about the history. Think you know your city? I promise that you’ll be surprised about how much you missed out on or never notices. A local tour guide can tell you all about it.
You can pick any type of tour you like. I’m personally a big fan of walking tours, but you can also opt for a bike or Segway tour, a hop-on hop-off bus or a self-guided tour. WithLocals is a great platform to finding quality and unique tours by local experts.
Or if you’re feeling crafty, DIY your own tour! Do a little research and create a walking tour for you and your partner or friends to take where you play the guide. This would be a fun date activity as well.
Check out a museum you’ve never been to
I love museums and I go to one on every solo trip I take. Even if they’re not usually your thing, I firmly believe that there’s a perfect museum out there for everyone. There’s just so many kinds! From big history and natural history museums to small art galleries.
Have a look on Google or Atlas Obscura to see what whimsical niche museums exist in your city. There might be a museum dedicated to a specific dish, invention, or local celebrity. These museums are usually really fun and random, and run by passionate locals. Or go gallery hopping and discover some upcoming local artists to support.
And if you’d rather avoid indoor spaces, go on a mural and street art hunt! I’m sure you’ll be surprised by the amount of art all around you. Or try out some virtual museum tours from home.
Try a new restaurant or cuisine
Food and travel are a match made in heaven. It’s no wonder that culinary travel is a booming business, because what is a vacation without trying some delicious new dishes? So of course the best staycation involves eating and drinking well.
Thanks to globalization, international cuisines are more widespread than ever. Immigrants from all over the world bless us by opening up restaurants and introducing us to new flavors and ingredients. I believe food is such a great way to connect with a culture and learn about a country. The language of food is universal.
So if you’re a traveling foodie like me, you probably miss trying exciting foods on your trips. So why not do that in your own town? See which international cuisines are served in your town and try out a few new restaurants. It’s also a great way to support a local business. If you’re not sure where to start, a food tour might be a great option for you.
And it is not just foreign cuisines that can tickle your taste buds. How much do you really know about your own regional cuisine? Which place serves the very best version of your local delicacy?
More of a liquid dinner person? I love visiting local breweries, wineries, and distilleries.
Don’t feel comfortable eating out? Try online cooking classes and make those amazing international dishes yourself!
Go on a day trip
Depending on the rules and your comfort level, you might be able to get out of town on a day trip. For me, day trips offer those same new adventure butterflies, without the expense and hassle of an overnight stay.
You can hop in the car and drive out to the country or to a nearby town. Maybe make a road trip out of it and visit some sights in your area that you would have otherwise skipped. Like those cheesy road trip staples like “the biggest ball of yarn in the world”. Or visit artisans, artists, farm shops, or markets in driving distance to support those small local businesses that are struggling without tourism.
If you don’t have a car or live somewhere you don’t need it like me, taking a train or bus can be an option, or opt for a bike ride out of the city.
This is also a great opportunity to get out in nature. Avoid the crowds of the city and connect with our beautiful earth instead. Visit a nearby National or State Park or other Natural Reserve. This also helps with conservation as they often rely on ticket sales and donations to pay for staff and maintenance. I find that being out in nature and being active is a great stress-reliever.
With these tips you’ll be able to plan the best staycation ever. Whether you’re craving a spontaneous last-minute break from everyday life, want to treat yourself to a new adventure, or simply need to satiate your wanderlust, a staycation is always a good idea.
Save time and money, while still enjoying everything that makes travel so great: food, learning, and relaxation. Whether you’re looking for a solo adventure, a bit of romance or a staycation with the kids, I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time traveling local.
Have you ever been on a staycation? What did you do? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments. Feel free to share your tips for local travel experiences as well.
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