Staycationing: How to be a Hometown Tourist

Staycation weekend in Kansas City with my friend Annie

Staycation weekend in Kansas City with my friend Annie

Have the travel bug but not enough time or money for a vacation?  Consider a staycation instead.  Take a vacation in your own city.  This trend became popular in recent years when the economy tanked.  Apparently people who are struggling to make their mortgage payments don’t tend to take extended trips across the globe.  The staycation became a popular alternative.

While I do love trips that take me to another city or country, where I can experience different sights, food, and cultures, I have also become a big fan of a staycation.  These help get rid of some of my travel energy when I’m in between big trips.  Below are my personal rules for staycationing:

1.  Do cliched touristy things.  “I’ve lived here my whole life and never done that before”  I’m always surprised when I meet someone who’s never done the major things in the city they live.  For example: someone who lives in New York City and has never been to the Statue of Liberty.  Or someone from St. Louis who’s never been up in the Arch.  For some the familiarity with the top attractions make them seem run of the mill or boring.  For others there’s this superiority mindset of being a local and being above those things somehow.  Well guess what, when you’re on a staycation you aren’t a local.  You’re a tourist.  Act like one.

2.  Go places you’ve never been before.  Research your city like you would a new place you’ve never been before.  You’re probably really familiar with a lot of things, but I can almost guarantee you there are hidden gems in your own city to do or see that you never even knew existed.

3.  No chores allowed.  Do not, under ANY circumstances cook, do dishes, clean, fold laundry, or run errands.  This is a vacation, and you have to resist the urge to get little things done while you’re on it.  The best I might let you get away with is preparing a picnic to take somewhere.

4.  Eat at new restaurants.  Since I’m not allowing you to cook, this is the perfect chance to try out new restaurants.  Maybe a new place just opened up, or maybe there’s a hole in the wall you’ve seen and keep meaning to try but just haven’t made it to yet.  Either way, treat yourself to good, new food (and get dessert too).


Benefits of a staycation:

1.  Staycations are inexpensive.  Obviously.  You don’t have to pay for flights, hotels, or a rental car.

2.  You become an expert on your city.  When friends or family come to town, you can give them expert, first-hand advice on everything they need to see and do.

3.  If you discover something you love, you don’t have to leave it!  “The best ______ I ever ____ was in ________.”  I know EVERYONE has one of these.  That one thing you loved so much, but know you won’t be back to experience again for years, if ever.  It isn’t exactly easy for me to pop over to Krakow every time I crave a Zapiekanka.  But if you discover something you love to do or a place to eat on a staycation, you can have access to it all the time.

4.  No packing necessary. On a staycation you never forget your toothpaste, or clean socks.  You don’t have to triple check to make sure you packed everything you need, or pour shampoo into tiny TSA approved bottles.  Even more important, you also have access to everything you own and don’t have to pick and choose and plan outfits around which pairs of shoes you can shove in your suitcase.  (That last one can’t just be me)

Have you taken a staycation before?  What are your personal rules for a successful experience?

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