The Fine Art Of Local Travel
Not every travel experience needs to be the epitome of exoticism.
Sometimes work, finances, family, and other life demands necessitate staying close to home, but that doesn’t have to mean giving up on the joys of travel. After all, travel is less about the destination itself and more about the inner journey undertaken while discovering something new.
No matter where you live, planning a Staycation is a great way to keep the travel flames fanned and stay inspired for your next international sojourn.
Here’s how to make the most of your time close to home:
Step One: Make a commitment
If you’re trekking the Himalayas, picnicking in Paris, or dancing in the streets at Carnival, you sort of need to plan ahead (at least to book the airfare!).
The sheer local nature of a Staycation, on the other hand, makes it tempting to just ‘go whenever’ without committing to a proper travel plan.
The problem? Without a commitment, your Staycation will remain unrealized as the pressures of home life take over. It’s way too easy to push your trip off again and again as work, school, and family demands continue to surface week after week.
Fight this phenomenon by choosing a weekend, or even a single day, and protecting that time from other commitments as if you were going out of town. (In fact, why not just tell people that you will be out of town?).
Step Two: Book a hotel
A hotel for a Staycation? Absolutely. Even an inexpensive hotel will make your trip feel more significant, and will infuse you with a wanderlust-ful energy that will inform everything you do on your mini-break.
Step Three: Take a day trip
Nothing to do in your city or town? Explore the surrounding areas and plan a 2-3 hour road (or bus, or train) trip out of town. Think like a tourist and journey to see that waterfall, museum, dig sight, or national forest that out-of-town travellers journey from afar to see.
Step Four: Do something unexpected
One of the best parts of taking a Staycation is experiencing your city in unexpected ways. If you usually go the movies on the weekend, go to the ice skating rink instead. If you’re a regular at that chic downtown wine bar, wind down at the homegrown local pub instead.
If in doubt about what to do, pick up a hard copy of your local newspaper. Flip to the entertainment section, close your eyes, and point your finger toward the paper.
Now open your eyes and go do the thing you’re pointing at – no matter how “not you” it may seem!
Step Five: Do something expected
If you live in New York, get yourself to the top of the Empire State Building. If you’re a Londoner, plan a Staycation that includes Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, and Buckingham Palace. If you live in Los Angeles, actually go to the beach.
So often as locals we poo-poo the very attractions that make our city great, writing them off as “touristy” or simply assuming we’ll go there “someday” (Case in point: I lived in Los Angeles for five years before finally seeing a concert at the iconic Hollywood Bowl).
Do what the tourists do and you may be surprised at how much fun you actually have!
Taking a great Staycation is all about embarking on an inner journey and seeing your city through fresh eyes.
Commit to a day or weekend for your Staycation and guard that time with your life.
Book a hotel to make your Staycation feel like a true travel experience.
Take a day-trip outside the city and go where the tourists go.
Do something you’ve never done before (and sort of think you’ll hate), and watch as your mind and travel style expand before your eyes.
Do the thing that your city’s known for (a brewery tour in Milwaukee, a cooking class in Hoi An) and surprise yourself when you actually enjoy it.
Where will you take your next Staycation?
Rebecca Anne Nguyen is a freelance writer and the Founder of TheHappyPassport.com, an inspiration site for solo female travellers.