Last fall, when I found out I’d be moving to London, I had to post-pone three trips. I knew I’ll make it to those places eventually, and was beyond excited to move to Europe, but still found myself itching to travel during the weeks I stayed in New York City to prepare for my move.
As part of saying goodbye to New York, I put together a list of things to do (some favorites, some new) before leaving the city. But, then I decided to take it one step further and designate a few days before I left as staycation time.
I’m no stranger to staycations. Over the years, there’ve been many holiday weekends where I’ve stayed in New York while friends have fled the city in favor of more tropical, scenic, or foreign destinations.
Why do I love staycationing? Logistically, it’s less-expensive and you save time traveling. During holiday weekends in New York, staycationing can be a treat because so many people leave the city, which usually means fewer crowds at attractions and less people overall.
Often, friends tell me my idea of a staycation would be considered an actual vacation for others because I live in New York. And, while that may be true, I was also a big staycation proponent when I lived in Pittsburgh, Indiana and Austin. No matter where you live, I promise there’s something new to do or explore if you open yourself up to the experience.
3 Reasons to Take a Staycation, Regardless of Where you Live
It’s fun to be a tourist in your own town
Everyone keeps track of things they want to do or see, but often life gets in the way. I’m guilty of doing this all the time- I’ll walk past a new bar, and think, “Can’t wait to check that out,” and then months go by before I remember to stop in.
On a recent staycation in New York, I visited the Statue of Liberty, went to the top of Rockefeller Center, and checked out a new cocktail bar that’s been getting rave reviews- all things I wouldn’t normally do as part of my everyday routine, and thus felt extra-special.
Make a list of all the local places and things you want to check out, and then start checking them off your list one staycation at a time.
Not sure where to start? Google what people do when they visit your town or a nearby city. Yelp & Foursquare are helpful search tools if you’re looking for a new place to eat or grab a drink.
I’ve lived in some pretty small towns, and have always been surprised by the local gems just waiting to be discovered. In Muncie, Indiana, one afternoon, I was looking for something to do and decided to check out “Muncie Beach,” a makeshift tropical oasis in the center of town. I loved how different it was from everything else in Muncie- no corn stalks in sight!
Playing tourist in your own town can be as simple as checking out a different coffee shop than the one you normally go to. I try to check out a handful of new bars, restaurants or coffee shops each month. Sure, I have my favorites, but committing to see what else is out there has helped me discover new favorites.
Creating a local bucket list and tackling it on your staycation ensures you have opportunities to explore and discover new things, no matter what where you live or how long you’ve resided there.
It reminds you to be grateful
If there’s anything traveling has taught me, it’s that the world is a beautiful place. When I make a conscious effort to appreciate my surroundings more by exploring new things, I find myself overcome with gratitude. Grateful for the opportunity to live in New York, but also for the people and places that make it such an exciting, energetic city.
It leaves you feeling rested and recharged
Sometimes, I’ve opted to take staycations and haven’t left my apartment for part or all of them. Sure, I love exploring new places and find relaxation in adventuring to a new neighborhood. But, I also dig staying in and indulging in things (hi, Netflix marathon or home cooked meal from scratch), I wouldn’t normally have time for day in and day out.
And, don’t underestimate the power of the little things in creating the ideal staycation atmosphere. If I’m going to be spending time at home, I’ll buy a few new magazines, and maybe a new candle or comfy blanket. It’s the little touches that help a staycation feel different from the usual.
A few other tips to ensure you have a great staycation…
- Block off your staycation the way you would a vacation out of town, and create an out of office reply for your work email. Think of it this way: If you were lying on a beach in Aruba, would you be sitting there with your laptop? Probably not.
- Consider booking an Airbnb or hotel in a different neighborhood/part of town to really help you get out of your routine and into situations where you’re guaranteed to experience new things
- Get all of your chores and errands done before your staycation begins. Doing so helps you truly enter vacation mode, as if you’d actually left your home
If you love to staycation, what are your favorite things to do or tricks for helping it feel like true time off?
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