How To Really Take a Staycation
A week off of work and no airline miles to fly with? Not a problem. Sometimes, the most memorable vacations are actually “staycations,” the time you reserve to enjoy the local crags, trails, and surf breaks you may have neglected when place tickets were aplenty. Just think of the benefits that come with scheduling a little rest and relaxation in your own hometown: no packing, no itineraries, no layovers, and no overpriced airport food (seriously, why does it feel like you have to take out a second mortgage just to afford some vinegar chips?). So how do you pull off a staycation without falling into your same old routine? You get resourceful. Here, some ideas for making the most of your locals-only adventure:
Turn email off (no really…turn it off)
When you can’t actually get off the grid, your phone’s email alert sound is a biting reminder of your day-to-day routine. Avoid “checking just one more email” by turning off your email alerts, scheduling a vacation-themed auto-reply message, and stashing your phone in your car’s glove box. Out of sight, out of mind.
Buy a map and a guidebook
The key to having a local vacation is to act like a tourist, so plan your close-by adventures like you would the far-off ones. Buy a map to your region and invest in a few guides (the Lonely Planet books are a good place to start). Borrow local climbing guides from friends, and grab a handful of brochures at your local diners and hotels. If you’re an AAA member, maps are free!
Make a bucket list
Go through your new books and scan your region’s tourism websites and start jotting down attractions that you’ve always meant to visit, but have never had the chance to. Visit them when it’s least likely to be crowded, like early in the morning on a weekday.
Pretend you’re from out of town
My favorite way to find new climbing spots is to chat up local shop owners and fellow climbers/surfers/hikers and pretend I’m from out of town. They’ll be stoked to share the hidden gems of their home turf with you, and you might be surprised with how much you’ve been missing. Word of mouth really is the best guide.
Have a food budget
One of the perks of taking a vacation is enjoying the local food, some of which you may have been ignoring for fiscal reasons (that’s what your kitchen is for, right?). Time to splurge and try out the cuisine you’ve passed a hundred times. Plan out eating out a few nights during your staycation and you’ll also bypass the lure of your home routine.
Camp close by or book a room
If a warm bed usually beckons you away from campsites nearby, make a commitment to test them out during your staycation. Get a backcountry permit or make it easy on yourself and car camp and enjoy the scenery. Prefer something more luxurious? You can probably cash in on last minute, day-of deals at hotels and destinations in the vicinity.
When all else fails, just enjoy that “home” feeling
When was the last time you just lazed around, cleaned out your gear room, or made a decadent home-cooked meal? Sometimes, among busy schedules and ever-growing laundry piles, we forget that our homes can be an oasis. Take some time to soak up what you love about just being home. It really is pretty sweet.