7 tips for staycation travel: Finding travel adventures close to home
Traveling enthusiasts often look many miles from their own home and regions to find travel adventures. But great travel opportunities exist right around the corner, too, if you look around. It is time to expand our definition of travel and embrace staycation travel to explore your own city, county and state.
We plead guilty. Our home state of California is a huge travel draw for people from all around the world. Yet we often look beyond what’s right in front of us, instead hopping on a plane to far-flung destinations to find travel adventures. With more people considering post-COVID-19 road trips and staycations, the time is now to explore where you live to find all those travel experiences that linger close to home. And that means us, too.
Why don’t we all do as much exploration as we could or should closer to home? For one, it seems like it will just always be there, so instead, we take the opportunity to go someplace farther away. Another reason is, we know the area so well, like a favorite pair of pants that have become a bit mundane. And, lastly, when you are hurrying to the grocery store, running off to pick up kids, dropping into the library, or making a dash for garden supplies, it may be difficult to think a little differently about all those great things to see close to home that you drive past.
Take the challenge for staycation travel adventures
Don’t feel trapped with close-to-home travel. Instead, take on the challenge to find microadventures around the corner or over the hill. Remember, all those travel dollars you normally would spend elsewhere will now also funnel into your own city, county and state!
Here are a few tips to find travel adventures close to home:
Lock in your home travel time. Pick a day, an afternoon, a weekend, or longer, for your home travel adventure. No laundry, no vacuuming, nobody will peek in and see a few dishes in the sink. Heck, leave the beds unmade if you want! You’re on vacation, right?
Stock the pantry. Since you will end up at home in the evening, stock the fridge and shelves with a few goodies, like you might normally have as a treat when traveling. That special bubbly, your favorite flavor of ice cream, or some exotic nuts and fruits. None of this has to break the bank since you are saving money on, for example, lodging.
Be a tourist. Go to the local tourist information office and pick up brochures. Or find the tourist information website and explore all those things to see and do. You may discover some sights and destinations you don’t know about – or be reminded of ones you have wanted to go to for a long time. Ask about area restaurant recommendations, then try someplace you don’t normally go, in an area of town you don’t normally visit.
Meander. Now that you have a sight, destination or restaurant to go to, meander. That is, don’t just arrive, run in, see a place or have a meal, then jump back in the car and go home. Make a travel adventure out of it. Get there early, walk around, read signs, look in store windows, or stroll the street. And don’t forget your camera since every tourist will want photos to show friends and family!
Be ready to take great photos of your staycation by reading 9 essential travel photography tips for any photographer and 8 tips to take amazing travel photos with your smartphone camera.
Drive (or walk) an unfamiliar route. This is part 2 of the “meander” tip, above. Give yourself time to get somewhere and then also take a route you don’t normally drive (or walk). If you take public transportation, pick a route you don’t frequent, and get out at a stop you have never been to, perhaps one stop early. Then take a walk (consider your safety of course!). Got your camera?
Get unstructured. Grab your family (or friends, if you can stay distanced and remain safe) and just go somewhere without any real goal. Pick a neighborhood, some small town nearby, or a garden or park, and just go. Take your time. We have often just taken a subway to some random stop and gotten out and explored, or popped off at a random freeway exit to just get a look. Sometimes at first, it feels ho-hum, then in almost all cases, we’ve stumbled across a great local market, neighborhood park, or another gem worth exploring.
It’s the journey, not the destination. No matter what you dream up for your own staycation travel adventure, remember that you are on vacation. That means you can focus on the journey and not necessarily the destination. How often do we just wander when traveling someplace farther from home, simply enjoying sounds and sights we don’t normally experience? Your home travel adventure should be just that – a relaxing travel exploration that puts a smile on your face.
Ready for the challenge?