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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Making a Summer Staycation More of a Vacation 5.2.12

We are all pinching pennies this year, what with the cost of gas and airfare making you want to cry every time you search for flights to somewhere you don't live. If you find your vacation budget is there, but just not enough to stay anywhere for very long or make it worth your while, then a staycation may be in your cards. Don't take a typical one, though. Anyone can stay home and drive around all day and then come back and sleep in their own bed. Why not make it a real adventure and be creative with your planning?

Just because you aren't flying anywhere, doesn't mean you can't stay in a hotel or pack a suitcase. Staycations are boring, because you spend half your time in your own house (and the word is also annoying to hear and say). Chances are you haven't explored your whole city or even nearby cities. Pretend you have never visited where you live before and get excited about tourist attractions. You probably haven't been to them in 10 years, or ever, so they are new to you!

Stay in a town other than where you live. Not up to hanging around your own town? Go a town or two over and explore that one! Stay in a budget hotel or a B&B and make an itinerary with all the touristy stuff there is to do there on it. Just that change of scenery can really help you relax. And even though you could drive there and do a day trip, why not make it a real vacation by putting some money on an affordable accommodation. Claim you're from out of town, (because hey! You are!) and ask "locals" where the best places to eat and visit are. Even if you've already been there, you might learn about some really awesome cafes, shops or parks that you never knew existed.

Get a hotel or vacation rental in the middle of the action. Come on! You haven't see everything in the city you live in, have you? There are still some things in Portland that I have yet to get to...and in Oregon. And I just found out that a couple hours away from here I can see a replica of Stonehenge! (Filing that away for future day-tripping, for sure.) If you live near a big city, chances are there is a fabulous downtown that is full of fun and weird stuff to do. I also bet dollars to doughnuts (yum!) that you don't live downtown, because it is wicked expensive. This is the time to cash in some miles or hotel points for free nights or look into gettng an apartment or condo rental in the middle of it all and set out each day to discover something new and awesome about where you live.

Look online for popular (and obscure) tourist attractions. You already do this when you go on regular vacations. Do it the same way for your hometown and find crazy things you have never heard of before, do things you always say you will or just go be a cheesy tourist and do things that you tell other people are musts when they visit.

Eat at all those food carts you always say you will try, but then never do. Oh the joy of looking at the Twitter feed and seeing a new food cart has opened. You vow you will try it, and then 30 new carts have come and gone and you have yet to drive the 2 miles into town and find parking and eat maybe some of the most delicious stuff you will ever call food. Okay, maybe it will be mediocre or downright disgusting, but you'll never know unless you try it. All in one day you could try salted cod, deep fried cheeseburgers, ham and cheese crepes and Korean short ribs on a stick! (Of course, you'll have to adjust for what your town actually has.) Seriously though. Your city probably has a ton of really cool stuff. If not food carts, like Portland is famous for, then maybe you can hit up a bunch of greasy spoons or taco trucks. At least you'll get exercise walking to each one.

Bring your camera and take lots of pictures. Don't take your city for granted. Just because you see that stuff every day, doesn't mean it's not cool. You'll be sad one day when you talk to someone about things and then realize you have no photos of it or you being there.

We'll talk about more ways to take a unique staycation in Saturday's post. For now, you can start planning your "trip" with the first part of the list. Tomorrow is the start of REVIEWapalooza! All kinds of cool stuff (and giveaways) will be happening this month. Perfect for planning your travel wardrobe and other needs.

Where did you spend your last staycation and what did you do?

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