I firmly believe that it’s really important to explore your own city. It would be such a waste of a perfectly good destination if you didn’t. This is where the staycation comes into play. It’s a great way to get the feel of a relaxing vacation when you don’t have the time or funds for one. While travel is obviously something that I’m passionate about, I have a fondness for staycations and the vacation vibes they provide in between big trips. There are two ways to plan a fantastic staycation: 1.) think of yourself as a tourist in your own city and venture to unchartered territory (to you, anyways), or 2.) book a hotel with some sort of spa/pool facility, get yourself a good book and chilllllllll. When my boyfriend and I staycationed at The Freehand earlier this year (see staycation blog here), we chose the first option. We went to a popular restaurant we’d both never been to and wandered around the city, popping into bars and enjoying the River Walk. I have to say, staying downtown and enjoying the city lights and attractions definitely made me love Chicago even more than I already do. It’s about time we try the second option, but more on that later. Whichever option you choose, you are sure to have an amazing time and a whole new appreciation of your hometown. Plus, you get the added bonus of having the knowledge and experience to play concierge to your friends and family when they ask for accommodation or restaurant suggestions. Below are my best tips for planning the perfect staycation, take them as you will and let me know what you’re favorite staycation plans are in the comments!
- Choosing the hotel: This is most likely your first step in planning your staycation. Base this decision on what kind of experience you’re looking for, i.e.- if you want to relax, book a hotel with room service, a pool and/or spa and a comfy bed, or if you want to explore, choose a hip hotel in the center of the action. If you live in a big city like I do, the options for hotels are endless and can get a little pricey. As I am not made of money, I usually check if there are any deals on LivingSocial or Groupon first.
- Planning activities: Since you’re familiar with the lay of the land, I’m sure you already know exactly what you’d like to do. Choose something that you’ve always had on your hometown bucket list, but haven’t made time for yet. Maybe it’s finally caving in and checking out that city attraction all the tourists rave about, or seeing a play at the local theater or even trying out a trendy bar. If you aren’t planning on venturing out, make a spa appointment or check if your hotel has any special in-room features you can utilize.
- Doing dinner: Whether you’re relaxing or exploring, you gotta eat. For the relaxing type – kick back in your hotel room with some room service or order delivery and eat it in your robe. If you’re feeling adventurous, go out to a restaurant featuring a style of cuisine you’ve never tried. Either way, order decadently and enjoy.
- Sleeping in: I don’t really have a whole lot to say on this topic, other than, if you are staycationing, it’s imperative that you sleep in at least a little bit. Bonus points for you if you order breakfast in bed.
- The morning after: Take your time in the morning and don’t rush to leave the hotel. Go for a dip in the pool, go out for breakfast, have a morning shopping spree… whatever you want! Squeeze every last bit out of this staycation, and don’t even think about checking out early.
- Going back to reality: Of course returning from any sort of vacation is always rough, but since you were only a few miles from home, it should be easier to get back into the swing of things. Take the rest of the day to soak up all the good staycation vibes and go back into your weekly routine feeling refreshed and happy to know your city a little better.