I came back from Berlin last week only to find out that all of my roommates were taking off for Spring Break and that I still had an itch to travel despite the fact that I’m broke AF (which is why I came straight home from Berlin in the first place). After a bit of lustful Googling and trying to find cheep plane tickets, I decided that the smartest thing to do financially was nothing.
Of course the decision to stay home wasn’t one I made very happily until I realized that I will likely be leaving Milan in just a couple of months and still haven’t seen most of the city’s sights! I really don’t know how that happened but since the weather has been gorgeous lately, I thought I would embrace the infamous “staycation.”
In case you haven’t heard the term before, a staycation refers to having a vacation while staying at home. People have many different interpretations of it; a lot of people make it into a sort of spa day whereas busy moms will often send the kids off to grandmas to kick back and have some quiet time. Being the traveler that I am, I’ve interpreted it to mean being a tourist in your own city.
For me, it was fairly straight forward in theory but difficult in practice. I aimed at treating a few days of last week the same as I would if I were staying in a hostel in a new city. I would get up bright and early, see the most hyped attractions, have lunch on the town, and walk until my feet fell off. What was difficult was actually executing this plan in the comfort of your home when there are a million and one responsibilities that can derail your plans.
While I definitely failed at getting up early and seeing all of the big attractions, I did manage to walk a ton, tried a lot of new food, and overall the experience had the same effect as regular travel of being really refreshing. I think for me, what is most important is getting outside in good weather and wandering through cute streets to finding hidden gems. Whether they turn out to be well known tourist attractions or not, I don’t really care. It’s the element of surprise, of happening upon them instead of following a map, that really brightens my mood and makes me feel like I’m really out there adventuring.
So the next time you find yourself wistfully browsing Skyscanner knowing full well you can’t afford to leave home, look up what is close by and try to be a tourist in your own city or region for a day or two. I know it can be a challenge if you’ve lived in the same place forever, but if you are like me, then there are tons of things that you would recommend someone visiting the area to do that you yourself have never done yourself.
Be it wine tasting or a local trail to walk or a museum that you’ve never wandered into or a local history tour guide. Living in a less touristy location only means that you get to be more creative with your staycations which means even better stories and memories for years to come. Who know, you might even find your new happy place so close to home.