When someone says the word ‘Vacation’, my mind is immediately at the beach, smelling the salty wind and feeling the sun beat down on my newly freckled face. To others, it means hitting the slopes and basking in the all the fresh snow and endless beer at the top of the mountain. Whatever the definition is for you, we can all agree on one thing – taking a vacation means taking a timeout. It means hitting that refresh button for yourself and helping your mind take a break from its chaotic surroundings to just be. But what if taking a vacation is not in the cards for you right now, especially for us twenty-somethings who can’t exactly afford a European vacation at the drop of a hat? How do we relax and reset our minds without breaking the bank? Twenty-somethings, I present you with the staycation.
Under utilized and highly effective, staycations can cure almost any bad work week or longing for adventure. They give us a chance to explore our city through fresh eyes and let us experience our home as a tourist. And let’s be honest, most of us are pretty bad at taking full advantage of our city to begin with. We get in our routines and never seem to stray too far from our bubble of comfort. We go to our favorite restaurants, socialize at our usual hangouts, and walk the same parks near our homes. Now, there is totally nothing wrong with that. We are all victims of habit – we find what we like and we stick to it. But when you hear that adventure bug come calling, it might be time to shake it up.
The first step to a staycation is actually making the commitment to have one. It’s easy to make a mental list of all the things you eventually want to check out around town, but putting your foot down and saying “This weekend is the weekend” is a whole other story. Next, decide if this is a solo adventure or if you want the company of others. Usually we love being surrounded by friends and family doing fun activities, but maybe all you need to get out of this stay-cation is a little ‘me’ time out of the house. Once those two things are settled, you can finally let the planning begin.
Sometimes my favorite part of a staycation is when I am discovering a place I never knew existed, rather than checking out the latest or trendiest of spots. When I go to a restaurant I’ve never heard of or ride my bike through a park I didn’t know was on a map, I feel like I’ve hit a secret pot of gold that only I know about. The “this has been here the whole time and I had no idea” feeling is a fun one to have, and suddenly my bubble of comfort gets a little bigger. If I were to make you a staycation itinerary, it would probably include doing things you don’t normally do in places you don’t normally frequent. But hey, that’s just me.
On the flip side, several of us are to blame for living in crazy-cool places and never actually doing the touristy activities before. Maybe you live in New York, yet you still have managed to not take a tour of Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty (Chandler Bing anyone?). San Franciscans, have you been to Alcatraz? Because you totally should go. If you call Seattle your home and have never actually been to the top of the Space Needle, you are missing out my friend. I live in Minnesota and will go out of my way to not go to the Mall of America. But for a weekend, maybe I’ll change my tune and see the wonder in this massive monstrosity of a mall.
No matter how you decide to spend your staycation, the important thing is that you get what you need out of it. Whether that’s peace and quiet, adventure and activity or intellectual stimulation, use the time to its full extent. It will be a great reminder of why you love your city in the first place, and just maybe, you will allow yourself to fall in love with it all over again.