Desperately need a vacay, but don’t have the cash or time? Believe it or not, this is the perfect time to try a staycation, even if you think you know your own city well enough. I guarantee you there’s hidden gems you haven’t heard of, and can create just as fun (or even better) vacation experience for half the price! Here are 8 ways on how to be a tourist in your own city.
1. Book Your Ideal Hotel
Most locals in their hometown may already have one or two of their favorite hotels in mind, however, if you don’t, I highly recommend going online and researching some of the top tourist picks for hotels or going to brochure kiosks in a local hotel or motel lobby. Take home a few for local attractions or activities that grab your attention and even ask a concierge for recommendations and what all your city has to offer. When selecting, consider the area you’d like to be in and its proximity to restaurants, night life, shopping, etc. Most importantly, don’t forget to call the hotel to check for local or resident discounts (this can really save you BIG time!).
2. Grab a Companion to Show Your Around in Style
Want company on your trip? Invite a close friend or family member who either knows more about your city than you do, or who can be a tourist with you. Traveling is more fun in numbers, and a second pair of eyes and ideas can’t hurt. For fun, ditch the sedan and rent a convertible or sports car! Also book a popular guided tour, one of docent-led architectural, history or other walking tour to gain a deep, new understanding of your surroundings. I also recommend venturing out of your normal routine – visit that new art museum, gallery, bookstore and restaurant you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had the time. Now is the time!
3. Find Your Hidden Nature
Love the outdoors? In every city there’s at least a few hidden nature gems waiting to be found, such as a park or nature preserve. Go be explorers for a day and be one with nature. Don’t forget to bring your camera or phone to take some beautiful pics of the scenery and embrace being a cheesy tourist – maybe even pack a picnic lunch! If there is a lake, river or ocean in the vicinity, instead of just admiring the view, reserve a canoe or book a ticket on a ferry and get out on the water for a totally new view. Even try a cool water sport like fly fishing or go paddle boarding! Getting out and seeing your city’s natural beauty will bring you a newfound appreciation for it.
4. Taste as Many City Delicacies
You might know many of your hometown’s signature dishes, but have you tried them all? If you’re a foodie, than this is the perfect touristy activity to do in your own city (yum!). Lookup your cities’ top restaurants (, ) and what other tourists have recommend to try. If you prefer night life, lookup the hottest clubs, bars, and popular specialty drinks (round two please). Have a sweet tooth? Find the best ice cream or dessert shops in your hometown that you still have yet to try. There’s always room for dessert right!?
5. Try New Entertainment
Part of being on vacation is being entertained, so what better way to explore your city more than by attending a new Broadway or comedy show, concert, or cheering on a local sports team? Even branch out and go golfing (although you suck at it), visit your local theme park, try a new exercise class or go sky diving! Really embrace every aspect of being a tourist during these adventures, and maybe even discover something you really enjoy to do more often.
6. Shop Til You Drop
Who doesn’t love a little retail therapy? Visit popular outlet malls in your city and check out new stores that you’ve never been to. For fun, visit authentic shops or huge specialty stores like The Container Store to roam around in. You may just find some awesome hidden gems for a bargain! If you’re thinking more outside the box, visit popular name brand factories, such as a chocolate or Coca Cola factory for some sweet treats.
7. Get Beautified
Haven’t pampered yourself in a while? Try out a new nail or hair salon, or even get a much-deserved massage (highly recommend a Thai massage!). Let out your inner tourist and be someone else for a bit! Buy a new wardrobe, get highlights, or even try out a new nickname! Discover more of your city through a different outlook (or look).
8. Disconnect from Reality
We live in a generation constantly filled with technology, and it can be difficult to fully be in the present at times. Exploring your own city without technology can be very refreshing since you will see new things and get a completely different perspective about the place you live. While on your staycation, turn off work emails, notifications, and anything that may distract you from fully being in the moment. Really take the time to appreciate your city by clearing your mind – meditate, read a book, sketch, meet new people and remind yourself how precious life really is. You can find beautiful things right where you are.
By being a tourist in your own city, you’d be surprised how much there is to see and how little you probably know about the place you live. Take the time to learn about the history and secrets of your city, engage a conversation with a complete stranger, or go to the top of the highest building or viewpoint at the highest level to get a panoramic view of your city. Whether you want to explore more of your own city or travel in your home country, it will push you taking roads and corners you’ve never taken before. Getting lost in streets you’ve never been to and seeing new and beautiful things you never realized were there make you see your city in a new light.