Do you ever find yourself sitting at home, in class or at work thinking about your last vacation? How long ago it was, or how you’ve never taken one? Have you been itching to experience something new but just don’t have the money or the ability to take off for weeks at a time? I’ve been in your exact spot. I am a busy student, I work part time and I am pretty strapped for cash and I am constantly having to flick the travel bug off of my shoulder. But my travel bug repellent is pretty effective – it is a staycation.
Hear me out, this might sound corny or unrealistic (especially for my fellow Canadians living in a world of winter right now), but even if you’ve lived in the same area for a long time, there are always fun things to do close to home. So here are some of my tips that I use to shoo away that travel bug inexpensively and effectively with a good old staycation.
1. Do your research.
You may be thinking that your area is too small, too boring or too familiar to provide an interesting, fun staycation. But you’re probably wrong! There are tons of qualified, hard working people who are so passionate about the area that you live in, that their entire job is to find and advertise things for you to do in that area! Almost every city has their own tourism website, so just research your town name + tourism and you are bound to find some interesting venues or activities that you had no idea about. For my fellow Ontarians, everyone always immediately thinks of Toronto, Ottawa and Niagara Falls as the big travel destinations, but smaller areas such as Kingston, Prince Edward County and Orillia are great places to check out too, just to name a few. One of my favourite sites of choice is Ontario Travel Secrets, where you can find information about cities you wouldn’t even think of visiting that are so close to home
2. Determine your trip structure.
Are you travelling alone? With a friend? Family? A big group? Who you travel with will depend where you will want to go. All areas have great options for individuals and groups alike, so just make sure you run all plans by your travel buddies to make sure the trip goes smoothly and without differing opinions or conflict. A great way to ensure everyone is on the same page easily is TouristEye. This is a great website/app that helps you build a wish list of destinations where you’d like to travel and experiences you’d like to have. You can share that list with friends or family and collaborate with them on them. They can add waypoints and things to check out in the area, specific things to do when you’re there, and together you can plan a trip.
3. Begin to plan!
Those who travel know that the lead up is one of the best parts. Plan your necessities such as food and accommodation first by determining your budget for those items, so that you can plan your fun activities around where you are staying. There is nothing worse than spending most of your staycation travelling from your hotel to your activities because you didn’t plan well enough in advance.
4. Keep your important travel information handy!
With technology today there is no excuse for forgetting information, confirmations and itineraries at home. All phones have a “notes” application built in where you can keep your own list of important trip information, or there are several handy apps out there to assist you in this. TripIt is a great example where you just have to forward all those confirmation emails you receive—car rental, flight, hotel, dinner, whatever—to the app and it automatically assembles them as trip itineraries in one handy location.
5. Have fun and learn about where you come from!
There is something so satisfying about becoming an expert about your own city. You can brag to friends, family and even strangers about how great your own city is. You are not only learning about your area and having a cheap vacation, but you’re also contributing to your city’s own economic growth. Trust me, it will feel so good to put your money back in your own community, especially when you don’t have flights or lots of gas to pay for (depending on how far your “staycation” takes you in your area).
My fellow Canadians, with the dollar being what it is right now, vacations to the United States aren’t cheap. But that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your annual vacation or your itching need to travel. A staycation can squash that travel bug for a much lower price, and at the very least keep it away until you can take that big trip you’ve been dying for.
Have a staycation experience or must-see points you want to share? Let me know!
Happy travelling my friends.
Until next time,