How do you find a fun and relaxing escape from daily life in the midst of heavy travel restrictions? You’ve probably heard of the “staycation” by now – a vacation that you either spend somewhere else in your own country, or at home, taking a break from work and doing fun activities. Staycations have become a hot trend this summer, and we’d like to throw in our two cents for how you can have a fun break, close to home.
The Spotted by Locals city blogs and apps aren’t just meant for visitors – many users are locals themselves. Our Spotters are truly dedicated to exploring their cities and discovering spots that even other locals don’t know about. They know and love their city, speak the language, and are passionate about sharing their knowledge with tourists and residents alike. That’s why we encourage locals to use their tips as inspirations!
We’d love to help you rediscover your home country and city this summer. Here are some suggestions for making the most of your free time and planning a staycation.
Take a trip: a new city in home territory
How well do you know your home country? How many other cities have you traveled to in it? While it may not be as exotic as flying to Bali, visiting a new city in your own country has its own unique advantages.
Maybe there are regions that you’ve never gotten to know well, and have always wanted to visit. While your familiarity with the culture means there will be less surprises than for other tourists, that also means the experiences may be more insightful for you. Another bonus is that, hey, you can speak the local language! So you’ll have no trouble getting around.
We have a number of city blogs grouped in the same countries. Check these out if you live in one of these and have thought about visiting a neighboring city!
Ideas for staycations from home
If you choose to do a staycation while remaining in your home city, here are some ideas for fun activities that take a day or less. You can find spots for all of these on our city blogs, or simply go out and find some yourself! Grab a friend or have a relaxing day alone: either way, indulge yourself.
- Moebling – this is a fun and cooky way to let out your inner child and be creative. Use your body and objects in your house to create a modern art masterpiece. Check out this article for more details on this fun project – and co-founder Bart’s own attempt!
- Picnic – every modern city nowadays knows the importance of green spaces, and there are sure to be lovely spots for an afternoon picnic. Head to your nearest park or riverside with a picnic hamper, a ball or book, and a sunny mood.
- Tour for your taste buds – plan a day or week for sampling new restaurants in your neighborhood. For example, you could plan to go out with your family every evening for a week and try a new cuisine. You might even discover a new favorite!
- Outdoor cinema night – if you’re lucky, you live in a country that has warm summer nights. Take advantage of these and spend an evening curled up under the stars watching a good movie with a loved one. We’ve collected some of our favorite open-air cinemas in Europe to help you start off your search – check out this article for inspiration!
- Bike tours – one surprising consequence of quarantine is that you see more people than usual outside and being active, whether jogging, biking, or working out. There are sure to be some wonderful biking routes in your city or on its outskirts, and this summer is the perfect time to discover them.
- Spa day – pamper yourself with a well-deserved break from everyday stress. Check out your nearest spa & bath house, or do it at home! Set aside a day for massage and meditation, and practice some self-love.
Indulge your secret inner passion
Everyone has some kind of deep passion or interest that they don’t usually have time to explore. Whether work, school or family takes up your time, daily life is busy and people don’t always set aside the time to indulge in their hobbies. And there are lots of cool facets to cities that maybe you’ve wanted to explore, but always pushed to another day.
Like, have you always wanted to get better at photography? Or become more knowledgeable about classical music? Explore local art galleries? Take more walks in the green spaces of your city? Discover cool architecture? Find the perfect book cafe in your neighborhood? Browse through second-hand shops and flea markets? This is the time for all of that! Treat yourself to a day or two of exploration and spontaneity. Push off those guilty pleasures no longer.
Some of the best adventures are the unexpected ones
For some people, one of the biggest downsides of taking a vacation is the stress of planning it. Especially for extended trips, there’s a ton of logistical forethought that needs to be put in beforehand, and the headache of that may even overthrow the pleasure of the trip!
Luckily, this is one of the biggest advantages of staycations: there’s no need for intense planning beforehand because you already know the area to some extent – and there’s less stress involved because you can always go back home if something goes wrong.
In fact, why not lean into the fact that a vacation close to home needs less planning… or even no planning at all? Sometimes the best memories are those that are stumbled upon by accident. You don’t need to plan ahead to have a great time.
For a great impromptu staycation, all you need to do is set aside a day one weekend. Choose to go with family, with a friend, or alone – each will be fun in its own way! Buy a day pass for public transportation in your city. You can download the Spotted by Locals app for your city to get some inspiration, or just head out the door with an adventurous spirit. Then jump onto the nearest train/bus/tube/metro/tuk-tuk and explore!