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Why not take hometown vacations

Updated on June 20, 2014

Try a Little At-Home Travel

Staycation, playcation, hometown vacation, whatever you want to call it the idea remains the same: explore your own backyard. Do you really know your hometown? Probably not. We tend to cast a blind eye upon the familiar. So why not take some time and really get to know your surroundings, your town, the cultural, historical, even popular sites and events that are right in your backyard. Summer is right around the corner. What would you like to do this year?

Put On Your Newcomer Eyes

Visit your hometown - take a staycation

Home. The word conjures up a wealth of images and feelings. Hometowns, childhood homes, homes away from homes, these all compete within our memory bank for special meanings. Where do you live? Do you know it? Sometimes visitors know our hometowns better than we do. They are the ones who go to the museums, frequent the attractions, explore our parks and discover our history. What about you? When's the last time you explored your hometown?

I'd been living in Houston for more than 20 years before I finally saw the city with newcomer eyes. It was back in the early 90s and I had a week of vacation days coming up and didn't know what to do, so a friend and I decided to "visit Houston."

Staycation ideas, Staycation plans, plan a staycation
Staycation ideas, Staycation plans, plan a staycation

Staycation Ideas? Now's the Time to Act

Turn your staycation idea into a plan

How many times have you talked about going to the museum? We have a terrific Houston Museum of Natural Science complete with Cockrell Butterfly Center, Planetarium, and even a Bug Zoo. I'd never been. Not once. It was located right next to Miller Outdoor Theater--and that was sitting almost on top of the Houston Zoo. So what did we do? We spent one entire day exploring the museum. We took our time, relaxed and pretended we were new to the city. We walked around the park, unpacked our picnic lunch and took in the sites. We talked about the sculptures, the history and the surroundings.

The next day was Zoo Day. We spent most of the day at the zoo. It was a stone's throw from another museum. Our basic plan was to work areas. We planned our days to maximize our exploration and minimize our driving--Houston is such a driving city that we wanted to spend more time at the sites--and spent a week visiting a wide variety of attractions in various parts of the city. We spent a week. We could have easily spent two or three. It was one of the best vacations I've had. I would never have guessed that 10 years later I'd be co-writing two travel books on Houston. You just never know.

More Staycation Ideas

The Great American Staycation: How to Make a Vacation at Home Fun for the Whole Family (and Your Wallet!)

Staycation Tips - Staycation strategies for a succesful home vacation

Pretend you're a visitor. Whether you live in a big city or a small town, there's plenty to do. You just have to step outside yourself and see your surroundings as if you've never been there before.

  1. Contact the local visitors center, chamber of commerce or other entity for their visitors pack or suggestions.
  2. Get a map. I know, you know the area, but it helps.
  3. Go online and research local history. Look for subjects, people, events that interest you and plan to visit related locations.
  4. Plan a day outside. Maybe at a park or a zoo, some place outside where you can pack a picnic lunch. Maybe your city puts on outdoor theater productions or outdoor concerts.
  5. Plan your staycation like any other vacation. Set the dates, the travel times, the itinerary. Book attractions when needed. Purchase exhibit tickets ahead of time. Make dinner reservations. Work up a budget and stick to it.
  6. Make sleeping arrangements. Decide whether you will stay at home every night or go all out and stay at a hotel or bed and breakfast near the attractions you plan to visit. Or maybe do a little of both.
  7. Work in a day trip. If you're planning a week or 2-week staycation, plan one or two day trips. Spread your wings and visit nearby communities.
  8. Treat this like any other vacation. Stop the paper, notify family and friends that you are completely unavailable. You're on vacation. Period.
  9. Turn off the TV. This is also a great time for board games. My friend and I played Pente and Scrabble all week and it was fun.
  10. Play the tourist. Take your camera, your video cam, your trip journal. Whatever you would do to record your vacation, do it for a staycation.
  11. Relax. If you're doing a solo staycation, work in movies, the theater and good books. Treat yourself to a spa day. Allow yourself to relax.
  12. Live this week differently. Whatever you do, do NOT go to your normal haunts, do your usual habits, see your everyday friends. You want to divorce yourself from your normal everyday life and do something different.
  13. Be creative. Look at the options you have and then play with the ideas. Pretend you're a travel agent or event planner. What would you suggest for someone else? How would you up the experience? Now, do that for yourself.
  14. Above all, have fun. This is a vacation. And when you've had this wonderful hometown vacation, come back and tell me all about it.

Is a Staycation a Good Idea? - Would you spend your vacation exploring your hometown?

Would you take a staycation? Is it a good idea? Why?


My Hometown


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