Chances are, you’d love to travel as much as you want, wherever and whenever you want. But even though this would be amazing, it’s just not possible all the time. Luckily, there are ways to explore the world and put yourself in a nomadic mindset without leaving home. To help you plan your “trip,” here are 10 ways to have an amazing staycation.
1. Buy a guidebook for your town (or one nearby)
While I typically encourage people to ditch their guidebooks—my tagline is “taking you beyond the guidebook,” after all—using one can actually help you look at your hometown in a new way. With the mindset of a tourist, use the guide to plan a weekend of unexpected adventures, and discover attractions and experiences you never knew about.
Let your map take you all over your own city. (Photo: Moleskine)
2. More specifically, get an Anywhere Travel Guide
I highly recommend the Anywhere Travel Guide to those who want to travel, but can’t leave home. It comes with a deck of cards that gives you certain quests, such as bringing a book you love out on a walk and leaving sentences from it in different places. These challenges help you explore your hometown in a new way.
Everything is more fun when there are games involved. (Photo: The Anywhere Travel Guide)
3. Do a scavenger hunt
A hunt like this turns exploring your hometown into a game—and who doesn’t like a good game? It also gives you new perspective on where you live. There are certain companies that organize scavenger hunts around certain cities, such as Watson Adventure Scavenger Hunts. Check your city to see what’s available.
Street art scavenger hunt! (Photo: Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts/Facebook)
4. Interact With Artisans
Nobody does culture quite like the artisans. Start getting to know the local products made around you, as well as the people who make them. You may also want to give yourself a goal of trying a new local restaurant each week to immerse yourself in local culinary culture. Often we think of handicrafts, artwork and foods made around us at home as not being exotic. But the reality is, you’re bound to find some things that give you a new appreciation for where you live.
The woman or man behind this slice of heaven is bound to be cool. (Photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr)
5. Deck yourself out in global accessories
This isn’t really about traveling, but about inspiring wanderlust in yourself and those around you. Even a world map watch could inspire you, so keep your eyes open wherever you go.
Word on the street is that “Everywhere” has really cheap happy hours! (Photo: Jessica Festa/Jessie on a Journey)
6. Sign up for Meetup.com
Meetup.com is a website that allows people to search different groups in their city by location and interest. Since experiencing new things is such an exciting part of travel, I suggest you join a group that will teach about something you don’t already know, or that plans day trips that allow for local travel. Bonus: joining Meetup.com can also help you with the next item in this list.
There are over 1,200 Meetups in Ireland, including the Dublin Free Hiking Meetup (Photo: Meetup/Facebook)
7. Meet the locals
One of the best parts of traveling is getting to meet locals; however, in your hometown you probably feel like there’s no need because, well, you are a local. True, but everyone has their own unique interests, and has their own favorite spots and historical knowledge of the place. Head to the library and chat up the librarian, engage your local barista in conversation, or find out more about the life of the jewelry designer down the street. You’ll likely learn some interesting things about the place you thought you knew everything about.
This guy is SO Portland. (Photo: Anthon Jackson/Stocksy)
8. Book a hotel for the night
It may seem silly to pay for a hotel if you already have a place to live; however, staying at a hotel, hostel, bed and breakfast or even a vacation rental can put you in the wanderlust mindset. In your own home, everything is familiar; however, in an accommodation, your curiosity becomes piqued. Plus, it’s a great excuse to be pampered for a bit.
Toto, we’re not at home anymore. (Photo: Jessica Festa/Jessie on a Journey)
9. Do a local tour
Not many people know more about an area than the local tour guide. In my home city of New York, not only am a tour guide, but I’m constantly taking other NYC tours to learn new things. I’ve learned about many things on these excursions, from street art in Bushwick to Italian history in the West Village to Mad Men scene settings and craft cocktails. Each time I take one, my eyes fill with the same curiosity and wonder that I experience on a trip, as I’m put in novel situations in my very own home.
Learning about your own neighborhood can be just as exciting as learning about someone else’s. (Photo: Municipal Art Society/Flickr)
10. Have a global table adventure
This item is inspired by a blog called Global Table Adventure, where blogger and culture carnivore Sasha Martin introduces her family to delicious dishes from around the world. Her toddler’s palate is more refined than most kids her age; by the time she’s five, she’ll have eaten a meal from every country in the world. Talk about a well-rounded upbringing! Whether you have kids or not, creating a series of global table adventures for yourself is a great way to explore the world through the tongue without leaving home.
Venezuelan cachapas practically taste like vacation. (Photo: Global Table Adventures/Facebook)