Staycation ideas for amazing local adventures that offer many of the same benefits as a regular vacation when planned right.
Let’s be honest. The idea of a staycation isn’t the first choice for many of us but there are a lot of benefits you may not have thought of.
Benefits of a Staycation and Having Local Adventures
Firstly, local adventures have a way of making you appreciate how much there is to see and do in your own backyard with a little creativity. So often, we take places for granted just because we’re there all the time. Places that are on other traveller’s bucket lists for years. Places that other travellers fly thousands of kilometres to visit.
Take my adopted city of Munich, Germany for example. Normally it attracts over 70 million visitors each year. 70 million. And I get the pleasure of living here.
Secondly, local adventures are a chance to get out of your comfort zone. To feel more energized and alive. You’ll realize that whenever you’re stuck in a rut, you don’t need to jump on a plane. You just need to get out of your comfort zone.
Thirdly, although you may be staying close to home, just by adopting a travel mindset and replicating some of the things that you do on vacation, you can experience immense joy and happiness. You don’t have to go far.
Fourthly, if you’re planning a staycation, I recommend doing shorter but more frequent trips. Part of the fun of travel is the anticipation. And by planning more trips, you’ll always have something to look forward to.
Finally, a staycation can be a great way to save money and appreciate the simpler things in life. Many of us are looking to cut back expenses and we can do that while still having local adventures.
Related Reading: The Coolest Airbnb Stays in the U.S.
How To Use These Staycation Ideas for Your Local Adventure
You can implement these five staycations ideas in any order that you like. Go as quickly or as slowly as suits you. They’re completely adaptable to what works for you.
If you have a week off, try doing one a day. If you’re working but need to shake things up, then try doing one every weekend. It’s up to you.
For a real get-away feeling, try to book an overnight stay somewhere just a few hours away. It’s amazing how staying even one night in a place that’s not your home, can feel like a real getaway.
I recommend checking out these unique treehouses, tiny houses or cool Airbnbs to add something special to your vacation experience for an unforgettable break. I also recommend checking out the travel offers on Booking.com. You can often save 15% and can find a great deal.
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1st Idea for Your Staycation: Find the Best View of your Town, City or Countryside
Simple right? It is, but most of us take for granted the beauty where we live. When you see the same streets and buildings every day, it’s easy to become immune to the beauty right in front of you. But a key to happiness is appreciating our immediate surroundings.
Think about it, if you were visiting Paris for the first time, what’s one of the first things that you’d do? Probably visit the Eiffel Tower for a breathtaking view over the City of Lights. But when’s the last time you did this in your hometown?
I know I’m guilty of this. I had lived in Munich, Germany for four years when I asked myself this question. So I decided to climb the 299 steps up to the viewing platform of St. Peter’s Church, the oldest church in Munich.
This is something that is in every guide-book! Something that every visitor to Munich does. And it only costs €2!
I could make up excuses for why I waited so long, but all I could offer up would be lame ones. But I will say that after seeing the view, I see why it’s in every guidebook.
Perhaps, you have no inclination to climb a church tower, or there isn’t a church tower where you live. Instead, seek out a view from a hill, from a rooftop patio, a skyscraper, a tower. Whatever is available to you! Make it easy so that you’ll do it.
I really enjoyed doing this and seeing Munich from another perspective. I had no idea how many red roofs there are. This local adventure gave me a new appreciation for my city.
Related Reading: Coolest Treehouse Rentals on Airbnb in the U.S.
2nd Staycation Activity: Try a New Cuisine
Try bringing the novelty factor into something that you do every day. Multiple times in fact!
I’m talking about FOOD. Now, don’t get worried, you don’t have to eat chocolate-covered insects – unless you really want to!
I’m personally going to pass on the insects!
Challenge yourself to try a new type of food or cuisine. You can either whip something up yourself or try a new cuisine at a restaurant of your choice – it’s up to you!
I do encourage you to be adventurous though. If you actually were on vacation, you’re likely more adventurous than you are at home. So try to get out of your comfort zone at least a little bit.
For example, if you normally order Spaghetti Carbonara, ordering Spaghetti Bolognese instead isn’t going to bring you out of your comfort zone. Instead, try a new cuisine you haven’t tasted before. Nepalese, Afghanistan, Peruvian, Korean, Caribbean, the choices are endless!
Recently, I went to an Indian restaurant for a business lunch. Admittedly that doesn’t count as adventurous in my book. I eat Indian food at least once a week. However, I always order the same thing – Lamb Palak – nom, nom!
But yesterday, my lunch companion informed me that this was the only Indian restaurant in Munich offering southern Indian food. And, the only place you could get a dosa. It’s a gluten-free crepe stuffed with an assorted filling of potatoes, vegetables or meat.
I just HAD to try it! The HUGE crepe arrived hanging over the edges of my plate. It was delicious and gives Lamb Palak a run for its money! I’ve already made another reservation there for next month!
I also recently went to a Peruvian restaurant for the first time and loved the ceviche! I didn’t love the traditional blue corn drink but it was still fun to try it. It also changed the conversation I had with my partner. We debated what to order and what to share and learned something new about each other in the process. It was a great night. Both from a cuisine point of view and of doing something new with my partner.
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3rd Staycation Idea: Recruit Someone To Go With You on Your Local Adventure
A big part of travelling for many of us is sharing experiences with someone else. Additionally, you’ll get the joy of seeing things from another person’s perspective.
While it can be difficult to convince someone to go with you on a longer, more expensive vacation, it’s fortunately much easier to recruit someone for your local adventures.
Recruit a friend, family member, partner, neighbour, or colleague and plan an outing for each other. This could range from several hours to a few days. It’s your.choice.
The important thing is that you each take a turn in planning a local adventure.
Keep it a secret from each other. The surprise element is a big part of feeling like you’re travelling farther than you are.
Your staycation idea can be as simple as visiting a museum, exploring a new park, trying out a new activity, checking out a new cafe, going to a poetry reading, or seeing a foreign film. Whatever will make you feel like you’re on vacation.
Or, if you have more time, take turns planning weekend getaways for each other. Perhaps you have a friendly competition to see who can choose the coolest accommodation. Check out these unique treehouses rentals and cool Airbnbs for inspiration.
Or you could each choose a national park to visit. Or historic site.
The choice of your local adventure is up to you. But you should choose something that interests you. Try to include a novelty factor in it. Either an activity that neither of you has tried before or a place that neither of you has visited before.
This activity brings a double bonus. In addition to doing something new, or discovering a new place, you’ll get valuable time with someone who is important to you. And in this day and age when we’re busier than ever, that’s a true gift.
How often do we think to ourselves, I really should call..so and so. Or I haven’t seen so and so in months. Or my partner and I haven’t been out on a date in months. Our “dates nights” are on the sofa watching TV!
Here is your chance! I’m sure whoever you decide to recruit would love to spend time with you. And you’ll be creating happy lasting memories together from your local adventure.
Years later you can reminisce about the time you visited the flea market together and tag-teamed to get the bargain of the century.
Or the time you decided to be sophisticated and attended a poetry reading and left for a wine bar instead when you realized you didn’t understand a single stanza!
For me, it was going to a trampoline park that had just opened with close friends. We laughed so much and have vowed to do it whenever we start to take ourselves or life too seriously.
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4th Local Adventure Idea: Do Something That Scares You or Venture into the Unknown
One of the things we sometimes experience when we’re on vacation is fear. It’s quite the opposite of the happy feeling that we’re hoping to feel! Now wait a minute, you might be thinking, going on vacation is supposed to make me happy!
But hear me out, travel can be scary!
Travelling to a country where you don’t speak the language, and wondering Will anyone speak English? is a very frightening thought. Heck sometimes even figuring out how to get from the airport to your hotel can be a fear-inducing experience.
Besides the language issue, many destinations you have to fly to. And ~ 25 million Americans are afraid of flying.
There’s also the fear of unfamiliar food. What if I think I’m ordering a steak, but end up ordering fermented whale meat instead?
Or Will I get salmonella from eating the chicken from a street vendor? Or Was my salad washed with contaminated water?
Anything that’s unknown can be scary. That’s true even if we believe the rewards trump the fear, as in travel.
But facing our fears makes it easier to stand up to our fears. It gives us confidence and happiness in other areas of our lives. It’s one of the reasons that I believe that a long distance hiking trip can change your life.
That’s why this staycation idea is to do something that scares you or takes you on a brand new local adventure.
Or take it up a notch and follow Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice:Do one thing that scares you every day.
Choose something that just thinking about it makes you shake in your boots. Maybe it’s belting out karaoke (one of my worst fears since I’m tone-deaf). Going to a zoo and staring at the snakes and spiders. Taking the elevator to the top floor and looking out if you’re afraid of heights.
Trust me, afterwards, you will not only be proud, but you’ll also be a happy camper.
As to what I did, that scared me? I cycled the Iron Curtain Trail alone, 1200km across Finland! Until 6 weeks before, I had never cycled more than 80km. And my longest cycling trip was 3 days along the Danube River.
On this 21 day trip, I cycled 80 to 100km each day. Alone. And you know what? It’s one of the most memorable things I’ve ever done in my life!
I’d seen someone repair a punctured tire, but hadn’t actually attempted it yet myself. And there are bears! There were a lot of fears there. But the fear also made me feel alive. It made me stronger.
When I was tired and pushed through, it made me realize that I could do that in other areas of my life as well. Overcoming my fear of Can I actually do this and do it alone? resulted in one of the biggest adventures in my life and one of my proudest accomplishments.
What can you do for your local adventure that scares you, or will push your limits?
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#5 Local Adventure Idea: Try a New Physical Activity
One of the things that you’re more likely to do while on vacation is to try a new physical activity. You probably have more of a Why not? attitude than you do at home.
So I’m asking you to adopt that same attitude of adventure. I know what you’re thinking, Hello, how is working out going to make me feel like I’m on vacation?
As an alternative, you can choose your favourite activity, but try it in a new place if that works better for you. For example, if you’re an avid hiker, you could try hiking in a different region that’s still close to home.
Last year, I felt that I needed more happiness in my life so I signed up for The Color Run. It calls itself the happiest 5km on the planet! Seriously, who could resist that?
It’s a 5km run where at various stations people through coloured chalk on you. I had seen the videos and it looked like everyone was having a fantastic time, so I thought Why not?
I ended up covered in chalk and finished with a big smile plastered on my face.
At other times when I’ve been stressed out and in need of a vacation, I’ve tried rappelling and ice-climbing. For me, there’s no better way than trying a new activity to feel like I’m on vacation almost instantaneously.
Related Reading: 64 of the Best Adventure Books Ever Written
These 5 staycation ideas, will help you plan your own amazing local adventures and get many of the same benefits as a farther-flung vacation.