A New Look at a Familiar Place – 7 Ways to Take a 24-Hour Staycation!

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If you’ve been following Million Mile Secrets, there is a very good chance that we have something in common – the love of travel.  You’d probably also agree that travel is a great way to step outside of routine, explore new places, re-energize and gain a fresh perspective.  Many of us would probably argue that we’re better people (more relaxed, compassionate, and patient) after a trip.

But sometimes it’s just not possible to pull the trigger on a last minute vacation.  Maybe you’re out of vacation days, trying to save money, or you just returned from a trip and want to stick around town – that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the experience of travel while staying put in your own hometown.

In fact, planning a fun staycation can be a good way to disconnect from your daily routine and take a look at the place you live through a new lens.  There are ways to be a tourist and appreciate the fact that you don’t need to go far (or anywhere, really) to do so.

A Quick Day Trip With My Friend Alexis to the Bison Reserve Near Missoula, Montana

Planning Your 24-Hour Staycation

Yes, you’re not technically leaving town, but that doesn’t mean staycations are free of planning.  Recreating the process of planning a trip can simulate the feeling of actually going on a vacation, even when you’re just sticking around town.  By putting together an agenda, searching for fun activities and restaurants to check out, and even staying at a hotel for a night, you can truly get in the staycation-relaxation mode.

One of the best aspects of a staycation?  You don’t actually need to spend time traveling to the airport and sitting on a plane – you’re already at your final destination!

7 Ways to Take a New Look at your Hometown

When you don’t have far to travel, you’re already one step ahead on your staycation.  Here are some great ways to take advantage of your extra free time while discovering something new about the place you live.

1.   Set Rules

In order to feel like you’re really on vacation, it’s important to distance yourself from the standard activities you’d do on a weekend.

Therefore, you’ll want to set rules around what a staycation actually means.  For example: no cleaning house or doing chores, spend at least 6 hours a day outside of your home, only try restaurants you’ve never been to, walk or take public transportation as much as you can instead of driving, etc.

2.   Read Reviews 

One of the tools I always use when researching restaurants, hikes, or any place I’ve never been before is to take the advice of others by reading reviews.

Of course, you’ve got to take these with a grain of salt, but it’s a good starting place!  You might learn something new about a restaurant you love or you might be willing to take a risk on a new place to get drinks after dinner.

3.   Invite an Out of Town Friend to Join

Or invite several!  Recently, I hosted a girl’s trip to a lake near my house in Missoula, Montana.  It was just under 2 hours to drive there, but it felt like we all were truly on vacation.  We planned meals to cook together, explored the area and found a great farmer’s market, kayaked on the lake, and just enjoyed spending time catching up on the deck (and in the enormous bathtub!).

Now we’re talking about making this an annual tradition!

Enjoying a Relaxing Girl’s Staycation in Montana a Few Months Ago

4.   Consider Booking a Hotel 

While it’s definitely not necessary to stay in a hotel, this might be one of the best ways to truly disconnect from your routines and get into the staycation mindset.

Take a look at the website Hotel Tonight for last-minute deals on hotels in your area.   Or if you want to stay in an expensive upscale luxury hotel, you could do it for free with one of the best hotel credit cards!

5.   Do Something Touristy

What do other people would do when visiting your town?

Some people might try to find a cool museum to walk through or check with local art galleries to see if there are any unique exhibits.  Until recently, I didn’t even realize my town has a fantastic modern art museum connected to the university.  It’s small, but there are some very unique collections on display.

Walking through a new museum made me feel like I was visiting another town for just a few hours.

6.   Find a Spontaneous Activity 

Is there anything you’ve wanted to try, but just never felt you had the time for?

The more random and unusual, the better.  In my “real” life, I don’t play bingo every week (or anytime, really) but in staycation mode, I wanted to try a new activity I wouldn’t have normally considered.

And guess what?  Bingo is so much fun!

Trying My Hand at a New Sport – Bingo!

7.   Document Your Staycation

What did you love about your 24 hours on vacation at home?  Were there new restaurants you’d like to go back to?  Did you find a cool new hike just outside of town you’d like to bring friends on next weekend?

When traveling, it’s fun to take notes on your experiences.  This is a way to document what you enjoyed, provide suggestions for friends traveling to the same places, and to look back on a great adventure.  The same can be said for a 24-hour staycation.  Spend some time taking notes on all of the places you went for future reference.  Take pictures as if you had never been to your town before.  You can even send postcards to family and friends.

I love to think about this quote by Roy M. Goodman, “Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.”  It’s so true, isn’t it?  We can be happy where we are, traveling through our own special town when looking at a familiar place through new eyes.

Have you ever planned a staycation before?  What worked and what would you do differently next time?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Erin Lizzo is a contributor for Million Mile Secrets where she covers points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. Her work has also appeared in the Matador Network.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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