You don't have to travel to some expensive, tourist-trap miles away from home to enjoy an adventurous vacation. Consider the staycation, otherwise known as a nearcation, or even a day trip within driving distance from home.
We encourage taking a staycation for a variety of reasons. Less long-distance driving and air travel means you're responsible for fewer carbon emissions. You'll also spend less. Another benefit: staycations encourage exploration and discovery in the places that are closest to us, places we often overlook or take for granted. After all, what can you know about the world if you haven't explored the place you live?
Here are some suggestions for planning a staycation to remember:
1. Swap houses with a friend
Travel is awesome because you're putting yourself in unfamiliar territory, seeing different sights and breathing different air. Trading houses with a friend can replicate that welcome feeling of disorientation that's part of the thrill of travel. Plus, you get to escape the confines of home without breaking the bank on overnight lodging.
2. Climb something
It's not just a matter of getting to hard-to-reach places to find something new and exciting. Successfully scaling a wall or climbing a tree feels good in and of itself—it's like our brains are wired to feel accomplished when we physically overcome an obstacle in our path.
Of course, don't trespass and don't get yourself trapped in a dangerous situation. But do climb something for the sake of exploration—and for the reckless, exciting feeling that comes with it.
3. Get lost
Blindly point to a location on map and just go there and explore. Or ditch the map and drive down a road you've never taken before. Better yet, get lost on public transportation. Or walk. Do what you can do to disorient yourself from the familiar and you'll find something new about the place you thought you knew.
4. Put an umbrella in your drink
Life feels like a vacation when you treat it like a vacation. Make a homemade concoction and revel in fact that you didn't have to sit through a long and expensive flight to arrive at your final destination. Cheers!
5. Pretend you're an outsider and ask people what there is to do
No one knows every little detail about the place they live, but everyone is bound to know something that someone else doesn't. Tell people in your town that you're a visitor looking for things to do—their suggestions might surprise you.
6. Eat breakfast at a hotel
Eating breakfast at a hotel can make you feel like you're on vacation, even though you may only hail from a couple blocks away. Another plus: hotels force you to run into people from different walks of life and locations. Who knows? Maybe you'll save money in the future when your new friends let you crash at their place on that next far-away vacation you take.
7. Visit local attractions
Maybe it's the local park or museum. Or maybe it's a farmer's market, a historic diner, a DIY art exhibit or some surreal, one-of-a-kind Alpaca farm that's just within city limits. You're bound to find something exciting and new by visiting the places that people from across the world come to see. And really, the big difference between you and them is that you're spending way less on personal recreation. Not to mention that spending your vacation days visiting local attractions -- rather than hot-spot tourist destinations—bodes well for local businesses.
8. Venture out into nature
You don't need to travel to some distant location to find peace and quiet. Nature carries with it physiological and psychological benefits
that can induce feelings of calm and ease. Drive out to the nearest hike or scenic view and enjoy the fresh air—and the money you've saved.
9. Plan out your break
One of the dangers with vacationing at home is the risk of falling back into the normal routine of things. Here's a good way to prevent this—draft out a schedule of things you want to do and places you want to visit. Prepare a budget of how much you want to spend on your break. It'll help you separate your staycation from everyday life.
Stop checking your e-mail. Put your phone away. Don't worry about work. You're on vacation, even though you're still close to home. Staycation image from Karen Roach on Shutterstock
This post is part of the GOOD community's 50 Building Blocks of Citizenship—weekly steps to being an active, engaged global citizen. This week: Take a Staycation. Follow along and join the conversation at good.is/citizenship and on Twitter at #goodcitizen.