Maybe you need a break, but going far away is out of the question. It’s expensive, there’s the issue of having to organize rental cars and hotels, not to mention the fact that flying anywhere is a huge hassle these days.
Also, you only have two days off from work, and you don’t want to spend the majority of that time negotiating airports and unfamiliar towns. On the other hand, staying at home is boring, and it doesn’t really feel like a break if you’re still surrounded by all the familiarities of your house and your daily life.
So why not take a vacation in your own home town? It may sound silly, but it’s actually the perfect solution to many of the issues of short-term travel, and it’s a nice compromise if long distances are impractical for you. For one thing, if you’re in your own town you don’t have to worry about transportation.
You already know how to get around your city, and chances are you have your own car, too. There’s also no guesswork about the hotel, because you’re already familiar with the accommodations in your area, and you don’t have to hope that the hotel you choose will be on a convenient street or in a decent neighborhood.
Perhaps you hail from Seattle, but have never gone to the Space Needle. When you live in a certain place for an extended period, it’s easy to take things for granted, and after a while the sentiment of, “Oh, I can go see that anytime,” stretches out to months or even years of missing out on all your city has to offer.
So when you’re planning your home town vacation, sit down and make a list of all the things you’ve wanted to do but never got around to, things that all the tourists have seen but you haven’t. Go to the botanical gardens. Explore the museums.
Walk through the beautiful parks you never made time to enjoy. Eat at that fantastic new restaurant you’ve heard so much about but never had an opportunity to try.
It is essential to take the word “vacation” seriously. This is not supposed to be the sort of thing where you go away for six hours and then head down to school to pick up the kids and take them to their gymnastics class and then quickly pop home to make sure their dinner is made and that the babysitter has everything she needs before you head back to the hotel.
That is not a vacation, and if you don’t make an effort to separate yourself completely from your daily life, before you know it you’ll have slipped right back into your normal routine without having had much of a break at all. You must treat this as if it were an out-of-town excursion.
Make arrangements for the kids to stay with someone else, and make sure everyone understands that for the next few days, you will be unreachable except for dire, legitimate emergencies.
Pack a suitcase, and pack it well, because you should definitely not make an appearance at your house at any time during your vacation (the whole point is a change of scenery!). Turn off your cell phone – if anyone needs to reach you that desperately, they can leave a message at the hotel front desk. You are not on 24-hour call; you are on vacation!
Once you have completely severed yourself from your local ties, it’s time to relax. Focus on your to-do list of fun activities, and enjoy the fact that you can be in familiar surroundings and discover new things all at the same time.
It might take some time to switch completely into the vacation frame of mind, but once you do you’ll find that you have the best of both worlds. A vacation in your own city is a great way to have a fantastic break, with the convenience and ease of remaining close to home.
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