Unpacking the Staycation

June 16, 2016

Vacations are what we make of them. It’s common to think that our only chance to escape the rat race is to head somewhere else but this plan of action comes with an often hefty price tag.

For starters, consider the typical vacation budget breakdown:
40 percent (or more) will be spent on actual travel—airline tickets or rental cars.
60 percent will account for lodging, entertainment, food, etc.

When you consider such a large percentage of your travel money will be spent just on getting there, and staying there, the staycation concept presents itself as a worthy alternative in some situations. Staycations allow you to take the savings in travel and lodging and give you the freedom to spend it on the more fun stuff—the shows, restaurants, and experiences by taking a look at your own city in a new light—as a tourist.
A successful staycation, in my book, is to do what you love. If binge-watching your favorite show puts you in your happy place, then do it. For others, the trick will be to view themselves as guests in their own house, and their city as an unfamiliar place that they can’t wait to start exploring.
There are so many places, especially in a city like Denver, to visit. Your week can be filled with new experiences, even if you are a native. The number of festivals, new restaurants cropping up every month, and unexplored areas of the city can help a staycation feel (possibly) as invigorating and relaxing as traveling to another city. Leaving more money in hand to spend on things you love is the cherry on top.

• For those like me that have a difficult time dining out (the mentality of pinching pennies to pay off debt doesn’t go away overnight once the debt is gone), the money saved in travel and lodging can be spent in restaurants guilt-free. Are there any sidewalk cafes you have wanted to try, but it’s never in the budget? You’re on vacation. You would likely have to dine out if you were on vacation anywhere else so treat yourself!

• Are there any museum exhibits you have been dying to see? Go do it. Remember, you’re a tourist. Tourists visit museums and Colorado has plenty of them.

• Like the adventurous tourist you are, go into an unfamiliar part of Denver for instance and walk around. You might see shops, restaurants, and neighborhoods that you never knew existed.

• If you are one to shy away from public transit, this is your opportunity to feel like a tourist. Leave your car at home. Pick a few destinations and get there via a city bus or light rail. The city feels different when you are not behind the wheel of your car.

• Go to the library at the beginning of your week, and pick up some good vacation reads. End each day relaxing with a book.

• The Denver metropolitan area has thousands of acres of city and mountain parks (think Evergreen). Have you seen them all? I didn’t think so.

• Wake up early to see the sunrise, or make it a point to watch the sunset from a different location every night.

Are you in the habit of recommending the same five activities/attractions to tourists of your city? Once you have become a tourist of your own city, not only might you more appreciate what your city has to offer, but you will become someone who can recommend some great off-the-beaten-path activities that one won’t find on TripAdvisor.
So have fun with it.

Be a tourist in your own city, change your perspective, and save money in the process.”