Be a tourist in your own city

A friend of mine is heading to Belgium for Christmas so he can watch In Bruges in Bruges (it’s OK, I hadn’t watched it and didn’t know where it was either) then Iceland for New Year’s, then onto Amsterdam, London and the south of France. I’m mad jealous. It doesn’t help that my brother now lives in the Motherland and just casually nipped over to Portugal for a few days when he first arrived, then again to Rome for a sneaky long weekend. Meanwhile, I stay at home because it’s actually way cooler than going overseas and stuff. I have my plants and re-runs of Gilmore Girls to keep me entertained … Yeah.

What I sometimes fail to realise, though, is that my own city is actually pretty cool too. And that’s why the phenomenon of the Staycation is becoming more and more popular than your traditional Vacation. Of course, the staycation did come out of the Global Financial Crisis when no one could actually afford to go away on holiday, except people didn’t want to work for 52 weeks straight, so they went on holiday anyway – at home. Some people literally took time off work but didn’t go anywhere; others booked rooms at flash hotels just down the road and did the kinds of things tourists would do if they visited their city. Yep, they effectively became tourists in their own cities.

The staycation is an incredible way to invest in some you-time, without worrying about international transfers, foreign languages or breaking the bank (although the latter is negotiable). Next time you think about booking your next holiday, think about staying closer to home. Here are our top five things to do on your very own staycation.

  1. Book a room in the kind of hotel celebrities visit when they come to town. Maybe you can’t book the exact same room because, you know, booking a penthouse suite for just one night costs about the same as a year’s rent in a three-bedroom house, but being vaguely in the same space as they breathed will instantly make you feel a bit flash. Get your bags carried up to your book, order room service and book a spa – just because.
  2. Wine and dine at a place you’ve always dreamed of visiting. Maybe it’s an internationally-recognised restaurant; maybe it’s a place where Shortland Street stars are sometimes snapped at; maybe it’s just a little place that’s just opened up down the road, and every time you stride past it you wonder what it’s like inside. Regardless, enjoy a night off cooking and washing up somewhere you know you’ll love. You’ll love it.
  3. Swap your car for a cab. Feel like you’re living the life of luxury by keeping your car park in the garage and ordering a taxi to get you from A to B. This is especially nice if you plan on having a drink or three while you’re enjoying going out – properly.
  4. Go out – properly. Instead of just going to the movies, go to a Gold Class screening and order dinner and drinks while you recline in your lazyboy chair (and almost forget to watch the actual movie). Book a show at your local theatre. Go to a concert. Spend a day at the museum or an art gallery. Whatever you do, make sure you get to the end of the day and think, ‘Yes, I am absolutely exhausted from having so much fun.’ But …
  5. Don’t do housework. Don’t mistake your time away from work as a good opportunity to clear out your inbox or catch up with the housework. Investing in a staycation is all about getting away from the everyday. Set an out of office on your email then pretend your inbox doesn’t exist. If they really want you, they can wait until you get back to work. If the housework really does need doing, hire a housecleaner for the week. Seriously.

Keen to book your very own Staycation? Check out GrabOne Escapes, which is packed with holidays close to home and a little further afield.