Being a Tourist In Your Hometown

Traveling can be a drag. Getting up early to catch a horribly un-fun red-eye flight that you can’t afford, inevitably forgetting something important, and to top it off, either disappointment when you reach your destination or disappointment that you can never return. It makes you wonder if it’s really worth using up what little time you have off from school or work. 

Perhaps a stay-cation may be a better fit. But even if this isn’t the case, when was the last time you spent some time getting to know your hometown? There’s got to be at least some parts you haven’t visited before. Maybe you’ll even run into places you didn’t know existed! Here’s some tips for making the most out of your explorations: 

Make a Plan

Everyone’s a little different on this end. But for me, it always helps to make a rough plan of what I want to get accomplished that day. If I already know the places I want to go, list them out and check google maps to see if there’s a big distance between them, or the order I should visit. Always double-check opening hours and admission prices, if applicable. Some places offer discounts if you’re a resident in the area, so it’s worth checking or asking! 

I highly recommend checking sites like onlyinyourstate or atlasobscera for places you maybe haven’t heard of, or haven’t thought to visit. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something right in your backyard! Consider choosing a theme for your stay-cation. Maybe you only want to visit the regional parks in your area, or maybe you hit up every antique store in the county. 

Stay-Away

One of my favorite ways to get to know locals is by staying in AirBNBs. This may not be what typically comes to mind when thinking of a stay-cation, but it can make it feel like you’re more on a vacation. Plus, you might get some more travel tips from a fellow local! If you’d prefer (or don’t have the wallet for it), stay at home and treat yourself instead. Get a good book, binge your shows, practice self-care.

Bring a Friend

Traveling solo is a great experience as well, but why not share the fun? Bring a friend along, or two. Even if you know the area really well, it can be helpful to have an extra person for navigation in those tough-to-reach areas. Or just someone to hold the camera and share the memories. 

Prepare

Bring snacks. Check the weather. Tie your shoelaces. It should go without saying that you should do all the things you’d normally do while preparing for a day of being a tourist, but sometimes this can be easy to forget when you’re in a familiar place.

However you choose to be a tourist, be sure to approach it as if you’re a tourist. Whether it’s your first time visiting a site or your fiftieth, the whole point is to relax and have a good time.

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