Woman looks out from a balcony.

The ultimate staycation guide

Don’t have the budget to travel this summer? No worries — you can plan a dream vacation right in your own city. In this article, we’ll show you how.

7 min read

If life has felt like all work and no play lately, it might be time to take a break from the daily grind. And what better way to reset than a vacation? Whether you’ve got paid time off or are taking a break from freelancing, vacations are an important way to reduce stress, prevent burnout, and keep you fit and healthy. They can also help you shake up your routine, see new things, and get some much-needed rest. 

The problem? Well, for one thing, vacations can cost a pretty penny. And with travel costs getting higher each year, some of us are wondering how to plan the ultimate holiday while staying on budget. Plus, booking travel, lodging, rental cars and more can be time-consuming and stressful, to say the least. Some of us might have sustainability in mind and feel conflicted about the environmental impacts of venturing far away from home, too.

If any of this sounds familiar, it might be time to plan a staycation. The premise is simple: Take a break from work, but don’t travel anywhere. Instead, spend time discovering what your hometown has to offer. You’ll not only skip the stressful planning and save money, but you’ll also give yourself the chance to explore, relax, and fall in love with your city all over again. 

If you’re new to stay-at-home vacations, you might not know where to start. That’s why we’ve gathered some tips and tricks to help you plan the ultimate staycation that you won’t soon forget. 

Experience your own city like a visitor

Many of us call a place home for years without ever taking in the best-known sights. So, why not see your city through a visitor’s eyes? You could spend your days exploring local museums and cultural offerings like theater or dance performances — or even book a hotel for a few nights to get a change of scenery. Take a bus or river tour and see things from a different angle. Or, learn about the history of your town by visiting historical sites and monuments or joining a guided tour.

If you’re still short on ideas, grab a travel guide, check out resources at your local library, or search online for recommendations. You’ll likely never look at your city streets in the same light.

Create your own walking tour

Whether you live in a sprawling city or a small town, the hustle and bustle of daily life means you may rarely pay as much attention to your surroundings as you would on vacation. So, when you’re planning a hometown holiday, consider exploring the streets, alleys, and hidden wonders of your city streets. Start by setting out in your own neighborhood on a route you know well — but this time, pay attention to the architecture, colors, and sounds that you normally pass by. Do some research about your hood, if that’s your thing — you might discover hidden gems or tidbits you never knew about before. When you’ve scoured your block and are hungry for more, expand your tour to other neighborhoods you’ve been longing to investigate. 

If you live in a larger city that gets a lot of visitors, you can also look online for self-guided tours. You can even find audio tours — just download, pop on your headphones, and see where the route takes you. 

Expand your culinary horizons

Part of the joy of traveling is sampling new cuisine. But you don’t have to leave your city to delight your palate in new ways — or even your apartment, for that matter!  Start by scouring your city for unique restaurants and cuisines that you’re excited about. Your staycation gives you an excuse to book a table at that spot you’ve been dying to try. 

A staycation is also the perfect chance to flex your culinary muscles and test out new recipes you’ve never tried before. Always dreamed of traveling to Italy? Create a daily menu of Tuscan or Sicilian dishes, or make an at-home aperitivo complete with a classic spritz. If you’re still learning your way around the kitchen, try taking a cooking class to improve your skills — you might even make some new friends, too! 

Spend more time on the things you love

Life doesn’t always give us the time and space to do the things that feed our souls. If you love nothing more than curling up with a good book (or five), then a staycation is the perfect opportunity to devote maximal time to the stuff that lights you up. Love playing soccer but never have the time? Set up a daily game with friends. Mad about knitting? Then set to work on a new garment or head to a knitting circle and stitch to your heart’s content. You can also hone your meditation practice, work on that short story, head to the swimming pool every day, or even tackle some fun household projects

Explore the natural world

If you’re craving an adventure while you’re on the home front, there’s no better time to explore your own backyard. Whether you live near the mountains, water, or forest, virtually every city has its share of natural wonders. Check for local hiking trails, or set out for a swim or boat ride in a nearby lake or river. If you have a bicycle, you can tour your surroundings on two wheels. And if you’re the adventurous sort, you can even take a camping trip in the great outdoors.

Pamper yourself to the max

If you’ve been craving some R&R but don’t want to spring for a wellness retreat, why not create one at home? Simply grab some bath salts, cucumbers, a good book, and your favorite nail color and voilà: at-home spa. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making your own sugar scrub or essential oils. You can even invite your friends over to join in on the self-care. 

Alternatively, check out local wellness options. From spas to saunas to hammams, most cities have plenty of dreamy retreats where you can reset and revive. Even booking a massage as part of your staycation can help your time off feel special.

Try something new

Are you itching to try something new but never get around to it? Whether your interest is piqued by kayaking, skateboarding, or jewelry making, a vacation at home presents an ideal opportunity to spread your wings and expand your horizons. Maybe you’ve dreamed of learning a foreign language, taking a drawing class, or taking piano lessons — so why not use your staycation to get the ball rolling? Want to test out a more novel trend like goat yoga? Who are we to stop you? And who knows: You might just discover an activity that will help you achieve work-life balance over the long-term. 

Spend time with loved ones

No matter what you do for a living, the work week can be pretty demanding, and there’s often very little time for getting together with the people you care about most. And while a family vacation involves a lot of scheduling, booking, and costs, a staycation can be a great occasion to reconnect with friends and family without the pressure. Perhaps you want to host a picnic or bbq for your nearest and dearest. Or maybe you can test out a summer group activity, try out a new restaurant together, or just use the time to laugh and reconnect. After all, what makes a better vacation than spreading the love? 

Your Money at N26

Whether you’re planning a restful staycation or traveling across Europe, N26 is here to make your holiday run as smoothly as possible. Each of our premium accounts comes with 10 Spaces sub-accounts where you can stash away money for your upcoming time off. When vacation time rolls around, link your N26 card to your vacation Space and spend right from there. If you’re traveling abroad, our N26 You travel account is the perfect companion. Get zero foreign transaction fees, free ATM withdrawals, and travel insurance for extra peace of mind. And if you want the ultimate protection a bank account can offer, spring for an N26 Metal account with comprehensive travel and smartphone insurance, exclusive perks, and much more. So, why wait? Compare accounts now and find the best one for your needs. 

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