Six Tips For Having An Unbelievable Staycation

Last weekend, while some of my friends were off on weekend trips to grand places like the Poconos and St. Louis, I was in the place you can generally find me: home. But, thanks to a little planning, I felt like I had traveled hundreds of miles away from my apartment and had a relaxing, indulgent two days.

Staycations have gotten a lot of hype lately since people have less money to spend on actual trips out of town, but I didn’t believe it was actually possible to have a vacation-like time while remaining in the city I call home. I proved myself wrong. After the jump, the five things I learned about going on a staycation. 1. Plan Ahead. You wouldn’t show up in Rome without at least buying a tour book, would you? Do a little research, decide how you want to spend your days, and line up your plans a few days ahead of time. What have you always wanted to do in your city? I decided to use Saturday to take a ferry to Governors Island, a park I had talked about visiting for months.

2. Don’t Sleep In Your Own Bed. If you can, stay at a someone else’s place while they’re on their real vacation — or have an old-school sleepover with a friend. It’ll get you away from the enormous pile of dirty laundry and give you a different mind-set.

3. Step Away From Your To-Do List. Errands aren’t on any vacation’s agenda, so get those done during the week leading up to your staycation.

4. Explore A Different Neighborhood. I tend to get into a routine of eating at the same restaurants, visiting the same coffee shops, and shopping at the same stores. But by going just a few blocks out of the way, I found a yummy taqueria I didn’t even know existed (and tried my new favorite drink, horchata, for the first time)!

5. Act Like A Tourist. When you have lived in the same city for a while, you tend to forget that there are museums to visit and attractions to see. Pick something you would never do on a normal weekend, and make it happen. I dragged a friend along on On Location ToursNew York Tour of “Gossip Girl” Sites. We rode a tour bus around town with a bunch of strangers and visited places the show had filmed (including the delicious Babycakes bakery, where we downed frosting shots almost too beautiful to eat).

6. Take Lots Of Pictures. On a “real” getaway, you would keep your camera handy at all times, snapping photos of beautiful food you sampled and interesting signs you see. You don’t want to forget about your trip even though you might pass by the same places on your way to work. I even posed for the requisite “Gossip Girl” photo by sitting on the steps of the Met, just like Blair and Serena (minus the yogurt).