The benefits of staying near home
The holiday season is again upon us and many of us didn´t even get a vacation this year! The news are stock- piled with restrictions, confinements, lay-offs, unemployment and general end-of-the-world, next-economic- crisis scenarios , while we shudder behind our morning coffee or afternoon tea typing away at our computers in our make-shift home offices wondering what will happen next. We are afraid to go out, avoid shopping in physical stores and meekly wonder if we will get a break before we jump in another year with bleak perspectives and honestly not much promise.
Well, you won´t get a break unless you take a break, would you? Because how it goes with breaks, breaks – need to be taken- you don´t ask for them, you don´t request them- you simply take them! And the truth is life goes on, people are shifting, companies are evolving and the rules are changing, but it is only up to us to make sure we don´t get lost in this transition and enjoy fully what it offers.
This Holiday season go on a staycation! Yes, you heard right! Staycation is a term that hasn´t been widely accepted yet, yet it is widely used. It implies booking a room at a hotel in your own city and staying in for a vacation. Wait? What??
But yeah, think about it, isn´t that the perfect opportunity to actually relax and unwind, to really slow down and enjoy some much deserved pampering? Let me tell you about my experience with staycations.
The first time I went on a staycation was in 2015. No pandemic back then either. By that time I had been in Barcelona for 8 years and every chance or long weekend I got I would catch a plane to… elsewhere on the planet. So my own city, Barcelona, remained greatly unexplored. Also, I would book the plane tickets for randon weekends greatly in advance and when the time came there was unavoidably some spectacular social gathering back home that I missed, because I was away.
It started to dawn on me that there were opportunities here! I was a regular visitor to local hotels ( funny enough , the best place to have coffee in a crowded with tourists city center are the bars of the hotels, because usually all their inhabitants are out in the streets sightseeing and experiencing the local culture). So I decided to go the extra mile and book a room in city center Barcelona… My first hotel was a 4-star on Enric Granados Str. I prefer the 4-star range because they are upscale, yet they haven´t stopped trying yet and usually strive for excellent service, which doesn´t always happen at more ¨luxury¨ establishments.
I got a deal on the suite the previous week for less than 100EUR a night and gingerly checked in on Friday evening for a weekend getaway in my own city. Full disclosure, the guy at the reception ogled me weirdly for a second when I wrote down my address just a couple of miles from where we were standing, but he let it go and so did I , with a smile. I probably wasn´t the first ¨staycation-er¨ he saw after all.
The suite was beautiful with a leather sofa and a huge comfy bed and I had a blast for two days while friends were stopping by to have a drink and enjoy the surroundings. We went to nearby restaurants like tourists would do, we went sightseeing and shopping and did a take on the city I had never done before.
I have done several staycations since then near where I live and here is why you should too:
- You can do a staycation really close to where you live, no travel necessary. Save up on airport shuttles, extra leg room and air fare. Research a favourite area of yours in town and pick up a hotel. Pack up a small suitcase and you are on your way! Going tourist even in familiar surroundings will surprise you: it is a magical change in perspective!
- No need to plan ahead. You can let your sponatneaty shine: since you won´t be travelling and will generally stay in the city or area you live, you will still be able to honour last minute invitations, if they appear or local obligations to family and friends.
- Getting a last minute get-away in your own city can be quite cheaper than going away on a full-fledged vacation at a far away destination. Except the obvious savings from air-fare, you are also exempt from all tourist traps that await you in a city that you don´t know very well.
Usefull tip when booking a room: Research your favourite hotels in advance and sign up for their newsletters. Hotels frequently do flash sales for the upcoming weekend when occupancy is below what is expected.
4. No MIA, your friends and family still can reach you. If binging on champagne and bubble baths gets boring after a while( I can see how it may), you can always call a friend or a family memeber to share the experience at the lobby bar or the Michelin-star restaurant of the hotel. They are nearby and will be glad to check out a new venue in town. You can bet your big toe that most people in your city have never gone near a hotel in their own town. You´d be kind of an innovator!
5. You actually get to rest! Going on a vacation to a faraway destination usually creates the urge to visit as many as possible sights, try as many as possible new experiences and savour as many as possible local delicatessen, which all in all can be very daunting and exhausting. A staycation allows you to relax, let go, enjoy the hotel´s culinary offer and special amenities like spa, pool, gym and boutiques and recharge in a cosy and luxurious environment, while others take care of you.
Hey, you even might get to that book that you have been meaning to!
Also, a gift voucher for a weekend getaway in the city may be a welcome and wonderful gift for your loved ones for Christmas! And I bet they will be taking you along as well!