The following post is from staff writer Melissa Batai
My family and I lived in the near west suburbs of Chicago for 14 years. Every year, nearly “40 million people visit Chicago” (City of Chicago) from the U.S and other countries like China, South Korea, Japan, and Poland.
We lived in the suburbs of the third-largest city, a city that was a travel destination for millions of people every year.
We had our own list of things we wanted to do in Chicago—visit Willis Tower, Ernest Hemingway’s boyhood home, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio. Yet how many of these things did we actually do?
It’s easy to dismiss what is right in your backyard and set your sites on visiting other locations. But why?
We could have easily had a staycation at our home and visited sites that millions of people were traveling to Chicago to see. We would have saved on housing and eating out costs. Our only expense would have been paying for the attractions themselves.
Learning the Power of a Staycation
Last July, we moved to Tucson, Arizona. Having never visited or lived in the Southwest before, everything here is new. Since we’ve moved here, we’ve visited ASARCO (a working, open-pit copper mine), Mission San Xavier, Tumacacori National Park, Tombstone, Old Tucson, and Sabino Canyon, to name a few. There are still plenty more things to do in our immediate area before we branch into the surrounding areas like the Grand Canyon.
Because the Southwest is so different from any place we’ve been before, we’re taking advantage of being here to see all the sites, which we should have done in Chicago.
Make Your Staycation Special
If you don’t have enough money or time this year to take a full-fledged vacation, try a staycation. But make the time you spend at home special.
Visit local attractions. Take the time to visit local attractions and try not to worry (too much) about the price. For many years while we were in Chicago, we wanted to visit the Skydeck at Willis Tower, but the price of $76.50 for our family to do so was hard to swallow. But, had we been visiting Chicago as our tourist destination, we likely would have paid for it.
If you’re taking a staycation, truly treat yourself like a tourist.
Make the time special. Yes, after you’re done visiting each day, you will be going home, but try to treat home like you would a hotel room. Spend time with your family. Avoid long e-mail sessions. Don’t worry about deep cleaning the house because you have the time. Instead, take the time to relax. Watch a movie together or eat a delicious meal together. The best part of a vacation is spending time with your family, so don’t neglect that just because you’re at home.
My Questions for You
Do you ever take a staycation, or do you neglect seeing the sites that are nearby simply because of their vicinity and availability? Is there a place near your home that you really want to visit but you haven’t because of the cost?