Labor Day weekend is the ideal time for a “staycation.” Sure, it’s the last opportunity to hit the beach / the mountains / the lake / the before the unofficial start of fall. But you’ve probably already gone on a summer trip or two, and if you’re like me (and most Millennials, I assume), your suitcase is still not unpacked and your bank account needs a minute to replenish itself before the holidays. Plus, vacations can be tiring, and the most important goal of Labor Day should be to rest up for an undoubtedly busy fall.
So what’s better than staying at home for a few days with nothing to do? Staying at home for a few days and pretending you’re on vacation. I don’t mean checking yourself into a local hotel or anything (though if you find a good deal, then go for it). I mean exploring your city or town as though you’ve never been there before, easing up on “the rules” and enjoying the place you call home.
1) Be a tourist. Check out the major attractions in your town — the places that you wouldn’t be caught dead in on a normal day, but are secretly kind of cool and worth visiting at least once. It could be a museum, a park, a brightly lit square that is famous for absolutely no reason. For one moment, forget that you’re a local and above it all, and remember how cool it is that you live somewhere where this exists. (But please, please don’t stop suddenly in the middle of the street and look for directions.)
2) Try that trendy / famous / iconic restaurant that everyone always raves about. One of the best parts of traveling is the food. It’s easy to forget about your city’s culinary hot spots when you’re stuck in the daily grind of cooking and grocery shopping. So hit up that new “it” place, or that old classic. Or just grab a sandwich from your go-to deli or street cart and pretend it’s your first time.
3) Take a day trip. Sometimes you really do need to get away from home. Keep it simple with a day trip to a nearby town or to nearby natural attractions. Heck, I’ve even taken day trips to a different borough. Just a few hours away from your town might make your weekend feel special — and you don’t have to deal with long security lines or endless hours on the road to make it happen!
4) Treat yo’self. Tom and Donna had it right. Pampering yourself for a day can be a great way to feel like you’re on vacay without ever leaving your apartment. You don’t need to book a massage at a local spa — invite friends over and make DIY spa treatments yourselves. Or go window shopping — trying on ridiculous clothes with friends can be surprisingly fun.
5) Picnic. It’s the last weekend of summer. Go outside, with a picnic blanket, a few friends, a baguette, some cheese, maybe a bottle of wine, perhaps some dip. When was the last time you slowed down enough to appreciate the (perhaps hard-to-find) green spaces in your town, and sat outside for a few hours in the sun?
And the best part of staycating? No lumpy hotel mattresses, no travel hassles and no jet lag!