Stay Here, Not There
You want to travel the world but your bank account says you can only travel as far as the back garden. We’ve all been there. This post is to inspire you to take a holiday at home and see your little corner of the world how a tourist sees it. Get that holiday feeling without stepping foot on a plane or spending a fortune. For those days you wake up, scroll through social media and it feels as if everyone you know is lying on a beach, wine in hand. You can gain that same holiday feeling, without actually leaving home.
So often when we meet people and explain we’re from Scotland they discuss how beautiful it is, how stunning the beaches are, how jealous they are we can see the Northern lights. . . the list goes on. (You can read that full list of why we love it here) It wasn’t until we left, that we truly recognised how lucky we are to come from Scotland. This can be applied to anywhere in the world – until you see home from someone else’s perspective you don’t really appreciate what you have on your doorstep.
Have you ever considered a hometown holiday? Here’s our top tips and staycation ideas so you can holiday at home!
1. See your hometown through a tourist’s eyes
How often have you used TripAdvisor, Like a local or Culture Trip for your own town? I bet never. Just because you’ve lived there for years doesn’t mean you know everything available on your doorstep – you just know the same old. We recently followed our local tourist board on Twitter. In some ways, it made us incredibly homesick as they share the highlights from home – the parts you often forget. The parts masked by the mundane or for us, the reasons we left. Twitter accounts or local Facebook groups will be the first to share if something new is happening. In order to holiday at home, do the research a tourist would. You’ll likely be surprised!
2. Finding inspiration to holiday at home
Have you ever searched your hometown on Instagram? Or typed it into Pinterest? Why would you, you’ve seen it all before? However, seeing your hometown with an artistic license or from the eyes of someone else will open up endless possibilities. Perhaps someone shared new street art you’d never seen. Written a review of a restaurant you’d never heard of. A simple Instagram filter could make that street of houses you always walk past look like a different city. Inspiration from social media can be a dangerous game however, it is often a very rewarding one too especially when you’re considering a hometown holiday.
3. Have a hometown holiday in a local hotel
When you wake up in fluffy hotel bed sheets and a buffet breakfast who’s to know it’s Falkirk you’re waking up to, not France? Sometimes simply waking up in a different bed but in the same town, is enough to give you a spring in your step. A night “away” doesn’t mean having to literally go away, it will still involve the same relaxation and excitement a hotel anywhere else would. As long as you’re not waking up to the same four walls, you’ll feel miles away. Especially off season, hotels have rooms to fill regardless so it is the perfect time for a hometown holiday at a fraction of the price! Bonus points if you mention being local, this can often result in additional discount as no PR is greater than word of mouth from local people.
4. Stay in someone else’s home
Staying in someone else’s home through Airbnb will also help see your area from someone else’s eyes. Despite growing up in Scotland and visiting Glasgow hundreds of times, we once stayed in an Airbnb in Glasgow. Our host stocked the fridge with Irn Bru and let us in on a few hidden gems. It was such a memorable experience seeing Glasgow how a tourist would see it and not dismissing a holiday at home as we felt “we’d seen it all.” Maybe your host has a favourite coffee shop you’ve never heard of. Perhaps they have a garden which you don’t, a dog which you want or a hot tub that you need – all worthy “holiday feeling” components. Yet that “holiday feeling” could be hiding 15 minutes down the road!
Further reason to book a hometown holiday is think of all the friends and family who could join in too if it’s nearby? So much easier to get everyone in the same place at the same time if you don’t have to hop on a plane!
Sign up to Airbnb via this link and we give you £25 off your stay – who said a hometown holiday wasn’t the best idea ever?
5. Search events on Facebook
When I first moved from London home to Aberdeen I was dreading it. I feared being bored brainless but that was until I searched “events in Aberdeen” on Facebook. I found comedy nights, gin tastings and gallery openings I’d no clue would exist at home! Yet, when we are visiting a new city I google the sh*t out of it – I want to know all the events, create the best itinerary ever and make the most of my visit. Why not apply this to home? You can search for a specific date or simply “this month” and find all sorts of events from designer sample sales, pop up bars or our favourite – a sausage dog festival. Yes, you can literally spend a Sunday morning surrounded by sausage dogs. What would we have done before Facebook!?
6. Use Groupon or Itison
When you sign up to either Groupon or Itison you can use your hometown as default. This means any dinner deals, overnight stays or pamper packages from your area will be sent straight to your inbox. Again this will not only open your eyes to restaurants or bars you’d previously never tried but at a bargain price! All those holiday treats such as spa treatments, afternoon teas or gin tastings can make you feel a million dollars but for less than a tenner.
Equally, it’s amazing what a good discount can persuade you to do. Sky dive? Paint balling? Kayak lesson? These are usually the extravagant purchases you reserve for holidays – but not anymore, now they can be part of your hometown holiday!
7. Volunteer at home through Workaway
Through Workaway, you can enjoy free bed & board so you won’t spend any money but it allows you to view home differently. Learn recipes from locals, traditional music and likely stories from their own culture and heritage which despite being from the same town are likely to be different from yours. We have made lifelong friends through Workaway (you can read all about our experience here) although we tried it in Switzerland first, then Crete and Hawaii – the perfect place to try it is home. It’s so much easier to leave if you decide it’s not for you and with the added bonus you will definitely make new friends and learn more about your hometown.
Additionally, volunteering in a local charity shop, aged care or animal shelter will give you that feel good factor that a holiday does and likely introduce you to new people in your area. A further suggestion why a hometown holiday shouldn’t mean spending money but can be equally (if not more) rewarding!
8. Take a free walking tour
These are often the best way to dive head first into a new city but have you ever taken one at home? Start your holiday at home with a walking tour and you’re guaranteed to leave inspired. Sandemans are a great company that offer free walking tours Europe wide but there are literally hundreds that can show you your hometown off the beaten track. It is custom to pay a small gratuity for your guide’s time, but it is definitely worth it as you are guaranteed to learn something. Not to mention photograph. Rarely we take our cameras out in our local area, but on a walking tour when you see everyone amazed by local statues, architecture and street art you begin to see your regular commute in a new light too!
Sites such as Airbnb and Like a local offer local one-to-one tours which can often be tailored – for example a bar crawl type tour, a foodie tour or street art tour. A holiday at home might teach you the things you love most about new cities, could in fact be on your doorstep the entire time!
9. Play tour-guide
On the other hand, how about you play tour guide? One of the best staycation ideas is to invite a visitor and play tour guide. Chances are there’s someone that popped into your head right now who you’ve been meaning to get in touch with for ages. Invite them over, show them the “sites” – share your city with them. Enjoy it through their eyes! Our host family in Hawaii told us the reason they joined Workaway was simply “to get them out the house.” They wanted to see more of their beautiful island which they admitted they took for granted and felt having visitors was the perfect excuse to always be exploring.
10. Read a blog post on your hometown
I might be preaching to the converted here, but have you ever searched for a blog post of your area? If there’s one thing travel bloggers do well it’s that they only share the highlights. They look at your city or hometown with rose tinted glasses and share the most beautiful photo opportunities, yummiest food and endeavour to find the hidden gems before anyone else – even locals! Coming from a tiny village in the North East of Scotland I thought it would be impossible to find a travel blogger who had not only visited our area but tell me something I didn’t already know.
I found Watch Me See Me and instantly this blog made me see not only Scotland, but our tiny wee corner of the globe (Aberdeenshire) in a whole new way. I didn’t think it could be possible for someone else to persuade me to visit my hometown but that’s a travel blogger’s job. They are making you want to visit – they are the perfect place to start for holiday at home inspiration! Trust me, if someone is writing about our tiny area chances are there’s someone writing about yours too!
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