Tips for the Perfect Staycation

How to make the most of staying put

Even if you're sticking close to home for a "staycation," time off can be as fun and dynamic as if you were vacationing out of town — you can see and eat enough new things to be refreshed and ready to take on 2012. But, there are secrets to getting the most out of the break; the first one being that you should treat your city like a new destination. Look at it through a tourist’s eyes — do a few touristy things you’d usually avoid or indulge a bit more than you normally would at home. Which brings us to tip number two…

Get all your household chores and work-related business out of the way before you’re officially on staycation. You wouldn’t vacuum, mow the lawn, or do the laundry while on holiday, so don’t fall into that routine just because you’re at home. Likewise, stock the fridge (and wine rack) beforehand, so that the only time you need to spend shopping for food is if you feel like a leisurely stroll through a farmers market.

Find out if any friends nearby are staycating, too. That way, you can plan outings together or invite each other over, which will make a staycation feel more like a vacation. When you have guests over, you’re obviously less likely to be distracted by chores or checking email.

Let your hair down a little — have a glass of wine with lunch. And dessert, too. And then repeat at

dinner. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Edoardo Tacconi)

And while you’re at it, make sure to eat in restaurants you haven’t tried that are in neighborhoods you rarely visit. There’s bound to be some new or highly acclaimed eatery you have yet to try that would make the perfect start to a night out.

Find out if any festivals or markets are going on in the general vicinity — food festivals, wine fairs, farmers markets, local artisan markets, and concerts are all great ways to see and taste new things. Plus, they’re often free.

Let yourself play tourist for a day or two and go ice-skating, try that new cupcake place, walk down the main shopping drag, and pop into art galleries and museums you’d normally skip. Think about all the things you’d want to see in a new place, and then see them at home.