After the last inspirational posts around the potential of exploring your own region (check: You don’t need to travel to be a tourist!, Explore where you live as if it were the last day…, or Do you explore what is easily accessible to you?), I decided to bring you some practical ideas on how to be a tourist in your own city, also widely named as staycation 😉 – for this, you don’t even need to leave town!
And before going on, think that what you look for in a vacation is the light feeling of freedom, the lack of schedule, responsibilities or need to do the usual chores. What you look for is that continuous feeling of amazement, anxiety and wonder. You just need to go without major expectations, and taking nothing for granted.
Act freely! Have fun!
Imagine yourself in a foreign country, romantically wandering in the streets. Do you want more excitement? You can even speak English to fully incorporate the role. Take pictures; write on your traveling journal, if you normally keep one during holidays. Keep your phone on non-disturb mode. You can do it wherever you want. Go to the tourism information, ask for a map, guidelines and best places to visit. Don’t even mention you live there. Just be open and free. Playing tourist in your own backyard can offer you an entirely new perspective on your town. If you want to explore better, seek to interact with people. One of the best things I enjoy during my backpacking experiences is to meet new people and get to know a little bit of their lifestyle.
There are so many options that can be cost-free…
You can simply go for a walk
Get a backpack with some traveling essentials, water and snacks, your comfortable clothes and shoes. That’s the kick-start for the vacation mood. If you go alone, put on your headphones and choose a playlist that you would choose to listen if you were traveling abroad. If you are with your partner, keep it light, with no deep and serious conversations, unless that makes you feel creative and motivated about your future. Choose new paths, discover new neighbourhoods, appreciate the nature around you, observe the people moving around, their behaviour. Sit on a bench and observe your surrounding, feel it and breathe it.
Me, particularly, I get the best experience when I leave the car in the garage and use public transports, walk or ride a bike. That’s what I would do in holidays. Challenge yourself to walk or ride further. If you get too tired, you always have the chance to come back home by taxi/Uber/bus/subway…
Make a picnic
This is something that back in Portugal people doesn’t do much – or at least I don’t remember it as a popular thing. Well, both in Belgium and Germany, that’s something very common and I became the first in line for that program over spring and summer. Pack your food at home, or buy snacks at the supermarket on your way to a garden, and enjoy your time, relaxing with your feet in touch with nature. Gardens, river sides, parks, beaches…it does not matter in which city you are, there will be a place to picnic.
Explore the museums
In Belgium it rains a lot so João and I made an agreement to visit a museum every weekend. There was not much we could do with no money, alone in a new country, with a less than attractive weather. So we did it, and it was great! We wanted to do the same in Munich, but the much more attractive weather called us to other outside programs. In some cities there are special offers that allow you to visit museums for free or for a very low-cost. Go for it. It is perfect for a rainy day 😉
Take a historic tour
We live in a place for decades but we don’t actually know it. Taking a touristic tour makes you see the same place with different eyes. There is always something new to learn. How fun is it to know a little more about your city, when people come to visit you? It really reinvigorates the relationship you have with your city. In Munich for instance, you can go for a complete tour for free and give the tourist guide a tip at the end if you enjoyed the tour!
Make a date with that place
Do you know that garden, that street, that coffee shop, that park bench you always pass by and are curious to get to explore better? Well, just go there, explore, sit, eat, drink, look around, and experience it 😉
Don’t you think you can achieve that vacation feeling? Well, first start changing your thinking. Then, believe in the possibility of enjoying these programs. Aren’t you open to it yet? Then, fake it until you make it! Just go for it and forget about the rest. Live the moment and enjoy! Whether alone or with someone, there is the possibility of special moments in every experience!
Then…don’t forget to tell us how it went! We want to know everything 😉