As a resident of the same state and same city for the better part of my life, I sometimes think about what it's like for tourists to see the skyline or the Rocky Mountains for the first time. I try to conjure up the same feeling of newness and unfamiliarity that I get when I go on vacation.
But the truth is, it's hard to appreciate your surroundings when you go to the same restaurants, gravitate towards the familiar parts of town, see all the sites that you've already seen a million times before.
So what's the remedy for this, and an easy way to go on hiatus when your budget won't allow for a full-blown vacation?
Here are a few ways you can see your surroundings with an entirely new perspective while taking a much-needed break from the day-to-day.
Do Your Research
Most people spend a significant amount of time researching and planning a vacation when it includes hopping on a plane or staying in a hotel. Why? Because they are likely unaware of all that a new city or town has to offer if they've never been there before.
However, since we usually don't look at our homes through the eyes of a tourist, we don't always know all of the awesome events and activities in our own backyard.
After a little research, I found two small art museums and an animal sanctuary within 30 miles of my home that I didn't know existed – and all three sound like they'd be awesome to visit.
Search local blogs and newspapers for ideas, and create a plan. If you want to get really creative, give each day of your staycation a different theme and center all of the activities for that day around it.
Even if you've seen every tourist attraction that your town has to offer, chances are you haven't hiked every trail or visited every park in your area.
Check out DiscoverTheForest.com, a website that will located every hiking trail, campsite, playground, and more within a designated number of miles from you. You can even search for museum and educational centers.
If you'd rather not leave the comfort of your home, try getting in touch with your inner child and camping in the backyard (this undoubtedly is far more exciting if you actually have kids). Make s'mores over the grill, or try projecting a movie onto your garage. The more out-of-the-box, the better.
Look For Daily Deals
Many people love daily deals for the savings that they offer, but I sometimes find more value in the sheer number of ideas they have for unique outings that I would have never thought of on my own.
I've seen countless deals for wine tasting, go-carting, painting classes, laser tag, and so much more. Never tried it before? Perfect – a staycation is the perfect time to think outside the box.
Just do a little research and make sure you're getting a good deal before you make your purchase. Sometimes the savings are not as significant on daily deal sites as they may lead you to believe, and you can pay less for that same activity elsewhere.
What better way to rediscover your surroundings than by going on a full-blown treasure hunt? That's the basic idea around geocaching, a kind of game in which you search for a "cache" in a specific area using GPS coordinates.
There's an entire geocaching community that hides different caches for others to seek, and generally the only requirement is that you sign the logbook and replace whatever you take from the cache once it is found.
Signing up for a basic (free) membership will give you access to the different caches around you – and there seem to be plenty to choose from, depending on where you live.
Not into geocaching? Try setting up your own scavenger hunt for your family members to participate in. Not only will it get your creative juices flowing, but it is a great way to reconnect with your city or town.
Don't Forget to Relax
The challenge of a staycation is remembering the vacation part of it. I know that when I'm at home, especially for an extended amount of time, I tend to feel guilty if I'm not tackling projects I've put off.
If there are things you need to get done, designate a day or two to work, and then commit to relaxing and enjoying your time off. If you don't schedule in that relaxation time, chances are you'll return to work feeling more worn out than when you left.
So get a move on staycationers! Find a new love for your surroundings and give your wallet a breather in the process.
Kayla, Guest Blogger for ReadyForZero. Kayla Albert is a proud Colorado native who enjoys writing about the emotional side of personal finance, as well as sharing tips on saving money and getting out of debt.