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Budget Travel: Local Getaways and Staycations

Updated: Feb 23

For those of us who love to travel, there will inevitably be times when our wanderlust is strong but neither our schedule nor our budget allows for an extended trip. For those who are just beginning to think about travel, something short and local might be the solution for gaining confidence. Perhaps you have a special day you want to celebrate. A quick local getaway or staycation is a great way to cure those itchy feet or start your travel lifestyle. While we may yearn for an exotic distant destination we should also realize that our home is that exotic distant destination for many others. Indeed, few of us visit the spots where tourists flock in our hometowns and we are missing out. Travel doesn't have to require a passport and long flight if we look for opportunities nearby.

A local getaway or staycation allows us to explore what our community offers. Consider the types of experiences you enjoy when abroad and find those. Discover the charming neighbourhoods, foodie/beverage scene, museums, and outdoor adventures you've overlooked during the hustle and bustle of your daily life.

A suitcase, purse, camera and scarf agains a brick wall

Quick local escapes are not only a change of scenery and routine but also require less planning. Whether you choose a mid-week retreat or spontaneous day trips, you are sure to find that a lot of relaxation or adventure (maybe both?) can be packed into that short timeline.


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What is a Getaway or Staycation?

A getaway is your secret adventure – a brief fling with exploration that doesn't involve complicated travel plans or passport stamps. It's a magical escape where you trade your daily grind for a rendezvous with relaxation, exploring hidden gems in your hometown, or plotting a cunning retreat to a cozy local hotel. A getaway is a wink to monotony, a quick burst of wanderlust satisfaction that will leave you refreshed, revived, and armed with stories to share.

Look to nearby cities and towns to minimize travel time. Look for those destinations that have something unique to offer that aligns with your interests and the types of attractions that you most enjoy. Set your budget to include travel, lodgings, meals, and activities. Consider weather forecasts. Decide if you need a vehicle and parking or if public transportation is available. Check the local tourism website for local events and available tours.

If time and budget are even more limited, a staycation may include becoming a day tripper from your home or turning your home into the ultimate relaxation retreat. It may include daily outdoor adventures, hiring a masseuse or splurging on a private chef to pamper yourself.

Side of a bed and bedside table with lamp, notebook and photograph

Local Getaway and Staycation Ideas

City Explorations

Cities are full of exciting experiences, many woefully unexplored by locals. Museums, parks, and tourist attractions are plentiful. If you love to shop, find eclectic boutiques or funky shopping districts. Buy tickets to a local show or performance. Treat yourself to a fancy meal at that restaurant you saw written up in the local newspaper. Seek out that stunning viewpoint you see on tourist brochures. Grab a friend and enjoy some nightlife in a hidden speakeasy, comedy club or concert venue. See what your local tourism board recommends -- you are sure to find something that intrigues you.

Rock concert stage with crowd in front. Bright stage lights flood down on two performers.

Wellness Retreat

You may need a break from your daily routine and are craving an opportunity to reduce stress and rejuvenate your body and spirit. Book a spa day with indulgent treatments. A yoga class or participation in a wellness retreat blends relaxation, mindfulness, and fitness.

Folded towels on a wooden beench with lit candles and a purple tulip

For those staying at home, design an indulgent day of pampering. Create the mood by lighting scented candles, pouring yourself a glass of wine, and turning on your favourite tunes to enjoy while luxuriating in a soothing bubble bath.

Nature Getaway

Nature lovers will want to explore the great outdoors. A local getaway encourages you to grab your hiking boots and get out to local parks, trails and nature reserves. Visit botanical gardens and mender along waterside walks. If you have the equipment, look for a campground to spend a night or two under the stars.

A stream in a forest

A nature getaway is the perfect time to learn some new outdoor skills. Consider signing up for sailing, surfing, or kayaking lessons or rent a bicycle, scooter, or ATV to explore local trails.

Put a botanical garden or two on your excursion list. Even if flowers aren't your thing, gardens are always peaceful and include great walking paths.

A shaded woodland garden  with purple and yellow flowers on the ground and ivy wrapped trees aall around.

Aquariums, bird sanctuaries, animal rehabilitation centres and wildlife tours provide a deeper look at the wildlife diversity in the area. If you are near the coast, a whale-watching tour might be right up your alley. On wildlife tours, expert guides will take you to their 'best spots" as they deepen your understanding and appreciation for the surrounding nature.

A sign fo OWL, Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society

Sports Break

Sporty types will enjoy finding more athletic pursuits. Look for favourite and unfamiliar activities from pickleball and axe-throwing to skiing, golfing or fishing. Rent a bicycle and pedal along a local bike path.

A row of rental bikes in downtown Vancouver in front of the A-Maze-ing Laughter installation

For a change of scenery, explore local gyms that offer unique experiences like rock climbing or trampolining. Spend a fun-filled afternoon challenging yourself with these unconventional and exciting activities, combining fitness with enjoyment.

For those seeking the energy of a crowd and the stadium's roar, attending professional sports games or tournaments is a must. Check if your favourite team is playing locally. As a rugby fan, I highly recommend experiencing an electrifying Rugby 7s tournament – a unique and dynamic sports spectacle that promises excitement and entertainment.

Foodie/Beverage Adventures

Plan a culinary getaway by exploring local food tours and cooking classes. Get your social fix by joining a pub crawl, craft beer or winery tour. Sample local flavours at small-batch distilleries. Seek out unique experiences at the chef's table at a top-rated restaurant or find a food truck festival. Drop into that humble local diner for their best-selling menu item. Fill your senses and tummy with a visit to a local bakery or coffee shop.

Looking into a food truck window. Server and the hands of a customer can be seen. The window is surrounded by coloured lights.

Look for the cultural districts where clusters of ethnic restaurants, grocery stores and cultural vibes are common. In Vancouver, we have Chinatown, Little Italy, and Greektown, amongst others. We also have the biggest Night Market in North America. Find the enclaves in your area to discover new tastes and experiences.

A Night market with crrowds of people, rows of garish food stalls, and triangle flags strung overhead

Don't forget to check the local tourism websites for any special events, festivals, and tasting events.

Cultural Experiences

Culture enthusiasts will want to begin by attending local shows or performances. Look for live music, plays, musicals, and comedy clubs. Hang out in the lively atmosphere of festivals and cultural events that make your community unique

A view of False Ceek with dragon boats lined up ready to race.

Explore special communities such as an Indigenous Community Centre or artist communes. Uncover the stories of the past by visiting museums, galleries, and historical sites. Chances are high that the last time you visited, it was on a school field trip.

A West Coast First Nations wooden villlage signpost as tall as a house. It is carved with figures on the upper cross bar. It is plaaced outside aa wooden longhouse

Adventure Activities

Adrenaline junkies looking to raise their heart rates should look for bungee jumping, mountain/rock climbing, off-road biking or white-water rafting. If available, consider a hot-air balloon ride, paragliding or a small plane tour. If you're looking for an even more awe-inspiring adventure, look for an opportunity to book a parachute jump or learn to dive.

2 yellow river kayaks travelling along aa stretch of rapids

Final Thoughts

Quick getaways and staycations can offer a break from routine while giving us a chance to rediscover the wealth of experiences right at our doorstep. Whether we're looking for the thrill of adventure, local flavours, serene nature, or cultural experiences it can be found in our own backyards.

I encourage you to take that weekend escape or create your own staycation retreat that will satisfy your wanderlust without needing to venture far from home. Discover the reason that your home is on others' travel bucket list. After all, sometimes, the most extraordinary adventures are the ones waiting just beyond your doorstep.

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Feb 16

These getaways are always fabulous and are often enough to charge energy and make us feel like our azimuth is aligned again.

In Portugal, at the moment, we also have a strong following for religious tourism getaways, as there are many places of worship that attract travelers from all over the world. Angela | Blonde Around The World Travel -

Replying to

We travellers need our "fix" even if schedules and budgets conspire against us. The local getaway is the perfect solution. Portugal has become very popular over the past few years.


Feb 10

When we live in a place we often don't really explore the closeby areas, we're always seeking to leave the region and travel further away from our everyday routine. I agree with you, getaways and even if they are local, can just be as exciting as destinations much further away. There are a few interesting places nearby where I currently live and I have just spend the morning to arrange travel and plan the day trips -surprisingly the costs are very moderate, even though I got big tourist places near Brussels.

Carolin | <a href="">Solo Travel Story</a>

Replying to

You bring up an excellent point. Another advantage is that during low season, there are often great deals for locals.


I have to say that I am guilty of doing very few staycations or local getaways.

I seem to be constantly planning for trips much further afield and want to save money for those instead.

Having said that I do realise that I have such beauty and history on my doorstep and I am seriously missing out of places that people travel the world to come and see near me.

I do find the UK can be expensive to travel and stay around but with so much near me I should be taking more advantage of those attractions.

Replying to

I think many travellers miss out on our own backyards because we are so busy planning our grand adventures. I love getting visitors because I make a point of taking them to the fantastic local places.


Yes! So much yes! I try to tell people this all the time - it doesn't matter WHERE you go, just go. Exploring your own back yard with new eyes can be surprising! Inspiring post!

Replying to

I am the same... "Just Go!" Any new place is an adventure and the adventure isn't better just because it requires a passport!


It just goes to show that a huge amount of time does not need to be dedicated to provide a bit of a reset. I love a good getaway and we're luckily living where we do to be able to enjoy a city escape or a cabin in the woods for a couple of days easily enough. I'm a big fan on the nature getaway but it doesn't all have to involve camping which is nice. Though there's something to be said about a staycation night downtown and a dinner for one at your favorite place

Replying to

I mix it up because I love both nature and culture. The pandemic taught me to appreciate local getaways.

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