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Mastering the Art of the Staycation

Even for a travel writer like me, sometimes it’s nice to not go anywhere further than my town. And sometimes, funds don’t allow for traveling far or staying in a hotel, yet you need a break from the norm. Am I right?

I’ve found that simply exploring my city (San Diego) can provide the feel of going on vacation without the expense or the stress. Here are my strategies for getting some R&R locally.

Keep an Eye on the Happenin’ Restaurants

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San Diego has a tremendous food culture. From locally-sourced sustainable creative menus at places like TRUST to whoever’s currently taking the crown for the best fish taco, there are more places than I can ever possibly eat. And sometimes going to a tried-and-true place is what I crave.

Yelp is a huge source for me in selecting where I want to dine. I find that users’ reviews are pretty accurate, and can often guide me to what to order. I also read Eater San Diego to stay apprised of new openings and hot spots, and am always ready with a recommendation for friends.

Whe I do go out to a restaurant, I enjoy myself. I order whatever my heart desires, and I don’t think twice about the price. Because you know what? I’m going to remember a great meal far longer than the price I paid.

Bonus tip: If money is an issue, go with a group of friends and split several dishes. It’s a great value, as long as you don’t go too deep into the cocktails!

Treat Yourself to a Spa Day

susan glen ivy

I rarely actually have spa treatments while traveling, though I’m open to it. But when I’m at home, a nice splurge is a massage or facial. Whether you take just an hour out of your day or make an afternoon of it, spa treatments can make you feel like you’re a million miles from home.

Bonus tip: Sometimes you can score a great Groupon or similar deal for high-end treatments at bargain-basement prices. Keep an eye out!

Act Like a Tourist


I’m lucky in that I live in a tourist-friendly city, and that there is plenty to do if I want to pretend I don’t live here. Balboa Park. Mission Beach. The Zoo. There’s something about getting out of your routine and doing something completely frivolous, like strolling along the beach or eating cotton candy at an amusement park.

If you don’t tend to see your city from a tourist perspective, try it out. If you were an adult with no responsibilities, what would appeal to you?

Bonus tip: Again, Groupon. One thing locals don’t like is paying tourist prices, but if you scour deals, you’ll pay a lot less than tourists will for things like mini golf and admission to attractions.

Vacations, if you think about it, are really a state of mind. You don’t need to get on a plane or take a road trip to disconnect from the daily grind and come back feeling refreshed.

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