Planning a Staycation in Victoria, BC

There’s a reason Travel + Leisure ranked Victoria the #3 city in Canada (1) – people from all over the world hope to one day reach this beautiful B.C. capital city. But what about those who already live here? When you live in a place that so many people desire to see, it almost seems like a shame to pack your bags for somewhere new. It’s time to play tourist in your own town. Here are some reasons to book a stay-cation in Victoria, B.C. and tips on how to do so in a wallet-friendly manner.

Reasons to Plan a Staycation

1. Home away from Home

How often can you feel at home in a place and have someone else wash your dishes, clean the toilet and make the bed? Be surrounded by your favourite sights and sounds with a touch of luxury. It can be as simple as staying in an Airbnb loft whose rent you could never afford long term, or as luxurious as splurging on a few nights at a resort and spa.

2. Remember how to Enjoy your City

When you’re busy and stressed with work, life and responsibilities, it can be easy to forget the reasons you fell in love with where you live in the first place. Staying in Victoria while on vacation gives you the chance to fall in love all over again. Bask in the glow of the harbour at night without feeling guilty about the paperwork sitting on your office desk. Relax; you’re on vacation.

3. Get to your Victoria Check List

If you’re like most people, you’ll have a list of things to do in Victoria that you’ve never had the time to go see. Unlike visiting another place, living somewhere gives you the chance to assume that you’ll get around to seeing that exhibit, visiting that gallery or trying that restaurant some other time. Planning a staycation gives you the perfect opportunity to go out and put some checkmarks on that neglected list.

4. You Won’t get Lost

A lot of time while traveling (especially for those who are particularly directionally challenged) can be spent simply trying to find your bearings. You’ll wander streets, not have time for activities due to getting lost and sometimes, you can end up in the wrong part of town. If you’re playing tourist in your own city, however, chances are, you already have a good idea of how to get to your destination. Plus, you already know some great, secret spots.

5. Playing Tourist is Kind of Fun

Grabbing the camera and gearing up with a map or guidebook of things to do in Victoria can be a surprising amount of fun. In the summer especially, you’ll blend right in with the thousands of other tourists the flood the streets. Once you get into the tourist mindset, it’s amazing how many things there are to do. Especially things you’d never consider doing as a resident -a scenic floatplane tour, or whale watching for example.

Tips to Planning your Staycation

1. Book Accommodation in the Off-Season

Accommodation in Victoria can be a hot commodity. The fact that it is a top destination on Vancouver Island is reflected in the prices, especially for upscale resorts, or hotels that are along the Inner Harbour. Booking in the off-season, however, can reduce the cost by as much as half.

2. Look for Last-minute Deals

If your schedule is flexible and it doesn’t really matter when you steal those days off, then booking something last minute could be a rewarding option. Oftentimes, tours and accommodation will be looking to fill seats and rooms, especially if they had a late cancellation.

3. Look for Locals’ Deals

Places that see a high influx of tourists, like Victoria, will find businesses hoping to cater to their local crowd as well. Search for places that offer locals rates and discounts. Another option is checking out Groupon or Island Daily Deals.

4. Think of what you’d Suggest to Someone Coming to Victoria

Struggling to think of what you’d do on your staycation? Try to think of what you’d suggest to a friend who is coming visit. Chances are, hundreds of things come to mind, many of which you’ve likely never done. Curiosity is key.

5. Treat it like a Vacation

Sometimes it can be hard not to think of work when you’re surrounded the things that remind you of your daily routine. However, being on vacation means getting away from all that. Try to get into vacation-mode, even though you’re still in your city. Find new places, try new things, push your boundaries and sign up for tours and activities you’re genuinely interested in. Once you’re “back” from vacation, your knowledge and appreciation of Victoria is likely to have grown.

A stay-cation can be as luxurious, or as budget-wise as any other type of travel. Even more so if you choose to stay in your own house and just explore like an avid tourist. You can take the money you save on accommodation and splurge on a meal at a restaurant you’ve always wanted to eat at, or on a spa treatment at a resort. The opportunities are endless. With such a tourist-friendly and beautiful city at your feet, why would you go anywhere else?

Making the Most of Your Staycation

Trying to rein in spending this summer? This year, forgo the pricey vacation and opt for the cheap and cheerful staycation. Staycations can be a surprisingly fun alternative, if you put a little planning and effort into it. Dial down the day-to-day drudgery and schedule in loads of exciting activities – and your holiday will be a resounding success!

Drop the Routine:

  • Treat work the same as you would, when out of the country. Can’t avoid being ‘on call’? Keep it to emergencies. Otherwise it isn’t a proper vacation.
  • Take care of household chores beforehand, or afterwards. A relaxing holiday doesn’t include laundry, cleaning and grocery shopping.
  • Clear the family calendar. Take a break from regularly scheduled obligations, classes and sports. Replace with fun-filled, group activities.
  • Set appropriate expectations within your social circle i.e. you’ll be unreachable for the duration, or responding to urgent issues only.

Switch Off Electronics:

  • Utilize ‘out-of-office’ settings on computers and phones. Others will be less likely to panic when you don’t respond instantly.
  • Turn off the idiot box. PVR your favourite programs and catch up afterwards; Or better yet, prove that you can live without TV for a week or two.
  • Ditch the video games. Leave the virtual world behind and enjoy some real fun for a change.
  • Put the smart phone down! Make a pact to minimize calls (work and personal) and set up a fine system for family members that circumvent the rules. Spend the extra cash on holiday adventures.
  • Avoid surfing the net. If you need to look something up, pop online quickly, then shut down. Email and the internet can be all consuming. Don’t get sucked into the vortex.

Focus on Fun:

  • What activities would you suggest to out-of-towners? Grab a local guidebook and re-discover your city’s top attractions.
  • Add a little drama to your life. Attend a summer blockbuster, a drive-in movie, a live theatre show, or devour a much anticipated book.
  • The sporty type? Take in a major league game, find a pool, water park or recreational area, or map out a personalized hiking or biking tour of the city.
  • Enjoy some cerebral relaxation at local museums, art galleries, historic properties, science centres and zoos. In Toronto, free tickets are available at your library.
  • If you’re near open water, consider a boating excursion. Rent kayaks, take sailing lessons, or book a ferry tour, for a great day on the waves.
  • Gather family and friends for a good old-fashioned picnic or BBQ, at a community park. Bring along refreshments, toys and games to keep everyone occupied and content.
  • Foodies will gobble up the chance to visit new/favourite restaurants and social butterflies are likely to appreciate concerts, pub crawls or clubbing.
  • Schedule a daytrip to explore beyond city limits. Find cheap thrills at the amusement park, savour a regional wine tour, bask at a nearby beach, or nibble your way through your local farmers market.

Staycations aren’t synonymous with deprivation. Break from your regular routine, channel your inner tourist and don’t waste a moment! You’ll return to work refreshed and recharged – and still have money in your pocket. It just might be the best vacation you’ve ever had.

What’s your favourite staycation activity? How you plan to enjoy your hometown, in the summer of 2013?

The Staycation – A Vacation You Take Without the Usual Stress and High Costs

The term staycation hasn’t been with us for more than a couple of years and in the current financial crisis people and families are torn between needing to get away for a while and managing their budgets. The objective of a staycation is to take what your immediate area has to offer and do what you want to do. Needing to relax is more important than ever, your decisions are more important and you need to be able to focus and think rationally and that only happens in minds that are not over worked or stressed out.

So you need some time away, but don’t have the cash to go anywhere. Whether its just you or the whole family, start with blocking out some time by scheduling vacation days with work; now you are committed. The next step is to find out what each person you are traveling with would enjoy doing during some of that time. Lastly, research the options in your area and don’t let the word research scare you. This is going to be a fun project and if your kids are old enough they can research the activity that they have chosen. You’ll want to know what the hours of operation are, the cost, supplies needed, any restrictions (like are strollers allowed) and plan each day accordingly.

If the children have drastically different preferences for activities or choose expensive activities, then it may make a lot of sense to divide and conquer. The kids are happy doing what they enjoy, you get to enjoy some “quality time” with one of your children when they are their best. The other idea is to set a limit as to how much a child’s activity can cost. If one child’s activity is cheaper, then their day may get to include dinner at their favorite restaurant, a stop at the ice cream stand on the way home or even a new fishing pole to take to the lake that day.

The cost will be so dramatically less expensive then traveling somewhere, that you can probably have an expensive date night at a nice restaurant, go to a play, stay in a local hotel with a pool for the kids, go to a local amusement park or have one overnight trip with the rest of the time spent locally.

If you are the type of person that never sits still, then you won’t have a problem thinking of things to do and will have a great time. If you are the type that can spend an entire weekend on the couch, then the biggest risk associated with staycations is treating it like it’s a weekend and never getting off the couch or running errands and doing housework, so you end up not doing anything fun. That’s why I think planning a staycation is important for these people, because it’s easier to follow through when you have plans.

One last piece of advise to consider is about those you enjoy spending time with and have fun with them. If that means dinner with the next door neighbors or seeing family, then great; but this isn’t a holiday, so you don’t have to go see family if you don’t want to. I’ve found that it doesn’t matter what I’m doing, if I’m around people I enjoy, I’m always having fun.

Learn more about Staycations at Staycations: Vacation without Stress.

Making the Most of Your Staycation

Trying to rein in spending this summer? This year, forgo the pricey vacation and opt for the cheap and cheerful staycation. Staycations can be a surprisingly fun alternative, if you put a little planning and effort into it. Dial down the day-to-day drudgery and schedule in loads of exciting activities – and your holiday will be a resounding success!

Drop the Routine:

  • Treat work the same as you would, when out of the country. Can’t avoid being ‘on call’? Keep it to emergencies. Otherwise it isn’t a proper vacation.
  • Take care of household chores beforehand, or afterwards. A relaxing holiday doesn’t include laundry, cleaning and grocery shopping.
  • Clear the family calendar. Take a break from regularly scheduled obligations, classes and sports. Replace with fun-filled, group activities.
  • Set appropriate expectations within your social circle i.e. you’ll be unreachable for the duration, or responding to urgent issues only.

Switch Off Electronics:

  • Utilize ‘out-of-office’ settings on computers and phones. Others will be less likely to panic when you don’t respond instantly.
  • Turn off the idiot box. PVR your favourite programs and catch up afterwards; Or better yet, prove that you can live without TV for a week or two.
  • Ditch the video games. Leave the virtual world behind and enjoy some real fun for a change.
  • Put the smart phone down! Make a pact to minimize calls (work and personal) and set up a fine system for family members that circumvent the rules. Spend the extra cash on holiday adventures.
  • Avoid surfing the net. If you need to look something up, pop online quickly, then shut down. Email and the internet can be all consuming. Don’t get sucked into the vortex.

Focus on Fun:

  • What activities would you suggest to out-of-towners? Grab a local guidebook and re-discover your city’s top attractions.
  • Add a little drama to your life. Attend a summer blockbuster, a drive-in movie, a live theatre show, or devour a much anticipated book.
  • The sporty type? Take in a major league game, find a pool, water park or recreational area, or map out a personalized hiking or biking tour of the city.
  • Enjoy some cerebral relaxation at local museums, art galleries, historic properties, science centres and zoos. In Toronto, free tickets are available at your library.
  • If you’re near open water, consider a boating excursion. Rent kayaks, take sailing lessons, or book a ferry tour, for a great day on the waves.
  • Gather family and friends for a good old-fashioned picnic or BBQ, at a community park. Bring along refreshments, toys and games to keep everyone occupied and content.
  • Foodies will gobble up the chance to visit new/favourite restaurants and social butterflies are likely to appreciate concerts, pub crawls or clubbing.
  • Schedule a daytrip to explore beyond city limits. Find cheap thrills at the amusement park, savour a regional wine tour, bask at a nearby beach, or nibble your way through your local farmers market.

Staycations aren’t synonymous with deprivation. Break from your regular routine, channel your inner tourist and don’t waste a moment! You’ll return to work refreshed and recharged – and still have money in your pocket. It just might be the best vacation you’ve ever had.

What’s your favourite staycation activity? How you plan to enjoy your hometown, in the summer of 2013?