The concept of ‘staycation’ – taking your annual vacation by staying at home – has caught on in recent years with the recession and other influences. Rather than traveling over 50 miles and staying overnight, you can ‘stay at home’ and take in ‘tourist attractions’ in your local area. Have you visited each of the libraries, historical society museums, state parks and national park and memorials, for example, within a day’s drive and back of your home? Few of us could honestly answer: “Yes,” in my experience.
You can go about planning your ‘heritage staycation’ just like you would a trip to a far-away city. Just focus on your local community and the surrounding region instead of Boston, Austin or Phoenix this time. As you start your planning, you will notice both places you have visited before and want to visit again as well as those places you have passed up, in the past, for whatever reason. Make your normal lists and evaluate each site you list as you would if they were more than 50 miles from home. Remember to include cultural, historical and nature-based sites. You’ll need to eat somewhere during most days, so do not overlook the restaurants and other eating establishments during your visits… try to choose new locations to create new memories.
Be sure, as you always do, to seek sites that balance interests of each person involved, each spouse or partner, each child or others that will be making the trip as well. Consider the variety of interests as well as the places recently visited so that new memories can be created from these new experiences. Usually making short lists of pluses and minuses for each site or attraction is helpful to your planning. Do you find that to be the case? Don’t forget to consider possible changes in the weather conditions, while you are at it.
Finally, be sure to discuss your list with those who will be going on the day-trips to check for their current preferences as well as to identify negatives that you may not have considered. In my monthly column, I’ll be discussing using a journal for your heritage travel planning, on your trip, and to record sharing of experiences after the trip. You can do this for your ‘heritage staycation’ activities as well. How has that worked for you? I always appreciate comments!
© The Dr. Bill Smith 2012
Dr. Bill Smith is the author of The Heritage Tourist, a monthly column in The In-Depth Genealogist which focuses on the social context of travel and history when applied to our genealogy. Dr. Bill can be found blogging at Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories.