For a few decades now, people have been cutting back on discretionary spending. One of the first cuts in a Harlem household budget has been the annual family vacation.Instead of expensive airline tickets and hotel stays, folks have been substituting cheaper alternatives: waiting for special travel deals online, driving to see relatives, having friends and relatives come to see them, etc. But an increasingly popular and fun vacation is the stay-at-home-vacation, or the “staycation.” Summer is here and the time is right, so here are some of the best things to do on a staycation in Harlem.
- Visit your local museums: art, natural or history, arts, or whatever the interest museums. Every area of the country has its local attractions, some world-class, others, well, just fun. Every area also has its architectural gems that are registered on the NYCity Landmarks for Historic places. Pretend you’re a tourist and go for it.
- Go to the beach or pool. Over half of all Harlemites live near the coast, 10% live near the Hudson River or Central Park, and a huge percentage more live near a lake or reservoir. No beach? Go to the pool. About 20% of homes have private swimming pools, as do most high schools and many communities.
- Get the bike out. There are thousands of miles of dedicated bike trails not to mention shared use trails in the parks or around the trail around upper Manhattan. Go for a ride.
- Go to a movie. Yes, you can rent a movie on Netflix or borrow one from the library and have an evening movie night at home with the family. But you can also go to one of the giant theaters and have a 3D experience. Don’t forget popcorn and hot dogs.
- See a show. Of course major cities have theater, opera, dance, etc. But many smaller communities have either travelling versions or local playhouses that can be just as much fun.
- Go shopping. Make the trek to 125th, 116th, 135th, and 145th Streets and the side streets and spend the day seeing what’s new. Harlem is great because its one of the best communities in the world when it comes to food services, shops, entertainment, etc.
- Take a (little) cruise. There are many cruises from Harlem to Manhattan have some sort of dinner or sightseeing cruise that runs in the summer. Hop on.
- Work on that tennis game. Most resorts emphasize tennis. Why not at home? Most major parks and high schools allow access to the tennis courts if you don’t have access to a club. Go.
- Take a hike. Walking is the best exercise. Find some of the Harlem parks or scenic areas and plan a hike. Pack a picnic lunch and water and go explore.
- Read a book. You don’t have to be sitting in a far away place to settle in with a good summer read that we recommend HERE. Go to a local coffee-house and splurge on a cappuccino or other creation and spend a few hours lost in a book.
- Take an exercise class. Try yoga, pilates, spinning, etc.
- See a ball game. The country is dotted with major and minor league baseball teams, basketball or softball. Go, get some sun, have a hotdog, and relax.
- Host a potluck or barbecue. Have the extended family over or host a block party. Ask everyone to bring something and share.
- Play golf. Even if you’re not an avid golfer, this is the perfect time to try it. Go to the club or take a couple of lessons at the municipal course. Or, take the kids to miniature golf and joust with windmills HERE.
- Spend time with the kids. People remember the good times spent with each other more than the places they’ve been. Get out a deck of cards or a board game. Spend time talking, laughing, reminiscing and hiking in Central Park. Life is short–spend time with family.
Staycation is a fancy term for spending your time-off at home. In the days of cheap air travel and a booming economy this never would have been considered. Some people have spent their lives in one area and want to get away and explore new places. But we are a country on the move. According the U.S. Census Bureau, about 1 in 6 Americans move each year and the average American moves 11.7 times in their life. After each move, a new area becomes home but do we ever take time to explore the area as we would if we were tourists?
Let’s admit it, we probably have spent more time exploring places far away from home than we have the sites of our own area or region. This is natural. People tend to dismiss local sites or always assume they’ll go there some day. So there are bound to be places around us we haven’t explored or activities we haven’t tried.
Imagine the benefits of a staycation:
Save money! There are no airfare, hotel, or rental car costs. In its annual summer vacation survey, the American Automobile Association said “the average North American vacation will cost $244 per day for two people for lodging and meals. Add some kids and airfare, and a 10-day vacation could top $10,000.”
- There is no wasted travel day on the front and end of a vacation — two more vacation days for fun!
- No travel means no physical drain. Let’s admit it, travel is exhausting.
- You don’t have to spend your vacation with strangers, either on flights or in hotels.
- If the weather is lousy, who cares? Adjust.
- Your vacation can’t be cancelled by an airline or other travel situation.
The trick to enjoying a staycation is to deviate from daily routines and truly make it a vacation. If you enjoy eating out on vacations, do the same on your staycation. Don’t do the laundry or clean the garage, or other household projects. Relax. As odd as it sounds, bring discipline to the vacation by not allowing chores or drudgery to intercede and take away the fun. Don’t forget, while you are at home, you still are on vacation. If you do so, a staycation can be more relaxing, fun, and certainly less costly than a big travel extravaganza.
Adapted from source