How To Make Going Home Feel Like A Real Getaway

Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Not everyone gets to jet off to some faraway, fabulous locale over the holidays. But heading back to your hometown, which so many of us to do in December, can still feel like a vacation.

We’ve compiled a list of five ideas to help you infuse some excitement into your holiday break by discovering fun, new places in your hometown. All you'll need is an open mind and a bit of research, and you can make sure that this time, going home for the holidays will be anything but boring.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Book A Spa Day
One of the key aspects of a vacation is the focus on relaxation. You’ve got time off from work, so why not enjoy it to the very fullest? Yes, that could mean lying on your parents’ couch watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix, but you can also amp up the leisure with some pampering. Seek out a nice local spa, or look into which hotels in the area feature spa activities — and then make a day of it. Book yourself a few activities, and take full advantage of the sauna and steam room. Didn’t get as much money as you were hoping in that holiday bonus? Treat yourself to a mani-pedi and top it off with a 20-minute chair massage. Sure, it’s not the same as a full spa day, but it gets you off the couch and feeling pampered.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Visit A Local Attraction
There are likely local tourist attractions you’ve never visited in the place you grew up. Whether it’s a regional art museum or an iconic landmark like the Saint Louis Gateway Arch or Houston’s Johnson Space Center, we guarantee that there’s something near your parents' house that you’ve missed. We know your hometown probably doesn’t share real estate with the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben (if it does, you are very lucky), but there’s still plenty to uncover, no matter where you’re from. Even small towns often have art centers or museums worth checking out — and if not, well, miles of cornfields are also technically a local attraction.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Take A Day Trip
You’re going to need to borrow Mom’s car for this one, but it will be worth it. Look for a cool spot within a few hours’ drive from your hometown, and then hit the road. If you live in a city, head to a small town or into the wilderness; if you’re out in the sticks, find the nearest city. Pretend you’re on a road trip — with a mixtape for the car and snacks. Then, plan some cool things to see once you arrive. You don’t even need a real destination: You’ll be surprised how much fun it can be to explore the unknown roads and see where they lead.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Book A Nearby Hotel
Not excited by another night in your old bedroom in your parents’ house? You don’t necessarily have to sleep under that weathered poster of Keanu Reeves the entire time you’re in town. Liven things up by booking a hotel room nearby and making your holidays at home into a mini-vacation. Look for non-chain spots, like a funky local bed-and-breakfast or a fancy vintage hotel. If you’re near a big city, look for a hip downtown spot, like Denver’s ART hotel or Boston’s Verb. Chances are, you've never had a reason to spend a night in a hotel in your hometown, so it will feel completely outside the norm. And if you can’t afford the rate on your own, gather some high school buddies who will probably be equally thrilled to get a night away from their families.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Try A New Restaurant
This might sound simple, but we’re creatures of habit, and breaking those habits can yield fun results. Instead of hitting up your favorite standbys when you head back home, seek a new, acclaimed hotspot for your dining-out needs. Try searching for 2015’s best new restaurants in your city, or check local newspaper reviews for the next big thing. You can even hit up a cool new cocktail bar after dinner and make the meal into a whole night out. Sure, you can still swing by your favorite sushi restaurant while you're in town, but testing new cuisines and atmospheres will help liven up your stay.
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