I’ve lived in a large city for almost all of my life, and many a vacation was spent there. Admittedly it’s not not my ideal choice for a summer holiday, but sometimes you simply have to make do. Budget can be tight, work can tie you close to home, or there can be other reasons why you simply can’t afford to spend your time off away from your urban environment. Yet I speak from experience: With a couple of life-hacks you’re bound to make some lovely memories! I’m sharing my favorite tips on how to have a great vacation in the city.
1: Be a tourist in your own city
Many people have lived in their city for so long, that they know the best hangouts. But have you already visited the touristic sights? Climbed the highest building your city has to offer? Went on a scenic boat-tour or bus ride? Visited your city’s most prominent museum? I promise visiting these sights will give you a new, fresh (if not funny!) perspective on your home-town.
Pro-tip: If you’re on a tight budget, look online or in your local newspaper for discount coupons on the entrance fees. Museums sometimes offer a visitors discount on a particular day and time. Or consider booking your touristic sights with a little help from Groupon.
2: Find a great park to grab your green
The one thing I missed when I used to vacation in the city, was a bit of green and foliage around me. Needless to say I made an effort to visit a nice park or botanical garden. Especially with a couple of friends and family this can become a great way to spend the day outside; bring a big rug and a picnic basket and settle in! A ball or frisbee, some magazines and (if the park rules allow it) a barbecue will guarantee a lovely day to catch some rays.
3: Fix up your own outdoor space
Not everyone in the city has the advantage of having a bit of outdoor space. But if you’re blessed with a little patch of backyard, balcony or roof-terrace, I’d advise you to put some effort in and make it a place worth spending your time. Get a couple of (folding) chairs, flower pots, a throw pillow or two (I’m really into geometric shapes lately!) and the odd candle or lantern to cozy things up. Especially on hot summer days it’s great to catch some fresh air, rather than to be cooped up inside*!
* I used to have a balcony so tiny, it barely seated two people. I was the only one on the block who actually used it for anything else but storage! Sometimes I’d switch my folding chairs for a FatBoy to lounge and read in. It might not sound like much, but it kept me feeling cool, refreshed and relaxed when I needed it!
4: Throw a (dinner) party
Summer is an excellent excuse to throw a party. A good bit of music on, windows open, and a nice drink in your hand is all you need to let go and have fun. Of course you can fill in the details to cater to the weather, and to your needs. Naturally a regular stand-and-socialize party is fine, but I bet your friends wouldn’t mind a movie marathon, either! And who would say no to a dinner party where all you serve are cold, refreshing dishes (gazpacho, sashimi, scropino)?
Pro-tip: If you live in close quarters with your neighbors, warn them in advance you’re having a party and that you’ll apologize in advance if things get a little louder than intended. If you don’t see them often, write a funny postcard and throw it in the mailbox. In my experience this will make anyone turn a blind eye to excessive noise – to some extend, at least!
5: Have a home-spa day
Summer means sunny days, tan legs and strappy sandals. But rest assured: Making sure you look your best doesn’t have to cost much. In fact, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home! Reserve a day to give yourself the works, from head to toe. Exfoliate and shave, go for a full facial, give your hair a deep-oil treatment and close it all off with a mani-pedi. Or go all out by applying a nice facial mask or doing your own body-packing! Clear some space, heat your own towels and put in that little extra time you wouldn’t usually reserve during a regular evening or weekend. All the requirements can easily be purchased at the store, or ordered online. And a lovely home-spa day will leave you feeling refreshed and rested!
Note: Have you ever considered buying cruelty-free beauty products? I made the switch about a year ago, and I couldn’t be happier! Read all about how I cleaned up my cosmetics in this article.
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How do you spend your summer in the city?