When my middle-school daughters went back to school in August, they had to report—out loud and to the class—what they did over the summer. Though it wasn’t as exciting as “visiting France” or “skiing in the Swiss Alps” (which, apparently, you can do in the summer), they did get to say “we saw Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Zarcana’ at Radio City.” They also got to stay at the luxe, newly renovated, chic boutique hotel, The Roger, which was all part of our “urban retreat,” code for staycation, the next generation.
Sure, flocking to the nearest city—in our case, New York City, which is just 50 miles from home—and playing tourist costs more than say, camping in the backyard. On the other hand, it wasn’t nearly as pricey as flying anywhere, which for a family of four seems to automatically amount to thousands.
To keep it even more budget-friendly, we walked everywhere instead of taking cabs or the subway and logged over 21,000 steps per day on the pedometer; I wore one just for fun so the kids see how much exercise they were getting. We also ate dinner in budget-friendly Little Italy and shopped for back to school clothes from the sales racks with coupons at the flagship Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue.
After two days, I felt like I had been away for a week. And since I work from home, leaving the house is mandatory for really getting away. Otherwise, I feel like I should be doing something—whether it’s answering e-mail or doing a load of laundry. It was so much fun, in fact, that I can feel another urban retreat on the horizon, such as around the December holidays.
How about you? Have you been on an urban retreat lately? For staycation ideas for a city near you, go to Staycation Ideas.