There’s a reason Travel + Leisure ranked Victoria the #3 city in Canada (1) – people from all over the world hope to one day reach this beautiful B.C. capital city. But what about those who already live here? When you live in a place that so many people desire to see, it almost seems like a shame to pack your bags for somewhere new. It’s time to play tourist in your own town. Here are some reasons to book a stay-cation in Victoria, B.C. and tips on how to do so in a wallet-friendly manner.
Reasons to Plan a Staycation
1. Home away from Home
How often can you feel at home in a place and have someone else wash your dishes, clean the toilet and make the bed? Be surrounded by your favourite sights and sounds with a touch of luxury. It can be as simple as staying in an Airbnb loft whose rent you could never afford long term, or as luxurious as splurging on a few nights at a resort and spa.
2. Remember how to Enjoy your City
When you’re busy and stressed with work, life and responsibilities, it can be easy to forget the reasons you fell in love with where you live in the first place. Staying in Victoria while on vacation gives you the chance to fall in love all over again. Bask in the glow of the harbour at night without feeling guilty about the paperwork sitting on your office desk. Relax; you’re on vacation.
3. Get to your Victoria Check List
If you’re like most people, you’ll have a list of things to do in Victoria that you’ve never had the time to go see. Unlike visiting another place, living somewhere gives you the chance to assume that you’ll get around to seeing that exhibit, visiting that gallery or trying that restaurant some other time. Planning a staycation gives you the perfect opportunity to go out and put some checkmarks on that neglected list.
4. You Won’t get Lost
A lot of time while traveling (especially for those who are particularly directionally challenged) can be spent simply trying to find your bearings. You’ll wander streets, not have time for activities due to getting lost and sometimes, you can end up in the wrong part of town. If you’re playing tourist in your own city, however, chances are, you already have a good idea of how to get to your destination. Plus, you already know some great, secret spots.
5. Playing Tourist is Kind of Fun
Grabbing the camera and gearing up with a map or guidebook of things to do in Victoria can be a surprising amount of fun. In the summer especially, you’ll blend right in with the thousands of other tourists the flood the streets. Once you get into the tourist mindset, it’s amazing how many things there are to do. Especially things you’d never consider doing as a resident -a scenic floatplane tour, or whale watching for example.
Tips to Planning your Staycation
1. Book Accommodation in the Off-Season
Accommodation in Victoria can be a hot commodity. The fact that it is a top destination on Vancouver Island is reflected in the prices, especially for upscale resorts, or hotels that are along the Inner Harbour. Booking in the off-season, however, can reduce the cost by as much as half.
2. Look for Last-minute Deals
If your schedule is flexible and it doesn’t really matter when you steal those days off, then booking something last minute could be a rewarding option. Oftentimes, tours and accommodation will be looking to fill seats and rooms, especially if they had a late cancellation.
3. Look for Locals’ Deals
Places that see a high influx of tourists, like Victoria, will find businesses hoping to cater to their local crowd as well. Search for places that offer locals rates and discounts. Another option is checking out Groupon or Island Daily Deals.
4. Think of what you’d Suggest to Someone Coming to Victoria
Struggling to think of what you’d do on your staycation? Try to think of what you’d suggest to a friend who is coming visit. Chances are, hundreds of things come to mind, many of which you’ve likely never done. Curiosity is key.
5. Treat it like a Vacation
Sometimes it can be hard not to think of work when you’re surrounded the things that remind you of your daily routine. However, being on vacation means getting away from all that. Try to get into vacation-mode, even though you’re still in your city. Find new places, try new things, push your boundaries and sign up for tours and activities you’re genuinely interested in. Once you’re “back” from vacation, your knowledge and appreciation of Victoria is likely to have grown.
A stay-cation can be as luxurious, or as budget-wise as any other type of travel. Even more so if you choose to stay in your own house and just explore like an avid tourist. You can take the money you save on accommodation and splurge on a meal at a restaurant you’ve always wanted to eat at, or on a spa treatment at a resort. The opportunities are endless. With such a tourist-friendly and beautiful city at your feet, why would you go anywhere else?