My family is originally from South African and when we moved, just over 20 years ago, many of our friends moved to various parts around the globe as well. That, paired with my parents love for travel, has made me lucky enough to travel to some pretty awesome places around the world.
Most of the time when I think of a vacation, I think of a multiple day excursion filled with airports and possible hotel hopping between adventure locations. This las weekend, however, my husband had a work event in Los Angeles on Friday evening so we decided to make a mini getaway trip out of it.
We drove up from San Diego on Friday afternoon and while he was at his event, I got to catch up with a friend in the area. Then we got to the hotel and splurged on late night room service dessert. We stayed at a Hilton near the airport which was relatively inexpensive and dog friendly which was important since we brought little Stella with us.
In the morning, we did something we almost never do...we slept in late! (Those blackout curtains are magical). Once we finally surfaced, we headed to our favorite spot in LA, Manhattan Beach and explored a new park before heading to grab pizza from our first date spot and the best ice cream sandwich of all time! We had nowhere to be exactly by anytime and it was fun to have an agenda-free day enjoying the beach and sun. We were back in San Diego by 5:30 that same day and back in our routine.
I wasn't expecting such a mini trip to be as refreshing as it was, but we both felt recharged on Sunday and ready to get to work. It was a great reminder for me that a vacation doesn't have to be a long, far-off journey, and some of the most refreshing ones in fact are close-by and quick but just as (or maybe even more) relaxing.
Here are my 6 reasons why local getaways are just as awesome as big trips:
1. You Save Time on Travel to Get into Relaxation Mode Faster
Even though LA was quite the drive in Friday afternoon traffic, we still got there faster than almost any airport trip filled with pre and post flight activities. Brad may have had to work that night but I fully enjoyed getting into relax mode asap and enjoyed an amazing dinner with a friend.
2. Even local areas still have new places to explore
Even if it is a place you live or have gone to a million times, you can make it feel like a brand new location. Brad and I met in college and would frequent Manhattan Beach, but since we had Stella with us this time, we looked up a dog park we could take her to and found a gem at Polliwog Park. Not only is the name awesome, but it had beautiful green lawns for picnicking, awesome play sets, a pond, a dog run and a cute California botanical garden. We had never been there before and didn't expect such a great find.
3. You don't have to spend big on a hotel
Since it's local, you have a car so can stay somewhere that is a bit more inexpensive since convenience of location is as big a deal. We got a great deal on a hotel and could drive around between Culver City and Downtown LA on Friday night and easily get to Manhattan Beach on Saturday.
4. But still get a hotel
That being said, wether you are staying in your home city or going somewhere nearby, I would definitely recommend still getting a hotel. My brain is wired to find things to do at home (clean the kitchen, do the laundry, organize this cabinet, etc.) Even if we had stayed at home in San Diego and cleared all activities on Saturday, I think I still would have had a to-do list floating in my mind of all the things I should be doing. Removing myself completely and staying in a hotel with great blackout curtains really helped it feel like a restful and restorative vacation.
5. You don't have to plan as much
One of the most stressful parts of a vacation is planning all the details to make it perfect. Where to stay, what to eat, what activities to do in the day. Since we were familiar with the area, we knew some of our favorite places we wanted to go back to and so other than a quick yelp search on Saturday morning to find the dog park, we didn't do much planning and just enjoyed the sunshine.
6. You can bring your pets (if you want)
Again, since we were driving, we could bring Stella with us and it really felt like a little family vacation. There are a ton of pet-friendly hotels now with nominal fees for letting your fur baby come along.
So the next time you feel like you just need to getaway, consider maybe taking the freeway instead of hopping on a plane. And if you head to Manhattan Beach, make sure you stop by the Manhattan Beach Ice Creamery for the best "Creamwich" of your life.