Lyme Regis, Dorset - by Zoe Dawes

In a changeable financial climate and with an ever-increasing awareness of the ecological and environmental impact of our travels, you may be considering taking a break nearer to home … Why not simply take a day out to enjoy what’s on your very doorstep?  Make the most of what’s virtually in your own backyard – and help save the planet too! Here are my Top 10 Tips for planning a Staycation – awful word but great idea 😉

Rowing boats on Derwenwater, Lake District, Cumbria - image Zoe Dawes

Rowing boats on Derwenwater

1. Make a list of all the places within a 1/5/10 mile radius that you have never been to before ie museums, beauty spots, properties open to the public, nature reserves, sports centres, theatres, art galleries, historic sites …

2. Find out as much as you can about your area – visit your library, Tourist Info Centre, websites, talk to local people, look up tours & organised trips in you area, read the local press and any other sources of information. Ask people for recommendations for their favourite places in your area.

3. Get a map of your area and plan with your family and friends where you would like to visit, when and why. Or maybe you want to go on own – making a date with yourself is a great idea! Perhaps you choose to go on a guided tour or coach trip somewhere. Whatever you do, think of yourself as a tourist not a local.

4. Book dates for your visits in your diary just the same as if you were booking a holiday abroad – and keep to them. Imagine you had to pay a cancellation fee if you didn’t go!

5. Treat yourself to a new outfit or something special for the trip, maybe a guidebook or gadget. If money is tight, go to a local charity shop and get something there – you’ll be helping recycling too!

Drive-Less-See-More Lake District

6. Consider all transport options. If you usually use your car, see if there is a train/bus/coach that could take you. In the Lake District there’s the ‘Drive Less, See More’ option.  Maybe you could walk or cycle? All options that might lessen your carbon footprint (see – this is the ‘saving the planet bit!’) It might take a bit more planning but it is all part of the adventure.

7. Before you go, decide what and where you will be eating. Maybe you want to have a special meal somewhere – book it in advance to ensure you get a table. Perhaps you want a picnic. Identify a nice spot – but remember the weather might not be good so have a back up plan! Make your picnic as delicious as possible – it’s your holiday after all!

8. Make sure your camera/video cam/phone is fully charged. You want to be able to capture those special moments so best take a spare battery/charger.

Leighton Moss garden - RSPB Lancashire

RSPB Leighton Moss Garden

9. Check the weather forecast the day before and dress appropriately. Remember ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather – just the wrong clothes!’ Some of the best days out can be in awful weather.

10. Pack all you need for the trip the day before, have a good night’s sleep and get up in time so you are not stressed or rushed before you go. Tell yourself this is a holiday and whatever happens, look up on it as an adventure …

Lyme Regis, Dorset - by Zoe Dawes

Look upon this trip (even if it’s only for a few hours or a day) in the same way you would a fortnight’s holiday. It’s a time to get away, recharge your batteries and get some much needed inspiration. ENJOY!