Since moving abroad, summer vacation is often spent in the States. While some leave the U.S. to travel the world during the break, the boy and I return home to visit family and friends. In past summers, we have spend out time traveling to California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia.
During that time, we found ways to feel like we weren’t spending all of our time in hotels and eating crappy food, but rather we were living our home life in another part of the country. The following are three ways we have found it easy to feel at home during our summer vacations.
1. Be a local
Nothing helps me feel at home in a place like eating and living like the residents. Whether in Rome or Washington D.C., I search for local spots that everyone is eating at. We especially love eating at off the grid mom and pop joints that leave us happily fed and pleased. We love meeting new people and getting to know the areas we are touring.
By exploring the food, the music, and the areas in the city (beyond typical tourist spots) you get a feel of what life is like for someone who calls that place home. Strike up a conversation with someone in the park while your kids play, offer to buy someone a drink at the local dive bar, or visit a local community center.
2. Drive yourself around
Renting a car is a must for those who are as active as the boy and I. However, navigating several websites to find the best deal or the car that we need for our trip can be challenging. Cars.com has a lot of information to help me figure out what car is best for our road trip from LA to San Francisco or that camping trip in the Poconos. There, I can find all the information I need on their website to determine what car is best to rent during our stay.
They also have car seat checks, a feature that helps parents find the best vehicle that fits your child’s carseat. This is especially important to those families who still have young ones they want to keep safe. Cars.com allows you to select the make and model of your car, and also the model of car to determine an overall grade for the type of car seat you may be using. I don’t have an infant anymore, but I love this feature for my friend and family with little ones.
3. Stay in someone’s home
Staying in a home that is already “homey” is a really great way to settle into your vacation. You may not want to crash with relatives and friends all the time and may need a space of your own. We used HomeAway to rent a place near the beach in South Carolina and frequently book Airbnb for quaint places to stay in the US and Abroad.
Staying in someone else’s home allows your vacation to not feel so impersonal. No matter where you are in the world, you can feel like you’re a local staying there. As a bonus, you are able to shop at a (hopefully) nearby grocery store to find your favorite foods to cook meals that please your whole family.