Are budgetary restraints limiting you to a “staycation” this year instead of a trip to an exotic locale?
Good news: With a little planning, staycations can be as enjoyable and relaxing as pricier vacations — often, more so. Sometimes a break from your normal routine is all you need to get a new perspective on life.
Staycations have also been a trend in recent years. Google reports a 10 percent annual increase in searches for the word “staycation” between 2011 and 2014, with July remaining the most popular search time. And millennials seem particularly on board; research cited in the Huffington Post shows 78 percent prefer “thrilling adventures and nightlife over leisurely vacations abroad.”
“If we can push aside the advertisement-and-personally-inflated perceptions of the wonders of traditional vacation and stop suppressing all the negatives that have beset you on your past treks ... many people will decide to replace their seven-day vacation with seven one-day staycations,” advises Marty Nemko in The Atlantic.
Thinking of remaining a homebody on your next vacay from work? Here are ideas for using that time to your best advantage, bearing in mind everyone has a different idea of what they find reinvigorating. Of course, you’re free to mix and match these concepts daily— after all, you’ll be your own boss, at least temporarily.
- Do take time to make specific plans, even if they call for sleeping in every day, sitting around watching movies or reading through an entire book series. The point is to make conscious, personalized decisions about how you’ll spend your time so the staycation feels special.
- To create a vacation atmosphere, consider family ground rules. For the duration, you might disallow smartphones, emails, video games, TV, world news, worrying, fighting, chores and/or time with non-family members.
- Pretend you’re a tourist in your own area, researching the best attractions using tools like TripAdvisor.com, Travel.usnews.com, TimeOut.com and your local tourist bureau. You may find places you’ve never heard of or be reminded of places you’ve been meaning to check out.
- Make certain days all about your kids, perhaps letting them set the agendas. Ideas? Camping in your backyard, preparing an interesting recipe together, staging a water fight, organizing a family film festival, visiting local museums and recreational facilities, etc.
- Organize a spa day. You might spring for professional massages, manicures and/or pedicures for the entire family; enjoy the saunas and hot tubs at your fitness club; apply soothing face masks and hair conditioning treatments at home; practice yoga together, etc.
- Some people find projects involving home improvement, cleaning or organization to be rewarding during their staycations. Others rule out anything that could be construed as work. Only you can decide which route will be most fulfilling.
- Plan to learn a new skill. What piques your interest? This may be a great time to take a short course or to kick off a series of classes.
- Tune in to your inner foodie. What restaurants have you always wanted to try? Save money by finding deals on Groupon and LivingSocial, going out for lunch instead of dinner, eating dinner early and/or hitting up happy hours for appetizers and discounted drinks. Or you could simply stay home and experiment with recipes you’ve been wanting to try.
- Consider being a guest at a hotel in your city, especially one offering amenities like a pool, hot tub, sauna, spa, water park, appealing nightclub or casino.
- Get reacquainted with friends and family members. Make arrangements to entertain and/or catch up with beloved people you seldom have time to see.
- Renew your fitness goals. Your plans might be as simple as taking a walk around your block every day or as ambitious as joining a new club, signing up for a future triathlon or taking a hike at your closest state or national park.
- Cross something off your bucket list. Chances are, at least one of your items can be tackled right in your hometown.
In short, staycations are all about stepping back to refresh yourself.
“They are your personal paid time off hours to spend however you wish — whether you are spending time with your kids, working on your side hustle or staying home to sleep in,” advises Stephanie Huston in the Huffington Post. “Take a deep breath and a few minutes to decide what vibes you need from your PTO. Setting clear expectations or goals will ensure you enjoy your time off, and come back to the office feeling refreshed.”