7 Tips for the Perfect Staycation

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Fun ideas to enjoy vacation time from the comfort of your own home.

Ever think of your home as a cozy bed and breakfast? Well, maybe you should. This is a great year to plan your “staycation” (stay-at-home vacation), and it may turn out to be your most satisfying destination.

Before we discuss all the great things to be gained through your staycation, let’s review the things you will lose: the expense of travel and accommodations, questioning what to pack, the stress of flying, security lines, jet lag, car claustrophobia, traffic jams, public rest stops, noisy hotel rooms, and hiring house or pet sitters.

Here are a few tips to follow to make the most of your staycation

1. Plan ahead

This could be the most important step. Just like any vacation, you need to do some solid planning about what you’d like to do. When you’re at home, it’s too easy to fall into your regular routine.

If you are a single staycationer, make a list of everything you’d like to experience during this special time. Families should sit down and exchange ideas about their preferences. The time and money you save by not traveling should assure everyone gets to enjoy something they like.

Prepare for your staycation as if you were leaving the house for an extended time. Get your bills paid, errands run, chores and laundry done, send out emails notifying work associates that you will be on vacation – so they don’t expect you to join meetings, etc. If you plan to eat at home, consider preparing and freezing some meals in advance. This is not a time to shop, chop, and clean (unless that’s your idea of fun).

happy couple holding hands while enjoying a walk in nature

2. Be a tourist in your own town

The thing about hometowns and cities is that we tend to take them for granted. If you had traveled many miles to visit, you would be sure to see all the highlights. So, think of this visit the same way. Look up the local Convention & Visitors Bureau for a travel or vacation guide. Make a list of favorite places to explore with new eyes and places you never knew existed.

When was the last time you wandered the streets of your hometown? Take a day to check out a local park; pack a picnic basket or backpack with some treats to enjoy beside a stream. Make a point to notice art or historic plaques you’ve overlooked before.

Half the fun of traveling is sharing your experiences. Pick up picture postcards of your town or city and send them to friends.

3. Make a budget

Eliminating travel and hotel costs can save a bundle, but keep some guidelines on what you’d like to spend during this time. Pick out the activities that give you the most bang for your buck.

mother painting her young daughter’s fingernails

4. Splurge a little

What constitutes a “splurge” is in the eye of the beholder. It can be as simple as a good book and a long uninterrupted nap. Maybe treat yourself to an at-home spa day, complete with self-facial treatments, a bubble bath, a new robe, fluffy towels, and nail polish.

If you were traveling to a new destination, you might shop for a memento to remind you of the experience. You can do the same on a staycation. Buy a new set of sheets with a high thread count and pretty pillowcases. Place chocolates on the pillows before you go to sleep. Buy an unusual pen and a nice journal to keep notes of your staycation thoughts.

If dining out is a possibility, select a few restaurants you’ve been meaning to try, so the experience is new and different. Try a new kind of cuisine, or travel a little further than you would for a regular restaurant visit. Maybe search out some food trucks, or dress up for a special night at the best restaurant in town.

If you ever dreamed of dining in Paris, make a day of learning to make an authentic French meal. Set a beautiful table with candles, play some French music, and enjoy a special bottle of wine.

5. Turn off the real world

If you traveled halfway around the world, you probably wouldn’t be checking email, watching the news, and doing daily chores. Let this be the time to disconnect from the every day and truly connect with the people and activities you love. Wander around on your own schedule, set a little time aside to simply explore, and enjoy your freedom.

children playing with water balloons in their back yard

6. Go out(side)

This is the time to invest in your own backyard. Set up activities like corn hole, bocce, badminton, an inflatable pool, and water balloons. Add a bubble machine, a cooler full of fun drinks, some lounge chairs, and music — you have a happy family. Hint: make everyone leave their phones inside.

Think about a few things you’ve always wanted for your outdoor area — perhaps a hammock, a water feature, or new pillows for your rockers. Let these staycation purchases be something you enjoy all season.

Pull out that tent you haven’t used in years and camp in your own yard. Plan a campfire meal, do some stargazing, and feel secure in knowing that if you lose your enthusiasm in the middle of the night, your cozy bed and bathroom are just a few steps away.

Enjoy the great outdoors. Walk a new route, hike a new trail, rent a canoe or pontoon boat, play putt-putt, or seek out a drive-in movie theater.

7. Stay in

Take an online class, pick up the watercolors, drawing pad, or sheet music that have been collecting dust. Give yourself some uninterrupted time to complete an enjoyable project or craft. Sleep late, watch old movies, daydream, make your favorite childhood meals and treats. This time is yours.

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