Budget Travel

How To Make A Staycation Feel Like A Vacation

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Brown, open, dirty.

Image: www.BillionPhotos.com/Shutterstock

We run ourselves ragged in our daily routines with work, family, and other necessary obligations, and we often don’t reward our tired efforts with any sort of vacation. There’s always a reason not to – you’re too busy, you can’t afford it, you don’t know where to go. In these circumstances, we forget what a vacation is really all about… recharging and relaxing, and to that end, there’s no reason that we can’t create one right in the comfort of our own home. It’s called a staycation, and it can be every bit as rejuvenating as a full blown vacation. Here’s what you need to do to make your staycation feel more like a vacation.

Clear the Calendar, Notify Your Work, and Unplug

First thing’s first: when you go on vacation, you don’t bring work with you. That means your staycation should be the same. You should clear your calendar; prepare in advance to get done what you need to get done before you go off the work grid, and notify your employers, coworkers and clients that you will not be available. Just because you’re vacationing at home doesn’t mean that you should embrace any access to email or phone calls. In fact, your staycation will feel more like a “work from home” week, if you do. Once your calendar has been cleared, once your work has been notified, take action by putting your phone and your computer away. Put it them in a drawer, and leave them there all week. Then and only then will you be able to get your staycation on in the right way.

Make Time for What You Love

Vacations are never one size fits all, are they? One person may crave 82 degrees and sunny on a beach, another may crave a hike through the wilderness, yet another may want to shop until she drops. What is it that you love? What recharges you, and rejuvenates you? Make plenty of time for it, just like you would do if you were planning a vacation away. If you love to binge-watch your favorite TV series, spend most of your time doing that. If you love to be outside in the springtime, plan to garden and take plenty of walks. There’s nothing that’s off limits in terms of doing what you love from home during your time off. Whatever you do, make sure to plan it in advance, lest that free time slip quickly away!

Stock Up on Your Favorites

When it comes to vacations, most people have preferences as to what’s ideal for them, but nearly everyone would agree on one thing: food is important. Nobody wants to go on vacation and have food that’s simply “ok” or food that they have to work hard for. Everyone wants to eat and drink whatever they want, whenever they want. Therefore, a proper staycation should have all of your favorite things, and should promote whatever agenda you want in terms of cooking. Love to cook? Then cook your favorites? Hate cooking? It’s take out every night. No matter what, make sure that food is a highlight for you on your staycation, not a downer.

Surround Yourself with People You Love

Listen carefully: staycations don’t work when those who you live with and love aren’t on board. In other words, the only reason you shouldn’t be staycation-ing with your entire family is if you’re intentionally needing some days to yourself. Our recommendation, though, is to surround yourself with people you love who can participate with you, not drag you away from your staycation. It’ll be a lot harder to enjoy a duty free time at home if your spouse is carrying the weight of the still-functioning-normally household alone. If you can, shut it all down. Advise your spouse to take time off, and allow your kids to sit a couple days out of school. It’ll feel like a vacation more if everyone treats it that way.

Make No Exceptions

Make no mistake, stuff will come up that pulls you away. Your neighbor needs a favor; your church group needs volunteers; there’s an “emergency” at the office. These are exceptions that need not be made, most of the time. Use your moral compass to make decisions of whether or not your participation is necessary, but in general weigh it out like this: is my participation in this activity worth taking me away from time I need at home with my family? In some cases, you’ll find the answer is “yes”; but if you’re honest, most cases will be a resounding “no”.

Staycations, when executed correctly, can be every bit as relaxing as an actual vacation. Clear the calendar and unplug, make time for what you love, surround yourself with family, stock up on your favorite foods, and make no exceptions in your agenda… and you’ll find that you want to plan a staycation in lieu of a vacation year after year.

Sam loves having a name that's gender neutral, just to confuse everyone. You'll usually find Sam doing something Sam's not really supposed doing and causing mayhem everywhere Sam goes.