How to make a staycation feel like a vacation

May 29, 2015

By Paul Brucker

How to make a staycation feel like a vacation

Did you ever explore the area where you live as if you were a tourist? Are there places nearby that you thought you would visit someday but never got around to visiting? What about backyard activities that you love and things to do at home that enable you to kick back and feel joy? If so, you have the basics in place for a great staycation.

Staycations first became prevalent during the economic crisis that began in 2007. Many people decided that they could significantly cut their discretionary spending by finding a cheaper alternative to their annual family vacation. They discovered they could stay at home during their time off from work and still have fun – with a staycation.

When you take a staycation, you’ll save yourself a lot of costs and traveling hassles. The average tab for a trip in the U.S. is $244 per couple a day for just lodging and meals. Bring along some kids and fly somewhere for a 10-day vacation and you’re looking at an average of $8,000 in expenses, according to the American Automobile Association. With a staycation, you free yourself from airfare, hotel and rental car costs, plus packing and nerve-wracking airport delays.

Just keep in mind that a staycation is supposed to be a genuine vacation. That means avoiding household chores and projects, such as de-cluttering closets or building bookshelves. It also means you need to be disciplined and avoid taking on any work from the office. Create an out-of-office notice for your work email with a message saying you won’t be checking email until you return to the office.

Here are seven staycation ideas:

  1. Go swimming. Take extra time to enjoy your backyard pool or take a daily trip to nearby beaches and lakes. If those are not options, swim in a community pool.
  2. Take a bike ride, including riding on any bike trails nearby.
  3. Enjoy the sporting life. If you play tennis or golf, work on your game. Try other activities, such as yoga, exercise classes, horseback riding, bowling or laser tag.
  4. Take a hike. Reconnect with nature by hiking in a park or visiting botanical gardens. Visit local attractions, including the zoo, art or history museums, local cruises and amusement parks. Attend local festivals.
  5. Take yourself out to a ball game, movie or the theater.
  6. Kick back in your backyard. Barbeque, read a good book or take a nap.
  7. Spend quality time with your kids. Play games and have long, great talks.

“The trick to enjoying a staycation is to deviate from daily routines and truly make it a vacation,” says Forbes writer Steve Odland. “If you enjoy eating out on vacations, do the same on your staycation. Relax. As odd as it sounds, bring discipline to the vacation by not allowing chores or drudgery to intercede and take away the fun. Remind yourself that, while you are at home, you still are on vacation. If you do so, a staycation can be more relaxing, fun, and certainly less costly than a big travel extravaganza.”

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