How to Plan a Real Staycation

Staycations are often overlooked when people are considering a getaway. Sometimes, they’re viewed as “gimmicky”,  other times people simply don’t think there’s much to do in their own communities.

But, staycations are seeing a rise in popularity. A lot of it has to do with the COVID-19 pandemic. One survey found that as of August 2020, 26% of U.S. adults took a staycation as a way to “get away” from the pandemic.

Photo by Askar Abayev


Now, travel restrictions are easing. More places are opening up. Thanks to the vaccine rollout, more people feel safe while traveling again. But, that doesn’t mean the idea of a staycation needs to go away completely. There are still many benefits to planning an at-home getaway, including the money you’ll save. Plus, it can be far less stressful and offer an opportunity for you to really connect with your family.

If you’ve never planned a real staycation or you’re worried you won’t be able to pull it off, we’ve got you covered. You can feel like you’re on vacation at home with just a few simple tips.


Stop Working

Routine is important for your overall well-being. But, how often would you be doing laundry if you were on vacation somewhere? How often would you be mopping floors or doing dishes?

When you’re “getting away” at home, it’s a good idea to break away from your typical household chores. Depending on how long your staycation is, you’re probably going to have to do a few loads of laundry here and there so everyone has something to wear and doesn’t have to bust out that Hawaiian shirt from the back of the closet. But, try to avoid falling into your normal cleaning routines.

It’s also important to keep stop working at your actual job. Obviously, you wouldn’t be answering emails and participating in video calls if you traveled somewhere. So, if you’ve taken time off work specifically for a staycation, use it. Turn off work reminders on your phone and don’t let the idea of what’s going on at the office distract you from having a great time.


Plan Things During the Week

If you were on a “real” vacation, you wouldn’t limit your activities to the weekend. One of the best parts of traveling is that you have the free time to experience things any time during the week without the distraction of work to keep you occupied.

You should treat your staycation the same way, and plan for it as though you were traveling somewhere new.

That might start with what you wear. Buy a special “vacation” outfit (or a few!) to make yourself feel like you’re not just grabbing something out of the closet that you wear all of the time. Next, instead of having a bowl of cereal for breakfast, head to a local cafe or diner and treat yourself to a special pancake breakfast –  calories don’t count when you’re on a getaway!

Then, plan something fun to do on a weekday. Look around within a 20-mile radius of your home to see which attractions are open and available. Need some ideas? Try some of the following: 


  • A zoo
  • An ice skating rink
  • Museums
  • Concerts
  • A public pool


By going somewhere fun during the week, you’ll avoid large crowds, and you’ll feel more like you’re on a vacation. If you want to take full advantage of your weekday getaway,  consider spending a night in a local hotel or bed and breakfast. It doesn’t matter if it’s one block from your home – it’s the experience that counts! Doing “touristy” things in your own city will allow you to see it through different eyes. You might come across a hidden local shop that you’ve never been in before or try a restaurant for the first time that will trigger a new appreciation for the things in your community.


Find What Relaxes You

Taking vacations is important. Studies have shown that taking time away from work can:


  • Reduce stress
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Improve mental and physical health
  • Give you a better outlook on life
  • Provide greater motivation


There’s a reason why the stereotypical vacation mindset often includes laying on a warm beach with a cool drink in hand. That may not be everyone’s idea of a perfect getaway, but the imagery represents relaxation – and that’s what a getaway is all about.

So, if you’re planning a staycation, make sure to fill it with things that allow you to de-stress and unwind. Some of the best options for stress-reducing activities you can find in your town include: 


  • A spa day
  • Hiking/camping
  • Going on a local winery/brewery tour
  • Attending a workout or yoga class


This is also a great time to try something new, especially if it’s something that may benefit your well-being. For example, if your job demands you to sit at a desk and work long hours each day, you probably don’t usually spend much time outside. Take this opportunity to get out! Enjoy a picnic at a local park, go for a family bike ride, or watch the sunset with your partner. Try different activities to find what speaks to you, and what could become a hobby you stick with. Nature has numerous mental health benefits, so spending as much time outdoors as possible is a great way to feel relaxed and rejuvenated all at once.


Get Away in Your Own Backyard

Your staycation doesn’t always have to be filled with activities and events. You can take it at face value and truly stay home.

Yes, you can have fun and feel like you’re on vacation, even from the comfort of home.

One way to do that is to transform your backyard. With the right landscaping, lighting, and seating, you can create an outdoor oasis for yourself, your family, or for entertaining guests. Think about some activities you would enjoy doing outside, and you can adjust your yard accordingly.

Maybe you’d like to have an outdoor movie night with the kids, so you can set up a screen and extra seating. Does a cookout with friends and neighbors sound fun? Set up some outdoor games and bring out a speaker to play some classic grilling tunes.

If the weather isn’t suitable for spending time outside, there are plenty of ways you can staycation indoors, too, including: 


  • Boardgame marathons
  • Video game tournaments
  • Themed days/meals
  • Taking a virtual cooking class
  • Indoor movie night


With a few simple touches, your home can become an ultimate gathering place for family and friends. If you’re planning a staycation in the future, consider making some changes now to upgrade your home. That could include small adjustments like painting rooms or changing lighting, to bigger renovations like knocking down walls to create an open floor plan. 


Whether you stay home, play tourist in your city, or simply do things locally that you wouldn’t typically have the opportunity to, a staycation can be a lot more fun than you might think. Even if you feel find about traveling again, consider staying put the next time you get a break from work. You might find that by exploring what your community has to offer, you’ll have a renewed sense of appreciation for where you live.



Jori Hamilton

Jori Hamilton

Jori Hamilton

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