How to Plan a Staycation

Hello, world!

More and more I am exploring (and loving!) the concept of a stay-cation since summer breaks aren’t a thing in my life anymore. While I LOVE going away for long weekends, I know that a full-out of town trip, between restaurants, hotels, transportation, travel costs add up fast.

So, a true Staycation is more than just a few days or a week at home; it is an intentional time of fun and relaxation. It does take a little effort to do it right, but can ultimately be just as fun as going somewhere far away. To make sure nothing takes you away from the stay-cation groove, make sure you set up some useful “rules” especially if you’re doing this stay-cation with your significant other, or even kids: no email, no computer, video games, no working from home, no cooking, no cleaning, no laundry.

Just like a real vacation, the more you plan for fun, the more successful your Staycation is likely to be.  Start by setting a reasonable, realistic budget for your week of fun at home. Next, take the time to figure out just what you will do on your Staycation. The trick to enjoying a staycation is to deviate from daily routines and truly make it a vacation. 

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 trip.

TIME TO GET CREATIVE
I am pretty sure there are dozens of fun things to do in your own hometown that you either never have time for, or don’t even think about because they are so close by.  Here are some ideas to get you started! If you’re in south Florida, I added some extra ideas at the bottom of each outdoorsy activity.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES


NATIONAL PARKS
National parks truly are one of our country’s greatest treasures, and most NPs have a variety of activities to choose from.  After finding a park in your area, you can also purchase a Passport to National Parks at any NP gift shop, then collect passport stamps at every park you visit.  Most park fees are minimal, but you can also check out this page to find free entrance days.

SOUTH FLORIDA LOCALS: How lucky are we! We have so many national reserves and parks, find a list of them all here. My favorites: Matheson Hammock Park in Coral Gables, Bill Baggs State Park in Key Biscayne, Biscayne National Park in Homestead, and Fairchild Botanical Garden also in Coral Gables.

PAINTBALL, LASER TAG OR TRAMPOLINE DODGEBALL
Invite a few other couple friends or families to join you and battle it out! There are paintball or laser tag facilities almost everywhere—Google is your best friend. I also really love trampoline dodgeball. It’s so fun and even a good workout. A win-win all around.

SOUTH FLORIDA LOCALS: You can even get a trampoline groupon for $10 to jump around and battle it out at a trampoline dodgeball tourney!

GEOCACHING
According to the official Geocaching website, “Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.”  

SOUTH FLORIDA LOCALS: To find the Geocaching locations in Broward County, go here!

LOCAL MUSEUMS
Art, natural, history, botanical gardens, zoos, cars, sports or whatever your interest. I bet every area of the country has its local attractions, some world class and some are just fun! Pretend you’re a tourist and go visit them!

SOUTH FLORIDA TIP:

If you're in Broward, the Coral Springs Museum of Art is free on the first Wednesday of every month, the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood is free on the third Sundays of the month, and the Plantation Historical Museum is free on select dates throughout the year. 

The Jewish Museum of Florida on Miami Beach has free Saturdays; the Miami Art Museum has free second Saturdays.

BIKERIDE LIKE A TOURIST

This is the perfect time to explore your city as a tourist. Visit those landmarks that you still somehow haven’t visited. Bring along a camera and test your urban photography skills. Let a guidebook point you towards exciting neighborhoods and relaxing parks and gardens.

SOUTH FLORIDA TIP: All around the Miami area, you can rent a bike with Citi Bikes. Find a location here.

AT HOME

TURN YOUR BATHROOM INTO AN AROMATHERAPY SPA
Stop in at a health-food store to pick out a selection of essential oils in scents you like (calming lavender, rose oil, or chamomile; peppermint or lemon), or try one of Le Couvent des Minimes's all-natural scrubs. Then draw a warm bath, sink into it, or take a hot shower.

STAY HYDRATED
Fill your prettiest pitchers with ice water and slices of lemon, orange, or cucumber. Place them (each with a glass) at various strategic points around the house and in a shady spot outside. Then, as you go about your day, stop often to take a moment to stay hydrated!

MOVIE MARATHON
This one is fairly straightforward. Spend a day or two watching all the Star Wars movies, or start watching that series you’ve been meaning to check out. Breaking Bad, The Office, The Sporanos, Game of Thrones or Netflix’s Making a Murderer or any other documentary. Dive in and watch them all, back-to-back-to-back! My all-time favorites: Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Big Little Lies, House of Cards, and two of my guilty-pleasures: Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder.

COOK A MEAL FROM SCARTCH
If you’re always frantically rushing to get dinner on the table (or relying on costly take-out), a staycation gives you the opportunity to take your time. Cooking and baking from scratch takes some trial and error. When you are off work and at home, you have time to risk making mistakes. Look up recipes on a website like Allrecipes and check YouTube for instructional videos.

YOGA RETREAT IN YOUR LIVING ROOM
"Restorative yoga poses are variations of lying on your back, but with extra support in key places, so you release muscular and nervous tension even more profoundly than when you're sleeping," says Cyndi Lee, the director of New York City's OM yoga center. All you need is a couple of blankets or towels and the right instructional DVD or book like the book Yoga Body, Buddha Mind

VACTION-READING BINGE
Ok ok, this is a bit cheesy but…an armchair journey is a trip, too, when taken in the company of an amazing writer. First, create an ideal setting: Pick your most comfortable chair our couch, making sure that you'll have all the light you need. Then furnish it with the necessary props: a throw for when it gets chilly; reading glasses, if you wear them; a tall glass of your beverage of choice (or a travel mug or a thermos to keep it warm or cool); a notebook and a pen for jotting down phrases that make you go aaah and omg. Tackle a classic you never got around to in college, or if that feels too much like homework, try a summer blockbuster.
MY TOP 5 ALL-TIME FAVORITES: The Book Thief, City of Thieves, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Brain on Fire, The History of Love.

RELAX OUTSIDE BY CANDLELIGHT
 If there's nothing on your evening agenda but zoning out to good music and enjoying good company, set out dozens of tealights. All you have to do next is play your favorite songs!

HOST A POTLUCK
Picking a theme tends to make it easier for those attending so they know what to bring. Prepare a list of snacks, appetizers, main dishes and desserts and then assign one or two items per family/couple who is invited! You can even make it a picnic in the yard with some large blankets on the grass.

CAMP IN THE BACKYARD
Borrow or buy a tent―Coleman has great ones for two or three people. Pack drinks in thermoses and snacks in Ziploc baggies. Bring sleeping bags or blankets, flashlights, and mosquito repellent for everyone. Arm yourself with card games and stories!

Just as a final thought, I believe the best part of a staycation is that the options of what you can do are truly limitless. Don’t look at it as a waste of vacation time. Sticking around town can be rejuvenating AND fun without the cost of a destination trip. Take your time to really appreciate it!

Disclosure: Please note that the links mentioned above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I use all the items I listed and I recommend them because they are great and have made my travel experience better.
Photos by Unsplash via @preview.app

Have you ever been on a staycation? What were the highlights? Let me know in the comments!