With the economy in the hopper, many people are talking about stay-cations: vacations you take while staying at home. I’ve done a few of these in my time. We also live close to many major tourist areas, and people will often visit us and use our house as a base for day trips. Pulling this together, I have come up with some suggestions for a staycation.
Where to start
Know what you have available to you locally. Most local areas have museums, galleries, zoos, aquariums and other attractions. Get information from a local chamber of commerce, or hit a tourist spot and pick up brochures for the local places. Since we live 20 minutes from the ocean, that is a major draw. We also have a zoo, aquarium, and many historical places within 30 minutes.
Expand your horizon. Look at what is available within an hour’s drive from where you are. In our case, this means early American museums and sites as well as some outlet shopping.
Look further for day trip ideas. We can comfortably drive about 3 hours each way for a day trip if both my husband and I are going (we each take a three hour drive). This expands our reach to Washington DC, four past president’s homes, and a huge expanse of undeveloped ocean beach.
How to Prepare For a Staycation
Prepare a budget. You know how much you can spend. The point of doing a staycation is to cut back on expenses. Figure out how much you can spend, or challenge yourself to do only free activities!
Plan activities. Just as you would do when you were traveling to another location, figure out what you are going to do on each day. Make a list. Check ticket prices. Research discounts. Figure out if you can get a multi-use pass (One local amusement park allows local residents to purchase one ticket and get a summer/fall unlimited pass for free).
Shop ahead. Get your food shopping done before the start of the staycation. Have easy-to-prepare and portable foods ready to minimize time spent in the kitchen. If your budget allows, perhaps treat yourself to something you enjoy but normally wouldn’t buy.
Preserve time for relaxation. Even if you decide that you want to stay at home and do home projects, plan in time to relax.
What NOT To Do On A Staycation
Don’t work. This is supposed to be a vacation. Don’t spend it working.
Don’t catch up on household chores. If you were in another location, you wouldn’t be washing all the curtains in the hotel. Don’t do it at home.
Don’t turn it into drudgery. A vacation is a break from the usual. Even if you choose to stay at home and do things around the house, cut yourself a break and allow relaxation. Lighten up the meals, get away from the computer, limit the time you spend on your usual routine.
Staycations can be a great time, if you put some effort into planning them. Whatever you do for your breaks this year, enjoy!
Photo by kdperico