I am a certified homebody. I love being at home. I also love saving money. I hate packing. And I hate the big pile of dirty laundry that happens after you travel somewhere and you dump your suitcase out onto the floor but are way too tired to actually do anything about it so you ignore said pile for at least a week until you really need something from the pile and are forced to deal with it. So when the warm weather rolls around and I want to take a vacation, it is usually the staycation that calls to me with it's sweet, alluring song.
For those of you who do not know what a staycation is, it's a vacation where you stay at home. It's a great option if you're on a budget or if you hate traveling. But here is the thing: there is a danger when you stay at home for your vacation for you to stay in your usual routine and for it not to feel like a vacation. Being at home in your house in your town you can easily fritter away your vacation running errands and watching tv and eating all of the normal things that you eat during the normal week. So to have a really successful staycation that feels like an actual vacation from the day to day grind, you're going to want to follow these 30 hacks that we've made for you.
30 Get your to-dos out of the way before your vacation
I get in a bad habit of leaving all of my to-dos until my days off. So a lot of the time my weekends are just busy running around days, rather than being the relaxing days that they're supposed to be. So once the countdown is on for your vacation, make a list of all of all of your errands and all of the things that you might be tempted to do if you're at home during your vacation and parcel them out in the evenings and weekend leading up to the vacation.
29 Make a plan
You plan out your vacations, right? Well, this is a real vacation, even if you're not leaving home, so you're going to want to put a plan in motion. This is going to give you things to look forward to during the build-up to your vacation and will make sure that you don't ever have one of those days where you wake up and are so indecisive that you end up doing absolutely nothing because you simply cannot decide what you want to do.
28 Change your room a bit
I love the feeling of staying in a hotel. Everything is clean, and crisp and they always think about the little, pretty details that make your stay feel wonderful. I have a set of silky sheets that I keep out of my regular rotation and use just for vacation time. So when it's vacation time I change my sheets to the silk ones and make my bed extra nice, with the whole tuck-in sides and everything. I also put out a vase of fresh flowers and, even though it's super silly, I get those mini chocolates to leave on my pillow in the mornings.
27 Have a really good breakfast every day
I love to start the day off with a really delicious breakfast when I'm on vacation so I make sure to have cinnamon rolls in the freezer that I can pull out the night before and let rise on the counter so that in the morning I can just pop them in and have freshly baked cinnamon rolls. And I get delicious ingredients like bacon and sausage and make myself omelettes and breakfast skillets and eggs Benedict. It is SO worth the effort.
26 Hire a cleaner
If you can afford to do this, it is going to make all of the difference in the world. Hire someone to clean your house for the week (or two) that you're on your staycation. They'll come in and clean up your dishes and make your bed, and it really will feel like staying in a hotel because you'll come back to your room at night to a freshly made bed and folded towels in your bathroom. You can usually find reasonable prices for cleaners if you shop around beforehand.
25 Make your drinks fancy
Even if you're just having soda, putting it in a cool glass that is rimmed with colored sugar, has a funky umbrella and has fruit on the side of the glass will make you feel like you're at a resort. I like to get a pineapple and hollow it out and make myself a pina colada and drink it out of the pineapple with a crazy straw and umbrella. It might sound like a lot of work, but nothing says vacation like drinking out of a pineapple. Or a coconut. Either one would do.
24 Have really yummy drinks
Whether you like wine, blended frozen drinks, craft beer, fun sodas or milkshakes, make sure that your home is stocked with really yummy drinks. When I think of vacation time, I think of relaxing in the sun and drinking really delicious drinks all day long and to make sure that you have a drink in your hand and are relaxing properly you're going to need to make sure that you're fully stocked with all of your favorite drinks. Whip out the blender. Grab your wine aerator. Do whatever you need to to make sure that you're ready for lots of delicious drinks.
23 Do something healthy
Go to a yoga class, go for a hike, or take a nice long walk somewhere beautiful. It doesn't have to be strenuous exercise, but making sure that you are doing something healthy during your staycation means that you're going to be feeling good. Your body and mind will feel nice and relaxed too, which is exactly what you're looking for when you're on your vacation. If you've had your eye on a fun exercise class at your local YMCA, try it during your staycation.
22 Go minimalist
Put your knickknacks away. Roll up your rugs and put them in the linen closet. Take down pictures you might have around. Move your furniture around a bit too. Hotels often give you a feeling of relaxation because they're not cluttered and they're a new space. You can trick yourself into feeling like you're in a new space by going minimalist and re-decorating a bit. Plus it might help you from going straight into at-home habit mode while you're on your staycation.
21 Make your bathroom a spa haven
Get the big fluffy towels out. Have a cozy or silky robe, rather than your tattered terrycloth one. Have candles by your bathtub. Get either a diffuser or a scent plug in with a calming scent like lavender or eucalyptus. Make sure that anything that you normally keep out for convenience like your straightener or toothbrush is put away. It might seem silly but visually it's more relaxing to have a cleared off counter.
20 Try something new
Whether it's a new wine, a new cocktail, a new meal or a new activity, just try something new while you're taking your vacation. A fresh experience is a great way to really feel like you're on vacation. I like to try something new every day on my staycations, but keep them simple. It might be trying out a new bike path one day and trying a new exotic fruit the next, but these small little experiences make the day feel out of the usual for you and will make sure that you're not going to fall into the usual home routine.
19 Be a tourist in your own home
Check out any tourist websites or Facebook pages that your city has and pick something fun and touristy to do in your own home. Maybe that something fun and touristy is visiting a museum or an art gallery. Or maybe your town has festivals or fun events happening that you would normally not participate in. Here is the thing though: if you decide that you don't even want to leave your house, that's totally okay too. Because being holed up in a hotel room while you're traveling is a waste of money, but doing that at home is the beauty of the staycation.
18 Turn off the notifications
If you have your work email on your phone, turn off all notifications for it. If you have slack or some kind of messaging app on your phone where you can get notifications that will cause any kind of stress or work for you, silence them. Uninstall them for the week. Do whatever you need to do to make sure that you're not accidentally getting sucked into things that are not totally and completely about your vacation. Work can wait. It will still be there when you get back and you can deal with it then.
17 Take photos and videos
Just because you're not going overseas, that does not mean that you can't still chronicle your vacation. Take a picture of your 10 am lazy morning coffee and pastry and the book that you're reading in the sunshine on your balcony. Take a picture of your feet in the hammock before you take your afternoon snooze in the backyard. Take pictures, not just for social media, but for yourself so that you can look back on this vacation like you would any other and re-live the relaxation and enjoyment.
16 Grocery shop for fun and not for efficiency
When I'm normally grocery shopping I think of getting the most amount of food for the cheapest price. I scrimp. I look at what meat is on sale and think about how many different meals I can make with it and load up on it. Some weeks we're eating chicken every night. It might be different each night, but it's still chicken each night. When on a staycation I take my time in the grocery store and shop for fun. I pick indulgent ingredients and pick foods that I normally wouldn't dream of putting in the cart.
15 Don't skimp on the snacks
I love crunchy jalapeno Cheetos. They are my weakness. I could eat a whole bag in one sitting, which is why I never buy them. Ever. And then when the staycation rolls around, I buy two bags. Because staycations are meant to be fun and to break the rules. Get the snacks that you normally don't because you try to be somewhat healthy. Get the snacks that you absolutely love and make you happy and keep them in the house during your staycation.
14 Pick a place to eat out
I love having something to look forward to. Once the staycation starts, I plan a meal somewhere awesome. Whether it's a favorite restaurant, a classy restaurant, or a new restaurant, I pick something for closer to the end of the staycation. That way, I can look forward to it all week and enjoy the build-up of excitement for it. Make sure when you go to really enjoy the whole experience. Take your time. Don't rush it.
13 Get a fancy pool without the fancy price
Look into local hotels. A lot of hotels will offer day-passes to their pool facilities, which means that you can spend a day feeling like you're on a resort without ever needing to pack your bags. Look online and see what the hotel offers as the best deal. Some hotels will have an indoor and outdoor pool as well as a hot tub. You can get your day pass, bring a good book and go for a dip, maybe stop by the hotel restaurant for lunch, and go back to continuing your relaxing day of swimming, reading, and just chilling out.
12 Do something in a nearby town or city
You'll have no need to pack or worry about travel plans, but driving the short distance to head to a nearby town or city and doing something you would normally do in your own town is a great way to shake things up and see new sights. Go to a movie there. Or go to the park. Grab an ice cream and stroll through downtown. Grab some lunch or dinner. See a movie. Anything that you could easily just do in your own town, you can do in another.
11 Check Groupon
Groupon is a great way to score fun activities for highly discounted prices. There is almost always a spa service of some kind that is discounted for a great price so you can book yourself a nice facial or a manicure or pedicure close by. You might even be able to score a massage. There is nothing like getting pampered in a spa to truly be relaxed on your vacation. Spas always have the most serene and rejuvenating atmospheres and are a great addition to any staycation.
10 Camp in your backyard
I love camping. I love being outside into the wee hours of the night, listening to crickets and breathing in the summer nights and then crawling into a tent and climbing onto an air mattress in a sleeping bag and then falling asleep. If you have a fire pit in your backyard then toast marshmallows and make some delicious s'mores. When we were growing up we used to camp outside at my grandparent's house just for fun when my grandparents were away and we were house sitting.
9 Go to a matinee
I absolutely love movies in the afternoon. They're usually cheaper than evening movies. They're less crowded. And you still have the rest of your day to do fun things when you're done the movie. Enjoy the fact that you're not bound to the usual 9-5 while you're on your vacation and head to an early movie at the theater. Grab some popcorn and candy and all of the delicious goodness that comes with seeing a movie in the theater.
8 Look through your spam emails
Okay, this sounds crazy because we all love to ignore spam emails, but when it's time for your staycation, look through them because you never know if there is a great deal buried in there for you that will be perfect for your vacation. Maybe you'll find great deals at one of your favorite stores where you can spend a day shopping, trying things on, and just generally enjoying your day.
7 Visit local beaches
No vacation is complete without a day of digging your feet into the sand. Looking out into the blue waters and feeling the wind on your face and breathing in the summer air are all quintessential parts of a summer holiday. But the thing is that you don't need to travel far to find a beach and if you go during the week in the daytime, it won't be as busy as a weekend. Hit up a local beach, bring a good book and a Frisbee and spend the day in the sun so that when you go back to work your co-workers can be jealous of your tan.
6 Check apps for cheap hotels
There are apps like Hotel Tonight that let you find hotels nearby that are highly discounted due to the last minute style booking. You can spend a night in a hotel in your city so that the only packing you have to worry about is an overnight bag, and if you forget anything you can always drive home. You'll still get to feel the fun and relaxation of staying at a hotel but without having to go anywhere for that feeling.
5 Let people know you're on vacation
The last thing that you want while you're on vacation is for people to "pop by" or for your neighbor to catch you on your way in to start talking about how your raspberry bush is encroaching on his side of the fence. Let people know that you're going on vacation, but that you're staying home and then let them know when you'll be available again. It's a nice and polite way of telling them to leave you your space.
4 Re-create memories
Do you have any wonderful memories from past vacations? Maybe there was a particular bottle of wine that you had during a sunset in Europe. Maybe there was a song that you danced to on a cruise. Try to re-create small details from your past vacations as a memento from them and to re-ignite that spark and magical feeling as you re-live those moments. You can reminisce, and laugh, while in the comfort of sweatpants.
3 Create your own at-home spa
You don't have to spend big bucks to get the relaxation and rejuvenation that spas give you in the comfort of your own home. Find a really great recipe for a face mask. Get some bath salts or a bath bomb or some bubbles. Light some candles. Put some essential oils in your bath. Put cucumber and lemon in your water. Make sure that you wear fluffy robes and comfy slippers. Put on soothing music and have candles everywhere to be your only lighting. You'll slip off into dream world so quickly that night.
2 Create a blanket fort
Re-create the fun and wonder of childhood in your own living room. Drag your mattress (or one from the guestroom if yours is a king) to the living room and push it up against the couch. Use pillows and blankets and anything that you can think of and let your imaginations create a wonderful fort for you to read in, or watch TV. Bring snacks and fall asleep in your fort for the night.
1 Do a backyard movie night
With white bed sheets, a projector, and speakers, you can make your own backyard movie theater. Make a really cozy spot with lots of pillows and blankets. Make sure to get all of the best snacks and maybe even a bottle of wine and watch movies into the wee hours of the night in this wonderful experience that you wouldn't be able to have if you didn't decide to have your vacation right in your own home.