Taking a break from your normal life to travel somewhere new can be super exciting, but there are some challenges to going far away. Maybe you’re afraid of flying, so going somewhere really far for just a few days is not an option, and let’s be honest: we don’t all have an extra few thousand dollars to go explore Europe every year.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, though! The “staycation” is a great compromise. A staycation is a trip away from home, but still in your city or one that’s nearby. By staycationing, you still get a change of scenery and an opportunity to relax without having to deal with excessive travel time or breaking the bank.
Here are 15 great tips for your next staycation.
1. Make a staycation budget.
Figuring out how much money you actually have for your staycation should always be the first step. Once you have a budget, you can look into ideas that are genuinely plausible and get excited about them!
2. Pick a theme for added fun.
Establishing a “theme” or at least a general “vibe” for your trip can make it even more enjoyable. Is this a wilderness weekend? A beach retreat? A three-day, self-organized food tour? The possibilities are endless.
3. There are less-expensive alternatives to hotels.
First of all, hotels don’t have to be wildly expensive. Many places actually have discounts for locals–just do your research and you’ll probably find a place within your budget.
However, a hotel isn’t your only option if you want to get away for a couple of days. Airbnb can be less expensive. Camping is another way to reduce costs. Here’s a third idea: if you’ve got a friend in a nearby city going on a trip, you can offer to house-sit for free. That way, their place is being looked after and you don’t have to worry about paying for a place to stay. It’s a win-win for both parties.
4. Take off time in the middle of the week if possible.
Traveling in the middle of the week has two distinct advantages if you’re looking to unwind on your staycation: 1) It can be less expensive and 2) Since most people are at work, restaurants and attractions will be less crowded.
5. Plan your activities to get excited.
Do your research! Plan a couple of things out in advance. If you want to see a show or attend a sporting event, don’t wait until the last minute to get tickets–buy them ASAP. That way there will definitely be space for you and you have a concrete activity to look forward to.
6. But don’t plan every second.
Build in a few hours each day to unwind or just wander around the place you are visiting. You might discover something cool that you hadn’t learned about in advance… Or you might get to catch up on your favorite show. Either option sounds great, to be honest.
7. Decide whether to go with a group or take time to yourself.
Both options have their benefits. It’s just a matter of personal preference. Bringing some friends along can help cut down on costs, can make planning more fun, and can lead to some really fun times. If you feel like you would be more relaxed on your own, though, it’s fine to vacation solo and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
8. Count down to your staycation.
This will heighten the excitement and keep the staycation on your radar so that you can make sure you’re all packed in advance.
9. Make a staycation playlist.
if you are taking a car or a train to your destination, you may want to listen to some music. Make a playlist of your favorite songs to get pumped for your time off!
10. Disconnect from work.
Treat this like a legitimate vacation. You owe it to yourself to take a break from work. Tell people you’ll be away–you don’t need to specify exactly how far–and make it known to the office that you will not be available for the duration of your trip. Resist that urge to check your email. Your colleagues will survive without you, I promise.
11. Take a break from social media.
Better yet, disconnect from social media altogether. No online stalking frenemies to compare their vacations against yours, no people blowing up your phone. Just relaxation!
12. Try at least one thing that is completely new to you.
This can be as crazy as skydiving or as lowkey as trying a new food. Go to a museum or a restaurant you’ve never been to before. It’ll bring something fresh and exciting to your staycation.
13. Don’t be ashamed to act like a tourist!
Who cares if you’ve been to your staycation destination 80 times already? It doesn’t matter what people think. If you live in New York and want to go to the Empire State Building, just do it! Take all of the pictures you want. Live your best life.
14. Purchase a small souvenir.
Get a sweatshirt, a shot glass, or something that the locals are selling so that you have a keepsake from your trip.
15. Make a photo album when you get home.
If you had a great time, keep the memories alive by making a photo book. You can look back on your staycation fondly and if you ever decide to go to that place again, you’ll have a record of where you went so that you can revisit your favorite attractions.