A staycation is exactly what it sounds like; a vacation where you stay at or around your home. Many people choose to stay overnight in their own homes during a staycation. Others specifically stay overnight at a hotel to get away from home, but still, stay within close driving distance. In the US, the staycation came about between 2007 and 2010, when the economy took a significant downturn and many people were spending less money.

Why Staycation?

  1. Save Money – A staycation can save family hundreds of dollars. For the most part, travel is minimal, so expenses such as gas for the car, or airplane tickets, are mostly non-existent.
  1. Bring Revenue to the Local Economy – Local shops, restaurants, and hotels reap the benefits of their citizens visiting them rather than traveling out of town.
  1. No Need to Take Time off from Work – A staycation can often be done over a weekend, as travel is minimal. Many parents can affordably go away on Saturday and Sunday with only the expense of a hotel room and babysitter.
  1. Easier to Plan – Since most people know the area in which they live, planning a staycation can be a great deal less stressful and take a lot less time than a vacation that is far away. Which hotels are clean and safe, which restaurants are reasonably priced, and so forth, are either already known or easily researched when you live in the area you are staycationing in.
  1. More Time to Actually Relax – Many vacations require a great deal of traveling, whether it be by car or plane. During a staycation, that time is basically cut down to zero, leaving people more time to actually relax during their time off.

In addition to saving money and reducing planning stress, staycations are a great way to unwind. If planned and done properly, a staycation can leave you feeling just as rejuvenated and refreshed as a normal vacation.

How To Staycation – Get the most out of your vacation:

  1. Turn off your electronic devices. – Of course, most of us will need to check our phones periodically, as we would do on any vacation, but checking email, Facebook, and such should be kept to a minimum. Remember you are trying to unwind and not think about work and your daily life. A great way to do this is to spend some time disconnected from your everyday life.
  1. Pack light – Since many staycations are kept short, there is little need to pack too many things. It is often reported that people who have fewer possessions feel freer and less stressed, so try it while on your staycation. Only bring the necessities, and remember if you absolutely need something you forgot, you are still close to home!
  1. Plan, but don’t over-plan – Don’t overwhelm yourself with an itinerary. Choose a few local places to visit, or maybe even a spa day. But keep some time open to do what you feel in the moment. Whether that be taking a nap, or reading a book, time to just be can be extremely rewarding.

If you decide to stay at home or get a hotel during your staycation, there are many different options for what to do in your own town during the day.

Staycation Ideas:

  1. Go to a local festival or free concert. Many cities and towns have events going on every weekend, so check online for them. Often they are free and don’t require time constraints; you can stay for as long or as short a time as you like.
  1. Rent bikes and go for a ride. If you have a river, canal or beach near you, there are often places to rent bikes and tour the area (that is if you don’t already have your own). If you enjoy being active, this can be a great way to sightsee in your own town and burn some calories.
  1. Take a nap. With the stress of most people’s lives, naps are a rarity. If you like them take advantage and get one or two in while you can.
  1. Go to the drive-in theater. Maybe your town has a drive-in and you’ve never been. This can be the perfect time to try something new, and check out a good movie.
  1. Go shopping. This may seem like a funny idea, but if you are a parent and try to shop with kids, you know how hard it can be. Book a sitter and a hotel near a mall or local outlet and spend time specifically shopping. Maybe you need some new summer shorts or prefer to look for antiques. Whatever you choose to buy, taking a day or two just to shop can be relaxing in itself.
  1. Go to the beach or pool. In the summer this is a great way to relax, get some sun and even read. Many people live near the ocean or a lake where they can take advantage of the beach for free. If you don’t, try finding a local pool that you can visit. They are often low cost and you won’t have to travel far.
  1. Read a book. If you are an avid reader and find it hard to fit it in during the week, this is a good time to catch up. Bring something that has good reviews, maybe even two!
  1. Visit the local zoo. Especially for a family staycation, the zoo is a great place to spend an afternoon that is affordable, fun, and educational.
  1. Play sports. Go bowling, play tennis, or any other sport your family enjoys.
  1. Visit a museum or see a show. Depending on what your family likes and whether you have kids, try to pick something that everyone will enjoy.

Staycations are a great way to not only save money but also discover new places in your own town. Ask your friends for local recommendations and search the web. Many people are surprised by the hidden places right in their own hometowns.