staycation-how-to-make-the-most-of-your-time-off

Will you spend your vacation at home this summer? Travel expenses can add up fast, so it’s no wonder that many people opt for staycations or short trips. But sticking close to home can have benefits that go well beyond saving money.

Down Time Without the Stress of Travel

While a far-off beach or theme park vacation is fun, the process of getting away can be stressful. Things like packing, finding a pet sitter and just getting from point A to point B (and back) may take up so much energy that you never really get to wind down.

That’s the beauty of a staycation. You can kick back, put the workday world on hold and just enjoy life for a little while. We’ve rounded up some ways to make it fun, relaxing and affordable.

Set the stage

Aside from saving money, a staycation brings the freedom to do whatever you want – whenever you want. Reducing your workload at home will give you even more freedom. In 25 Awesome Staycation Ideas, blogger Ruth Soukup recommends setting house rules that ban routine chores like cleaning and laundry during staycation time.

If the thought of a chore-free week sounds good, set the stage before your staycation starts. Get caught up on laundry, give your home a good cleaning and catch up on yard work. Recruit family members to help, so you don’t wake up exhausted on your first day.

If cooking feels like a chore to you, plan ahead to minimize it during your break. Make and freeze some easy meals ahead of time. Leave room in your budget for restaurant meals. Sprinkle in some of your favorite easy recipes and simple meals prepared outside on the grill.

Unplug and unwind

When’s the last time you truly unplugged from the outside world? Do you even remember a time when you didn’t feel obligated to answer a voicemail message, send a text or check email?

RealSimple.com suggests a “put the world on hold” approach to staycation, no matter what your other plans happen to be. Forward your calls to voicemail, put the phone down and give your thumbs a break – no texting! Let friends and family know you’ll be out of touch for a few days. If you’re worried about someone reaching you in case of emergency, make special arrangements or arrange a daily check-in call.

Social media, TV and video games can steal your time and keep you caught up in the frantic pace of the outside world. Consider taking a breather from screen time while you’re off. If you don’t want to swear off Facebook and your favorite shows entirely, try it for a day or just limit yourself to an hour per day. You may find that you’ve been missing out on activities that mean a lot more to you.

Take it outside

Enjoy the great outdoors close to home. Spend a day hiking or biking. Check local news sites for festivals in your area. Plan a “cool-off” day or two at a nearby pool or water park.

Just taking your planned activities outside to the yard, deck, or park can be a great way to spend some time. Find a shade tree to sit under, and open that book you’ve been meaning to read for ages. Have a picnic. Round up some cold drinks and enjoy them outside in the evening with friends and family.

Embrace Living in the Moment

One of the best parts about a staycation is finding out what life is like when you don’t have work (or some other activity) scheduled every minute. Embrace the freedom to do what you want, whenever you want. Stay home listening to music or go golfing. Visit a museum or brush up on your guitar skills. Take a nap or go to the movies. By the time you go back to work, you’ll be rested and ready to take on the world again.