This week is my first ever staycation. It’s been a pretty long stretch since my husband and I have had more than a 3-day weekend, and we know we both need a full week off. On the other hand, we already have plans to actually go away somewhere in the fall and don’t have the budget to plan two large vacations. So we’ve decided to try a vacation-from-home.
The only problem is I work out of our house, so I know staying at home will tempt me to work… or at the very least clean, or tackle some sort of home-improvement project! Similarly my husband and I don’t want this time off to just feel like a week of weekends where we are hanging around the house. So how can we make our staycation feel relaxing, refreshing and all the things we love about going away, all while staying close to home and being a little more budget friendly?
Choosing to be intentional about our home-vacation is especially important this time around since we’re not completely leaving our space. So we decided to come up with a list of a dozen tips to help us make the most of our time and money while vacationing from home.
Choose a vacation mindset - Firstly we decided we had to go into this week with the mindset that this is fully a vacation. We might not be flying somewhere exotic, but we still sorely needthis week of downtime and have to treat it as if we are someplace new and different, even if it is still our little townhouse. We asked ourselves what we love about our vacations, and it helped us identify patterns to mimic so we can create the same type of experience from home.
Give yourself a budget - Even though we aren’t going away for the week, we still want to have spending money to do special things, so we’ve allotted ourselves a budget—similarly to how we will when we actually go away. This way we won’t feel guilty about a day trip or an evening out.
Break the routine - Vacations are all about breaking routines. Sleep in. Stay up late. Don’t make the bed. Nap whenever you want to. Eat meals at irregular times. We’re trying not to plan a lot (this is a really tough one for me!), choosing instead to go with the flow and do whatever catches our fancy.
Be spontaneous - Being unscheduled is a challenge for me, but really is so important on a vacation. Though my husband and I have a rough idea of what we want to do on some of our days, we are most looking forward to just being together and asking each other: what should we do today? Embracing a leisurely pace is high on our list of priorities so we want to plan less instead of stuffing our days full of activities.
Escape your space - We definitely don’t want to spend all our time hanging out around the house (torture), so we are breaking out our list of places to adventure locally and hoping to explore the area, just as we would if we were away. I can’t wait to see what we discover!
Turn off the TV and read - When we are at our house relaxing this week, we’ve decided to keep the TV (and video games) off! One of the ways we love to relax while on vacation is by reading (a lot) and we stock up on books beforehand. We’re making sure this staycation is no different, creating space outside the house to curl up with a book and lose ourselves in the stories.
No chores allowed - If it feels like a chore, we're not doing it. We are completely avoiding cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, grocery shopping (shopping of any kind, really!), or any other “normal” responsibilities like setting up doctor’s appointments or filling out financial paperwork. Ew… We’ve planned to either do this stuff ahead of time, or are making it wait till our staycation is over.
Hide work reminders - This tip is a big one for me since I work from home and am self-employed. I’ve made it a point to clean up ALL my embroidery supplies, note pads, paint and other work related items and hide them away where I can’t see them. The goal is not to have any reminders of the work that I will be returning to in a week!
Minimize email and phone use - Just as we would on any vacation, work email accounts have away messages scheduled and emails are going unchecked. Social media will be minimized (so hard!) and in general we want to spend more time engaged with each other and whatever activity we are doing instead of engaging with our phones.
Eat out at least once a day - I love to cook and do so just about every day, but when we go away on vacation, one of the treats I look forward to is eating out at least once a day. I definitely wanted a break from cooking over our staycation too so this is where we are splurging the most! ;) For the meals we are eating at home, we are keeping them really simple, either eating something quick, like yogurt or fruit, or enjoying leftovers from the previous week.
Treat yourself - What’s a vacation without a little indulging? A staycation should be the same way. Eat ice cream for lunch. Finish a whole bottle of wine with dinner. Go to that really nice place for a special date. Get a massage! It doesn’t have to be extravagant every day, but we are definitely treating ourselves a couple of times this week.
Do everything slowly - Vacations aren’t a time to be productive, or efficient. They’re a time for making memories and savoring moments. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this so I don’t rush through my days… Put your fork down between bites and enjoy the conversation. Walk slowly and take pictures. Forget about the time. Hold hands and watch the sunset. I can't wait!
Question: What’s a tip you would add to help yourself enjoy a staycation?