Whether you live in a big city or a small town, it’s easy to overlook the environments we frequent everyday. Days become monotonous and the routines that we struggle to maintain feel more and more like rigid schedules. Whenever I come back from a week or two of vacation, I joke that I need a vacation from my vacation. Sure, travel is great to break up the day-to-day norm, but it can also leave you feeling exhausted. If you’re looking to explore the unknown, disconnect and reset, look no further than where you are in this moment. Here’s how you can prepare for the best staycation ever.
Put away the tech. I realize this is a toughie but that’s why it’s listed first and foremost. Try to plan as much as you can before your staycation begins. Have alternatives on hand, whether it be a craft project, a book, a puzzle or your sudoku book. If you can, turn on an out-of-office message in your email client as you would if you were traveling. If this isn’t possible, set aside a short period of time each day to reply to any urgent emails. When that period has passed, put your phone, tablet or other device out of sight.
Spend a night or two of your staycation in a local hotel or bed and breakfast with all the fixings. Ask the front desk what activities they’d recommend to a visitor. Whether you’re with the kids, a partner or going solo, indulge in room service, bring a swimsuit for the pool and sleep in. If you prefer the comfort of your own bed, treat yourself to fresh sheets and towels at the beginning of your time off.
Use a portable alarm and don’t waste the morning. When you travel, there’s usually pressure to schedule as much as possible and you have that alarm clock or wakeup call scheduled in advance. The excitement of the day’s activities gets you (and the whole family) up and out at a reasonable hour. Without the added enthusiasm of a new environment or the threat of a hefty price tag, it’s tempting to lie around and get a slow start. Allow yourself one day to move slowly but then rise and shine for the rest of your time off. Don’t hit snooze and don’t go the digital route or be tempted to use your phone alarm. Chances are you don’t usually take a stroll on a weekday at 6am. Plan a walk or bikeride around the neighborhood and see your town or city the early morning hours.
Shop and complete chores in advance. Fill your fridge before your staycation begins. If you have to run to your grocery store in the middle of your precious time off, the magic will be ruined. If you can, even precook some items so you spend a minimum time cooking. The same rules apply to household items like toilet paper and paper towels. No room for buying paper products during your staycation. Make sure you buy plenty of snacks to have on hand for your time out and about exploring your neighborhood. Dried fruit and nuts pack a punch of protein for the whole family. If you find yourself having to shop during your staycation, try a new local greenmarket.
Have fresh flowers around. I know this seems like a little thing but treat yourself to a bit of luxury at home. Flowers go a long way and feel celebratory.
Wine and Dine
Eat out. When you’re on vacation, food is costly. Meals often happen on the go. Since you won’t be eating out for every meal, indulge in a couple of meals. Find a fancy restaurant you’ve never been to or one that’s special occasion only. Dress for a night on the town. Book a car to take you to and from dinner so you can enjoy a glass or two of wine.
Yes, I know You’re not going anywhere so why pack clothing? I say pack in the sense that it’s helpful to choose your wardrobe in advance. Limit your options and dress as if you were on vacation. A staycation is not an excuse to wear pajamas every day.
Buy disposable cameras before the first day of your staycation and make a checklist of items. This is a great exercise whether you’re staycationing alone or with the whole family. Go on a thrifting treasure hunt to fulfill the list. You haven’t explored your neighborhood until you’ve experienced the local and surrounding thrift and consignment shops. Buy a small souvenir of some sort to commemorate your staycation. Have each person interpret the checklist as he or she sees fit throughout your staycation. When the film is developed, create a photo album from your “trip.”
So, let’s review. Things to have on hand for the perfect staycation:
• Books (The real deal. No Kindles or eReaders posing internet temptations).
• Creative project materials or board games
• Fresh linens
• Reservation to a splurge hotel adventure
• An analog alarm clock
• Groceries and household items
• Snacks/Adventure fuel
• Fresh flowers or some sort of aesthetic indulgent purchase
• An assortment of dressy and practical clothes for evenings out and exploring
• A researched list and printed map of local thrift stores
• Disposable cameras
Have any additions? Add them to the comments below!