This last week, I was on a staycation. If you don’t know what a staycation is, it is a vacation where you stay at home. Staycations have become more popular lately as the economy has tightened everyone’s’ wallets.
With less money to go on cruises, road trips, flights to exotic locations, and extravagant theme park packages, staycations just seem like the natural choice. However, staycations pose an interesting problem: how do you relax?
My staycation was not relaxing at all, and I wanted to share some tips that I’ve come up with in retrospect to help you plan for your future staycations. To be honest, I will probably reference this list in the future as well.
- Avoid HolidaysI picked one of the most busy and hectic times of the year to take a staycation. I know it should have seemed obvious, but hindsight is always 20/20. Driving is always crazy, stores are always busy, people are always stressed, and there is always people needing to do something.This obviously isn’t a bad thing, but it isn’t exactly conducive to relaxation either. When major Holidays are coming up, avoid taking a staycation. Even after the holiday passes, give it a few days so the sales can dwindle down as well.
- Shop AheadGet any predictable shopping out of the way. Stock your house with groceries, and purchase any of the items that you think you’ll want while on vacation. Unless you find shopping relaxing, there’s no good reason to have to do it on vacation. Do your shopping during your ordinary stressful days, and enjoy the time off on staycation.
- Plan Your MealsThis goes along with the shopping above, but know which meals you’re going to eat. This will minimize your time standing in the fridge, or pantry wondering what you’re going to eat. Additionally, this will prevent you from thinking “Hmmm, nothing looks good, I think I’ll go shopping, or maybe i should just eat out!”
- Get Bills Taken Care OfBills are one of those everyday stressors that you shouldn’t have to worry about. Get all of your bills out of the way so you don’t spend your time wondering if something is past due, or if a bill is coming up. They don’t take a lot of time to do, and they can easily be done during an ordinary week.
- Do Your Chores EarlyDon’t wait until your vacation to vacuum the house, do the dishes, mop the floors, cut the grass, and wash the clothes. Do all of these things the week before so you can relax on your staycation. Letting these jobs pile up will only guarantee one thing about your staycation: it won’t be one. Do what you must to cram all of these chores in early, so you can rest easily knowing that everything is done – for now.
- Avoid Spending MoneyThe reason you’re taking a staycation is to save money (most likely). It is very easy to spend the same amount of money eating out and shopping as you would had you just gone on a cruise or road trip. Avoid spending unnecessarily and allow yourself to experience and enjoy the reward of a staycation.
- Take Care of Doctors VisitsDoctor’s visits and dental visits should all be done outside of your staycation. Not only is it something that we honestly don’t enjoy doing, but you may also have to deal with healing from any procedures that you undergo. And, God forbid, you got bad news, you probably would not want to take a staycation with that on your mind.
- Do Things DifferentlyHow can you feel like you’re on vacation if you don’t do anything differently from your ordinary day? Go to a park, watch a sunset, go for a swim, ride your bike, or go on a walk. Don’t sit at home, stay inside, watch TV, and type on your computer. Chances are that you do those things all the time. You’ll never feel like you had a relaxing vacation if you do those things.
- Relax On PurposeI know this sounds silly, but you really need to try to relax. Turn off your television, go to your back patio, sit in a chair, and take in the clean air, and the views. Sleep in, or take a nap if possible. Go to a location that you find relaxing (beaches and parks do it for me) and just sit and listen.Doing nothing is one of the hardest things you’ll have to do. It is wired in us to always be doing things, so standing still goes against our instincts. Get a hammock and relax in it all day, and see how different that is from sitting on a couch watching TV.
While I didn’t have to contend with all these difficulties, the ones I did contend with certainly helped me to think of this list. What about you, have you taken a staycation before? If so, what lessons did you learn? Was it relaxing or hectic? Did it turn out the way you had planned? What tips do you have for someone planning a staycation?