The Art of the Staycation

Whether it’s a week at the beach every summer or a cross country road trip, vacations are a favorite pastime among most Americans.  However, when money is tight or time is limited, a staycation could be just the ticket.

Defined as “a vacation spent in one’s home and involving day trips to local attractions”, staycations are rising in popularity not only in America but also abroad.  One of the biggest benefits is the cost – hotel and travel fees are the biggest costs of a traditional vacation.  Staying at your own home reduces both monetary output as well as travel stress, leaving you in a better place to enjoy your staycation.

Jayme Zippel, an Atlanta resident, takes staycations annually.

“I do this every year for my birthday so I can be stress-free and just enjoy the me time,” she explained.  Normally, she uses her time off to complete on-going projects around her house; this year she completely redecorated her office.

Others use the staycation option for special occasions.  Ricki Sullivan treated her fiancé to a birthday staycation earlier this year.  Both Atlanta residents, they spent their days at the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium, both world-renown spots that they either hadn’t ever seen or hadn’t visited in many years. 

“It was fun getting to hear the history of this local landmark that we’d never stopped to consider,” she said, referring to the World of Coca-Cola.  “We take it for granted, I think, because it’s in our backyard.” 

Some take Staycations strictly because of money.  Mikie and Lisa Dunston, of Birmingham, changed their beach plans and decided to stay home for the week instead.

“The cost of travel and hotel expenses would have eaten into the days we had.  Instead it was more convenient for us to stay home and go out to the movies and go to some restaurants locally that we haven’t been to in a little bit,” Mikie said.  They ended up using the hotel money to fund some local adventures and saved on the gas expense, as well.

Options are vast, depending on the city, but there are certain ways to make a staycation unforgettable.

Forget Your Daily Routine

While you’ll be home, this is not a normal day off.  Treat yourself!  Stay up late and watch a movie, sleep in, enjoy coffee and the paper in bed.  Your staycation is your vacation, and the first step is turning off your alarm.

Don’t Check Your Email

You may be sleeping in your own bed every night, but you are still on vacation.  Step away from your work email and cell phone and live in the moment.  Your job will be there when you get back, and the memories you’ll be making with your spouse or your family will be everlasting.

Eat Out

While making your meals at home saves money, this is vacation!  Make reservations at a new restaurant with the great reviews, or go exploring and try one of those hole-in-the-wall spots that might not be much to look at but serves delicious cuisine.  If you’re dead-set on cooking at home, do something new!  Try a new recipe or explore one of the many meal subscription boxes on the market.

Mix Up Activities

Whether you want to spend all day out and about or stay close to home, mix up your activities!  Go out for brunch, stay in for dinner.  Go to an amusement park, but also make time for that DIY project you’ve been meaning to do.  Go for a hike and then head to the spa.  There are no rules for a staycation, so live it up!

Do Something Different

Tired of traditional activities and itching to try something new?  A staycation is the perfect time for new adventures.  Schedule a helicopter tour around your city.  Go skydiving.  Go swimming with wildlife at your local aquarium, or take a drive to the mountains or beach and camp.  A staycation is the perfect time to make some waves and be daring.

Be a Tourist!

One of the best parts of a staycation is the opportunity to explore your city better.  Take a walking tour of downtown.  Visit an amusement park or water park.  Eat at a restaurant that is quintessentially your city.  Explore the historic landmarks or a local museum.  See a play or a concert at some local venues.  Attend a street festival.  With a little planning, you could end your staycation knowing your city like the back of your hand.

It’s easy to get caught in a rut – it happens to everyone.  A staycation can help pull oneself out of that funk and revive you.

“There’s SO MUCH and it’s financially friendly,” Sullivan explained.  “Especially if you check out what sort of free passes are available through local libraries.  Being a local doesn’t mean we have to ignore the unique and thriving culture [your city] has to offer.”

With a little planning, a staycation is an excellent alternative to the traditional vacation and will provide you with unique memories for years to come.