In a perfect world, every one of us can easily afford to jet off to a far-flung destination for a luxury vacation. But real life doesn’t quite work that way. If you’re looking to get away from the daily grind but your budget didn’t get the memo, there’s good news: You can enjoy a fabulous vacation from the comfort of your home! When done right, staycationing can be an outstanding way to refresh, relax and recharge. Here’s how to plan the perfect staycation without busting your budget.
Do a room refresh (or swap)
To achieve that “away from it all” vibe, turn your bedroom into a hotel room. Tidy up until there are no personal belongings out, use a fragrance diffuser or scented candle for a calm, pleasing aroma and leave some freshly laundered towels folded on the bed. Consider rearranging the furniture or investing in new pillows or a throw to give the room a new look. You can also add a tray with water bottles, coffee pods and your favorite one-portion snacks. If you’ll be staycationing with the entire family, take it up a level and assign a number for each “hotel room”, complete with placards for the door and card keys (old/unused membership cards) to make it all feel real.
Alternatively, swap rooms for the night. Spruce up your guest room and sleep there, or switch rooms with other family members, having them prepare for your stay by making their own pad look like a hotel room, while you do the same for yours.
DIY home spa
Ahhh! There’s nothing like a relaxing afternoon at the spa to bring your stress levels down and leave you feeling energized. Bring the spa to you with homemade face masks and scrubs, a steamy bubble bath, scented candles and calming music. You can find great ideas for homemade scrub mixes online, and you can pamper yourself with a DIY mani-pedi. You’ll feel refreshed and relaxed without spending a fortune.
Tour your own city
One of the great things about staycations is that they allow you to discover the hidden gems in your own area. Research local attractions, such as museums, parks, historical sites or hiking trails. Take advantage of discounts for residents or consider buying a city pass, if available, for reduced rates at multiple attractions.
Go to a matinee movie
Going to see a popular new movie is always a great idea for a fabulous family trip. Save on this outing by taking in a matinee. Skip the concession stands for even bigger savings.
Host a cooking competition
Enjoy a feast for the palate and a highly entertaining show at the same time by hosting a cooking competition at home. Buy an interesting or exotic mix of ingredients, choose your competitors and give them clear directions along with a timer. If you don’t have enough competent cooks at home, invite some friends over to join the fun. You’ll have your evening’s activity and your dinner taken care of in one go!
Take a digital detox
When you fly off on vacation, by default, you’re leaving the daily grind behind. It can be harder to disconnect when you aren’t going anywhere, but your staycation won’t be very refreshing if you’re constantly checking your emails and messages.
Take the same steps before this vacation as you would with any other: Finish up all outstanding projects at work so nothing is left hanging, set up an automatic email response until you’re back in the office and let your coworkers know you won’t be available for the next few days. Hide your laptop and challenge yourself to go without your phone for several hours of the day – or more! If you use your phone as a camera and you’d like to have it handy, you can turn on airplane mode so no one can reach you as you enjoy your staycation.
Camp out in your own backyard
If you have outdoor space, consider camping in your own backyard. Set up a tent, bring sleeping bags and enjoy the wonders of the outdoors without leaving home. Enjoy old-time camping fun, like roasting marshmallows, stargazing and trying to identify all the sounds of nature you can hear out in the backyard.
A staycation on a budget can still be relaxing, refreshing and fun! Use the tips outlined here to learn how to staycation for less.
Your Turn: Do you have a fabulous staycation hack? Tell us about it in the comments.