As airfare rises and vacation days are cut, more and more travelers are opting for staycations. And since they don’t require traveling, staycations are great for the environment. By following our staycation tips, a vacation at home can be a relaxing, green, low-stress alternative when it’s impossible to get away.
In order to get the most out of your a staycation, it’s important to devote as much time to your itinerary as you would for any other vacation. Planning ahead is key. Here are five great staycation ideas to help you plan what to do on a staycation, no matter where you live.
1. Take advantage of off-season deals.
If you live near a popular tourist attraction, why not wait until the crowds leave and the prices drop? We’re lucky enough to live just up the road from one of the most celebrated Shakespearean festivals in the world. We subscribe to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival‘s email updates, which list discounted tickets in the pre- and post-season. It’s easy for us to make showtimes after most theater-goers are back to school or not yet on a holiday break.
2. Experience a holiday in your city or state.
We all know how great Christmas can be in New York City, or spring break in the Caribbean, but every region has seasonal events, festivals, and destinations. You probably already know what’s offered in your hometown, but have been too busy to enjoy it. One of our most memorable staycations was a holiday week in a rented cabin in the woods less than an hour from our home. We spent our days nearly snowed in, snowshoeing, sledding at a snow park we’d always passed by on the highway, and braving the roads for a meal at a local inn we’d always been curious to try. To find seasonal festivals and events in your hometown, try 49st, or look up local attractions on Judy’s Book.
3. Book a room.
It may feel silly to pay for a hotel room in your own city, but don’t worry: you’re still saving on airfare. I can’t relax unless I really feel as though I’ve gotten away (away from chores, house projects, responsibilities), and returning to my home every evening just won’t cut it. To truly wind down as a family, we pack our bags and stay in a local hotel or resort, even if it’s just for a few nights of our staycation. We all get away from the distractions of home, and we have a new hotel to recommend to out-of-town guests next time they ask. If you plan a staycation during the warm-weather months, opt to camp at a local state park to staycation on a budget.
4. Discover what your hometown does best.
Is your region known for organic farms or vineyards? Plan an agritourism vacation and stay at a local B&B to peruse the farmers’ markets or a regional wine trail. Maybe your city has acclaimed universities or museums: find out when their galleries offer local discounts or free days and plan your staycation around them. If you have theme parks or amusement areas, sample them when school’s back in session. Our area boasts whitewater rafting and fishing, yet we’d neglected to experience either the first few years we lived here. Start with your local visitor’s bureau or tourism department to find out what’s hot.
5. Use museum and play space memberships.
You might be a member of your local historical society, science museum, or children’s museum. If so, plan to visit those locations during your staycation (when you signed up, you thought you’d be there every weekend, right?). While you’re there, find out what additional benefits your membership offers. Our hands-on science museum membership grants us a guest pass to our local art gallery (which we’ve never used), and two tickets to our historical society’s living history day. We’ll plan our next staycation around these activities that can be hard to schedule during our “regular” life. If you’re not a member, your staycation would be a great time to sign up for benefits you can enjoy year-round.
Bonus Tip: Treat your staycation like any other vacation.
Clear your schedule, turn off your phone, place an “away from my desk” automated reply with your email provider: if you act as though you’re away, bosses and family will as well. Even if you spend all or part of your staycation overnighting at home, change things up: sleep in the living room slumber party style, and order in from take-out restaurants to avoid dish duty. Leave the laundry for when you “return,” and have a daily itinerary that gets everyone out of the house.
Have you taken a staycation? What kind of staycation ideas do you have? What tips can you share for what to do on a staycation?