When you scroll through social media during the summer or the holidays, you’ll probably see pictures of your friends or extended family enjoying a vacation.
Whether they're lounging on the beach at an all-inclusive resort, kissing in front of the Eiffel Tower, or smiling while wearing their mouse ears at Disney, your mind shifts into vacation mode.
Then you start thinking about your next adventure.
But you have a reality check when you start searching for airline tickets, hotels, and rental cars. And then take a peek at your budget and bank account balance.
You know a trip like that's not in your budget; even though you work hard every day and want to do something fun and spend quality time with loved ones.
It’s time to skip stressful and costly travel plans and create a fantastic staycation instead!
A staycation is not a lame excuse for real travel.
Staycations help you save time and money. You'll minimize travel expenses, including airline tickets, rental cars, accommodations, and eating out.
But there are many more benefits to a staycation than just saving money.
There’s More to It Than Money
You or someone else you know may return from a trip, saying, “I need a vacation from my vacation!”
Travel can be a ton of fun, but it can also be stressful and exhausting, depending on the vacation destination and activities you choose.
That’s not including the stress that comes when you get your next credit card bill…
Rather than knocking the idea of a staycation, let’s look at how it might be just as good (if not better) than traditional vacations you’ve taken in the past.
Seven Benefits of a Staycation
1. You’ll be starting your vacation right away.
At the end of a long work week, you won’t have to rush to pack your bags, head to the airport to catch a late-night flight, or start the long drive to get to your travel destination.
Instead, you can unwind and come home from work and relax.
You can order take-out and enjoy some family time in your living room, watch your favorite show or make it a movie night, play some board games, or start that book you’ve been waiting to read.
2. Staycations may give you extra time.
Do you always wish your vacation could be just a few days longer?
When you aren’t spending a day or more with air travel or driving at each end of your vacation, it’s like receiving a few bonus days off!
No wasted time sitting in the airport or standing at the rental car desk.
No worrying about checking out of your rental property or hotel and sitting around all day waiting for a flight to come home.
Bonus – You won’t have to worry about the jet lag you might struggle with when flying across time zones on vacation.
3. Staycations are much easier to plan.
You may do some research for your staycation. But you won’t spend hours on the computer obsessively searching for the best deals (and worrying you’ve missed them.)
They’ll be no late nights doing laundry, so you have clean clothes for the week ahead either.
You also don’t have to remember to stop the mail, fill your prescriptions ahead of time, pack your hiking boots, or reschedule appointments you might have made during your vacation week.
You buyback hours of time before you even start your vacation!
4. No worrying about the weather
Weather can turn your dream vacation into a nightmare.
With a staycation, you won’t have canceled flights. Or spend days amusing the kids in the hotel room when all you packed was sunscreen and sand toys for the beach.
Instead, you can create a list of things you can do near home for different kinds of weather.
Picnics at the lake or local park, catching an afternoon movie, knocking down pins at the bowling alley, visiting local attractions, or going on a wine tour can all be scheduled around forecasted temperatures and precipitation.
5. Staycations support local and regional businesses.
It's okay to spend money in big tourist areas. But domestic tourism and fun day trips around your local area provide an excellent opportunity to help your local economy.
Getting out and picking strawberries at a local farm, stopping in the new cafe recently opened, or spending a day at a local children’s museum are great ways to invest in your local community, and have a great time with your family.
6. Won’t have to make pet care decisions.
This can save you plenty of money and it won’t create more stress for your favorite furry friend (or you!)
Worrying about someone coming into your home to care for your pet or finding a safe and trusted kennel isn’t a problem if your week off includes local adventures and more time in your own living room.
Your pet will love the time you spend at home as well. Less travel stress for the whole family!
7. Starting your week back to work rested and refreshed will be priceless.
If you’re planning a staycation, consider keeping your last day off as a day to take care of yourself and recharge.
Sleep in, get some fresh air, and try a few strategies from this list to prepare for the upcoming week.
Many people try to use every minute of their vacations. Then they come back to work exhausted, creating even more stress.
Consider a Staycation for Your Next Week Off
If you’re in debt, there are still ways you can work to create a plan for taking real vacations. Creating a great staycation is one option to consider.
During your staycation you can:
- Schedule some board game, card playing, or movie nights
- Throw a dance party
- Visit your local library and local community center
- Explore the historic districts of local towns
- Have a picnic at a nearby park
- Create a spa day and or attend a yoga retreat in your living room with YouTube videos
- Explore a local hiking trail or adventure to a national park
- Create a treasure hunting game for the kids or try out geocaching
- Plan an adventurous date night or recreate a memorable one
- Take turns providing room service to other family members
- Take a road trip to an amusement park
- Attend a local festival or visit one within day-trip distance
- Make a camping trip to your backyard, build a fire pit, make S'mores, and tell ghost stories. No backyard? Throw sleeping bags on the living room floor, play a campfire scene on the computer, make some snacks, and exchange spooky stories.
- Have the whole family pitch in on creating a special meal
- If your budget allows, spend one night at a local hotel or at an Airbnb in a nearby town you've wanted to explore
There are numerous staycation activities the whole family can enjoy – social distancing and all.
But don't worry about scheduling out the whole week!
Remember to spend some chill time too – catching up on a television show, reading books, and good old fashioned rest.
You can also make space to do the lists of projects you've been sitting on and visit local restaurants and places you often move down your list of priorities.
You might realize you're just as happy and more relaxed on your next vacation by choosing a staycation destination right in your home town. And you'll get to check those things off your priority list!
A successful staycation doesn't have to cost a lot (if anything) but it can be an excellent way to spend your vacation days.
Vicki and Amy are authors of Estate Planning 101 – a Crash Course in Planning for the Unexpected -coming soon from Adams Media.
Updated Sept. 2020