Planning a Staycation That’s Actually Worth the Vacation Days
Sometimes, you just want to take a break from it all—without the schlep. Therein lies the beauty of staycations: you don’t have to shell out hundreds for flights, hotels, and all the other expenses that’ll accrue during a getaway.
But just because you’re not leaving town doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat your staycation like a special event. Now’s the chance to take those vacation days, disconnect your devices, and get a change of scenery. Whether you’ve got cash to splash or wanna keep things cheap and cheerful, we guarantee you’ve never experienced your hometown like this before.
ON A BUDGET
With a bit of imagination, staying around town can feel like a vacation. Try this: Arrange an apartment swap with a friend, or volunteer to house sit. See what life in a high rise is like. Stay near your favorite restaurants, bars, and shops. Or experience a whole new neighborhood. Looking at your city from a different angle can remind you what you loved about it in the first place.
Who needs a photo booth? Fire up your 5-year-old fort-making skills and start snapping.
Staycations are all about the picnics—and we’ve got some advice on how to nail yours. Hit up your city’s markets and food trucks and scoop up some affordable street food. Alternatively, embark on that culinary project you’ve been meaning to find the time for. Who wants soup dumplings?
Take the time to reconnect with a landscape that’s close to home.
This is the perfect time to explore your city like a tourist. Hit up those landmarks that you still somehow haven’t visited. Bring along a camera and test your urban photography skills. Let a guide book point you towards exciting neighborhoods and relaxing parks and gardens. Throw in a ride courtesy of your local bike-share and there’s no limit to your explorations.
Forget sightseeing. See your city from a new perspective instead.
More affordable and characterful than many hotels, it’s Airbnb to the rescue for staycationers after moderate price tags. Here are some awesome rentals to get your imagination fired up.
You can also plan on downsizing for your next vacay. In a tiny house, that is. Cozy, beautifully designed, and absent of clutter, these mini-abodes were made for weekend breaks. Book one on the outskirts of town for a bit of peace and quiet.
Go big, or even better, go small in a tiny house.
Just because you’re not traveling geographically doesn’t mean you can’t travel culinarily. Pick a cuisine you’ve never sampled and book a globetrotting night out. Turns out you don’t have to go to Portugal for killer bacalao, and laksa can be as zingily spicy here as it is in Malaysia.
Seek out some new cuisine and explore the world in your own neighborhood.
And while we’re at it, make this the staycation you push your adventurous side with new activities. Urban rock climbing? Laser tag? Live-band karaoke? Add adrenaline to the mix for a memorable adventure.
Challenge yourself to something new, like building your upper body strength (or if you already have that, showing it off).
You look like you could use a massage. Preferably at a luxurious spa retreat, with 500-thread-count sheets, nearby nature walks, Jacuzzis, and a whole menu of other pampering treatments on tap. Otherwise, an extravagant evening in your city’s grandest hotel? Just because you’re not going out of town doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat yoself.
Set to splurge? Go all out at that spa your town is famous for.
Turns out you *don’t* need to wait for a birthday or anniversary to bring out the gastronomic big guns. Splurge-y staycations call for decadent meals, so consider this your cue to book that Michelin-starred or James Beard Award-winning spot you’ve been eyeing up. While you’re at it, go for the prix fixe and, for non-drivers, the wine pairing menu. It is vacation, after all.
For fancy dining, the more courses, the better.
Hey, budding culture vultures: Your vacation is when you should broaden those artsy horizons. If you’ve only been to the ballet to see The Nutcracker, can’t remember the last time you saw a play, and definitely have never been to the opera—well, why not now? Alternatively, try fighting tooth-and-nail for Hamilton tickets.
Even smaller cities have a local ballet or theater company. Public performances beat the pants off Netflix binges.