The Art of Taking a Staycation

This is a guest post from My Life ROI. If you like this post, check out his website or subscribe to his feed. He writes a personal finance blog that focuses on what he calls “sensible” personal finance. Right now he is giving away a gift card to Global Giving, so go check his site out and try to snag it!

With Kyle going on vacation, I thought it would be a great idea to write a post about alternate vacation ideas. Flying is very expensive if you don’t research it thoroughly and hotels aren’t cheap, either.

So, have you thought about a “staycation?” Whether you dislike traveling or just can’t afford to take a trip, staycations can offer a very relaxing week!

Guidelines to Follow

Before reading on, I will give you some guidelines you must agree to abide by:

  • Do not think about “chores,” you wouldn’t have them on vacation so you don’t have them on staycation. Plan accordingly!
  • Would you spend 5 hours a day watching Opera, Dr. Phil, and Law and Order re-runs on vacation? My assumption is no, so don’t do it on staycation, either.
  • Unless you are the President of the United States or someone else important, do not log into your work email or turn your work phone on.
  • Building on the above… detach yourself from your blackberry and computer as much as possible. Put up an “out-of-office” and vacation voicemail.
  • Make any arrangements you need to for the week of your staycation OR the following week prior to your staycation week.

Sign here x________________________ Date _____________

6 Things To Do On Your Staycation

Alright, now that we have that taken care of, what are some things you can do on this staycation of yours? Every location is different and thus my suggestions may need to be adapted, but hopefully they will give you a good framework.

  1. Invite all of your friends over for a fancy dinner party. Either order really good food or, if you are up for the challenge, make a delicious homemade meal. Spend the day chopping up spices, tenderizing meat, listening to the radio, and having a few drinks. Get some nice bottles of wine for when the guests arrive. Play Pictionary, Scene It, Scrabble, Quizzo, or whatever game you all want to play as a group! This will provide a great time to catch up with friends that you were too busy to hang out with before.
  2. You saved a lot of money on airfare, hotels, theme parks, etc. Treat yourself to a day of relaxation. This isn’t something you do all of the time, so try not and think frugally and just let go. Go to a day spa with your hunny. Get whatever you want… massage, pedicure, etc.
  3. If you are like me, you probably know your city inside and out. You have lived there for years, right? Well, you may be surprised at how much you don’t know! Try and see your city as a tourist. You can do this by going on a bus tour, a tour of a museum, and miscellaneous other activities. If you already know all of that information, you can still walk around and find new shops and restaurants that have opened while you were sleeping. I have personally done this multiple times in Washington DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, and have learned quite a bit.
  4. Go to a local market. Whether it is a farmer’s market, organic market, flea market, or any other assortment of markets, you may find some cool stuff you didn’t know about. If your local grocery store has food that doesn’t quite interest you, perhaps you will find a new avenue to get good food. Or if you want to look for some oddball items, a flea market may be perfect for you. Markets become real busy over the weekends and during the summer, so try and find some! After all of the walking around you may be hungry, so grab some food at a nice local restaurant!
  5. My favorite activity when I visited England, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary… etc… was having a picnic in the park. I would go with friends, bring a blanket, take a good book, pack a Frisbee, and grab an assortment of different foods. Depending on your area, you might be able to bring some wine or beer, too. You can do this solo, with you and your significant other, or invite a lot of people and make a party out of it.
  6. On your last day before returning back to work, make it a little more casual. Do some cleanup work you have been meaning to do around the house, paint a room, redecorate your living room, or whatever you want to do.

Your Thoughts?

This may not sound as fun as going to the Caribbean, but it is a lot better than taking a week of vacation and then living life normally. I get sad when my co-workers tell me that they took a vacation but didn’t go anywhere. I ask what they did instead and they just lived their lives. Your vacation may not be a plane ride away but it should still be memorable.

If you do decide to go on a traditional vacation, make sure to decipher the vacation reviews to save money.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know if you have any other suggestions!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mrs. Micah May 11, 2009 at 10:44 am

We could have used a Staycation honeymoon, since we were first moving into our apartment/DC.

I like the idea of visiting markets–in DC we have a lot of smaller ethnic stores which are exciting when I make the time to go. And because I don’t like to be bored on a vacation, I’d probably come up with some fun project to work on–I like projects. Ideally it wouldn’t be a coding-type project, so I could stay away from the computer. I do have a local Wordpress installation, so I wouldn’t have to go online, but it might be a temptation. Perhaps a crafting project or a writing project. :)

Mrs. Micah’s last blog post..Living Like a (Grad) Student

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2 Kelly May 11, 2009 at 11:09 am

Great advice! We do this on occasion. It can be a ton of fun.

Our next “staycation” will involve lots of yard work and putting up a swingset in the yard. I figure if we get it done in 2 days on the 3rd day we’ll get to watch the kids use it, and sit back on the garden furniture and relax.

Kelly’s last blog post..save money with membership

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3 MLR May 12, 2009 at 12:53 am

That’s nice, too :)

Some people (us) would be satisfied doing something like that. Some people would hate it.

Take a picture of your hard work when you are done!

MLR’s last blog post..Roadside Emergency Kit: What to Include

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4 SaveBuyLive May 11, 2009 at 12:50 pm

I have a visceral hatred for the whole idea of “staycation.”

If I’m going to take time off of work I’m going to use it to do something fun. And since I don’t live in a big exciting city like Philadelphia or DC, fun involves getting the heck out of town.

A vacation should be about getting away. Away from your job, away from drama in your life, away from your neighbors, away from those occasionally-annoying-but-you-love-them-anyway friends and family members, away from everything. If you stay at home you’re still going to have to deal with most of this.

Avoiding garbage like “staycations” (did I mention my visceral hatred for these things yet?) is one of the main reasons why I bother to waste time and effort thinking about frugality and saving money. I’d rather sacrifice the little things in order to have a nice vacation then take a “staycation” so that I can sip lattes every day.

SaveBuyLive’s last blog post..How to make and use a budget in 6 easy steps: Step 6

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5 MLR May 12, 2009 at 12:56 am

I think the point is what if you CAN’T afford a vacation.

I think most people would agree that they prefer one, but when people can’t they usually just say “oh well, I’ll take a week off of work and do my normal routine.”

You don’t have to give up that week, “staycations” are a viable alternative.

MLR’s last blog post..Roadside Emergency Kit: What to Include

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6 Matt Jabs May 11, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Very well put.

I try to abide by some of these points even on weeknights and weekend days, because we all need regular breaks from work!

Also, consider the fact that 10 years ago and beyond…there were no blackberries…it was expected that when you left work WORK LEFT YOU TOO!

This just reinforces my line of thought that all of us need to adopt and return to a more simple way of life.

Matt Jabs’s last blog post..Monthly Debt Reduction & Savings Statement – April 2009

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7 MLR May 12, 2009 at 1:06 am

Yeah, in that way I envy our parents. No leashes/technology.

Simplicity is golden.

MLR’s last blog post..Roadside Emergency Kit: What to Include

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