There is nothing more exciting than getting on a plane and heading off to explore a new area of the country or the world. But traveling is often stressful and not always how you want to spend your hard-earned time off of work. When you're ready for a break that doesn't involve a jam-packed schedule or a major trip isn't in the budget right now, a staycation is a great option. And with Memphis having been named as one of the World's Greatest Places 2021 by Time Magazine, what better time than now to be a tourist in your own town? No matter where you live, though, with a few tips, your next staycation will be one of the best vacations from your job that you've ever had.
Make a plan for your staycation
It may sound silly to create a plan for your staycation. The whole point is to have unplanned time at home, after all. Without a few ground rules and a rough daily schedule, it's easy to get sucked into work tasks or chores around the house. Set some limits for yourself to make your time off a true break from work and household responsibilities. Then create a tentative schedule for the week, so you make sure you get to the fun activities you want to do.
Splurge on a few indulgent meals
One of the best parts about being on vacation is forgoing your usual diet and enjoying some rich meals. Even though you haven't left town, you should still indulge a bit. At a minimum, make dinner reservations for a few restaurants you've always wanted to try or don't get to very regularly because time or budget doesn't allow for it. A couple of expensive dinners are still much less pricey than a week away on vacation. If a good staycation for you involves very little cooking, eat out for at least one meal every single day of your staycation.
If you decide to cook some of your indulgent meals, don't skimp at the grocery store. Take a special trip to the liquor shop for a nice bottle of wine or champagne. Pick up good bread and olive oil and a special dessert or the ingredients to make your favorite, over-the-top dessert. When you're ready to eat, pull up a favorite playlist and light a few candles.
Book a luxury hotel for a night
When the budget doesn't allow for a full week of vacation at a high-end hotel, spend a night or two of your staycation at a nice hotel in town. As you won't be booking a whole week, go for the luxury features. Eat in the hotel's fancy restaurant for dinner, order room service for breakfast, take in an in-room movie, spend a few hours in the pool or hot tub, and enjoy a couple of spa treatments.
If a luxury hotel isn't your speed, consider camping or another small outdoor adventure. Maybe your whole family would enjoy hiking in a previously unexplored area or spending the day trying a new outdoor activity such as canoeing or rock climbing.
Unplug, especially from your work accounts/devices
Even though you haven't left town for your vacation, you don't want to get sucked into work tasks, particularly when you're out and about around town or enjoying a nice meal with family or friends. Put your work laptop away, or better yet, if possible, leave it at the office. Log out of or completely delete your work accounts from your phone, so you aren't tempted to check them when you have a few free minutes. Consider taking a little break from your personal email and social media accounts as well. No one will miss you for a few days. A brief sting of being unplugged will help you return to work refreshed and ready for your regular routine again.
Be a hometown tourist for a couple of days
Ideally, a staycation should be a mix of days at home with nothing planned to eat junk food and binge on Netflix shows and days out of the house to see a few sights that you wouldn't visit normally. Use your staycation as an excuse to check out some local destinations you've never visited but always wanted to see. A brewery tour, afternoon at the art museum, or evening at the ballpark is a perfect way to spend a few hours without completely exhausting yourself.
A staycation experience may also allow for a couple of tourist splurges. Think about taking a private or small group cooking class, getting a behind the scenes tour of your favorite theater or museum, booking a private boat ride, or seeing the city from above in a helicopter.
Take a lot of photos
It may not seem exciting or motivating to get your camera out all the time when you haven't left town. However, when you're having a great staycation, the moments you capture right at home or in your home city may end up being some of your favorite shots. A candid picture of your spouse with your kids in the backyard or a goofy posed shot in front of a local iconic statue will be shots that you look back on fondly for years to come.
A good staycation is about no regrets. When things don't go exactly as planned, don't beat yourself up over it. Maybe one night you were tired after a day of sightseeing and decided to order takeout instead of preparing a big meal. That's okay. As long as you're relaxing and enjoying yourselves, there's no reason to feel guilty about what you didn't do during your staycation.