Tips For Planning Your Next Summer Staycation

Do you desperately need a relaxing break but don’t want to travel too far from home?  Consider a staycation ( a vacation spent at home or nearby). The best thing about a staycation is they often require less planning than say the standard tropical beach vacation,  plus you get to explore the area/region you live in! I know what you may be thinking – some states are better suited for staycations than others. And yes, I’d have to agree that those of us in states such as Colorado, California, New York, Washington, etc., may be biased in saying that staycations are great. However,  my family is originally from Wisconsin, and some of my favorite trips as a child took place within a few hours of my hometown.  It can be done! Follow these helpful tips from WalletHub to plan your summer staycation before it slips away.

1 – Plan for it. Part of the joy we get from vacations is looking forward to them.

  • The first thing is to think about what kinds of activities are going to bring you the most happiness? Sleeping late, going out to restaurants, taking a hike, shopping, spending time with family and friends, enjoying movies and the arts, getting your closets organized, and so on. For many people, it’s a mixture of things. A good balance for a staycation is that it balances doing something that you really need to get done (clean that closet), something that you really want to do (because it makes you feel happy- stimulated, relaxed, entertained, gratified in a visual, auditory, olfactory, etc. way), and something that inspires you – something that causes you to achieve a more positive self-state so that you end up feeling better about yourself – for example, learning something new, appreciating the people you love, giving back to people who need help.
  • Think about which options will bring you the most happiness. OK, so you seriously want to get a massage. The muscles in your neck and shoulders are as tight as. Will a massage at the YMCA do it for you, or do you need something more indulgent, like a hot stone massage at a local spa, or perhaps even a day at the spa?
  • We like to have some variety.OK- so you want to enjoy some restaurants…You might like to try some of your favorites, but mix it in with some other restaurants that seem interesting and maybe just slightly outside your comfort zone. A staycation doesn’t need to be boring. Part of the goal is to seek new experiences. That’s what makes staycations both relaxing and interesting.

RELATED ARTICLE: Where Are The Best Towns To Plan A Staycation? 

2 – Savor it.

  • Really imagine how good you are going to feel by this staycation. Focus on how good you are feeling now by imagining your staycation and how it will unfold. Research shows that savoring an experience in advance makes the actual experience seem more enjoyable, and remembered as more enjoyable.
  • Be mindful of it. Mindfulness meditation and other mindfulness practices, show us that we are most happy when we can be aware of what we are experiencing. Being open to the experiences as they happen in real time not only affects how much we enjoy the experience, it can also help us become aware of what’s inhibiting us from enjoying the experience, and why we feel that way. This helps us make better decisions in the future.
  • Remember it. Take pictures, write about it. Make your happiness real not just to you but to others. Document your happiness in your personal photos, not just on social media
  • BUT – don’t do anything else on social media. And while we are talking about it, hide your cell phone or at least turn-off email messages, tweets, etc. at all costs. Research shows that you enjoy things less when you are distracted by things like cell phones that take your attention away from the experience you are having.

3 – What activities can families do locally without breaking the bank?

  • Look for free activities in the community or in communities adjacent to yours. Spring-Fall are great times for local festivals, particularly those that celebrate the local culture and products. Weather in most places is good, making visits to nature, lakes, local swim sites, gardens, hikes (all free – generally). Visiting family in the (general) local area might be doable, Catching up that annoying to do list, I need to:… make a budget, make an appointment for a physical exam, meet with my financial planner might not be fun, but many of these necessary evils are done for free. And getting them done will really make you feel better.
  • Enjoy your living environment- If you’ve been renovating or making house investments, revel in your new environment. Appreciate the new, soft sheets, the new light fixture in your doorway, the purchase of a new couch. What a joy to celebrate your investment in your domicile to really appreciate it. Notice if there is something that’s reducing your enjoyment in your living environment, note that, and think about it during your time at home.

4 – What is the best time of year to have a staycation?

  • Whenever you are feeling depleted and need to recharge without a lot of hassle.
  • Ideally, when the season is right for the activity you want to do, but the crowds of others have thinned out. It’s easier to immerse yourself in an experience when you are able to enjoy it without a lot of external interference.

5 – In evaluating the best cities for staycations, what are the top five indicators? This is tough, but here’s a shot

  • Offers a lot of diversity in terms of options like nature, culture, new experiences.
  • Inspires you somehow- makes you act in ways that are consistent with your values.
  • Makes you learn something new and stretches you just outside of your comfort zone.
  • Has weather that’s great for what you want to do.

What are some tips for having a truly relaxing staycation?

  • Mindset buy-in of all. Not easy to relax in one’s usual environment.
  • Pre-planning of what to do, how, with whom etc.
  • What activities can families do locally without breaking the bank?
  • Trips to local attractions especially when it coincides with heavily discounted entrance ticket days
  • Participation in local outdoor events, usually free

What is the best time of year to have a staycation?

Outside peak tourist seasons if a tourist destination, otherwise best if it coincides with specific local events or ticket discount days.

In evaluating the best cities for staycations, what are the top five indicators?

  • Diversity of attractions.
  • Walker friendly city especially wide pavements.
  • Free public rest areas in the city.
  • Safe city public intermodal transportation system.
  • Ease and cost of parking.