8 Tips for Planning an Epic Staycation

Do you currently feel the pull to disconnect from the world and take a vacation? Getting away can be fun and exciting but also stressful. Trips can quickly become expensive when you add up hotel and travel costs. They require a ton of planning, waiting in airports, and time spent stuck in traffic. What if you could enjoy the relaxation benefits of a vacation without having to actually go anywhere?

Say hello to the staycation. You can enjoy everything your city and state have to offer without traveling far. This is a fun and budget-friendly way to step away from work or school and reconnect with loved ones. Here are a few reasons to staycation and ideas to make your local getaway unforgettable.

Advantages of staycationing

There are several reasons to staycation that many people often overlook. Your staycation can last a single day or you can spend a whole week relaxing and exploring your city. Here are a few benefits of this type of travel:

  • Saves money: Eliminate airfare or gas costs by staying close to home. You can even eliminate hotel costs if you don’t want to book a room somewhere nearby. 
  • Pet-friendly: Staycations allow you to stay with — or close to — your pets. You don’t have to get a pet sitter with a staycation and you might find activities your dogs can do with you. Enjoy a vacation with your furry family members.
  • Keeps you safe: Remain close to your doctor, pharmacy, and other medical services that you might need. You can also stay safe by touring a city you are already familiar with.
  • Frequency: You can vacation more often. You can take a staycation almost any day of the year. Instead of booking one major trip, enjoy small getaways nearby every few weeks.

Staycations are also more sustainable. You will reduce your carbon emissions by avoiding air travel or long road trips. Staying at home instead of a hotel can also reduce the amount of waste you generate.

Ideas for the ultimate staycation

There are some drawbacks to taking a staycation. This relaxation getaway can feel too close to home, especially if you don’t get creative with your planning. The best way to plan an ultimate staycation is to clear your regular schedule and plan a local trip as if you were a tourist. Here are a few tips to truly escape without going anywhere. 

1. Play tourist in your own city

What are the essential tourist sites in your city? Visit your local visitor’s bureau website or your state’s visitor guide. Even if you have already seen these sites, it might be worth visiting them again. Museums frequently update their exhibits while zoos and aquariums add new animals, shows, and experiences.

2. Explore your local parks and trails

You don’t have to visit the Grand Canyon or Denali to appreciate the beautiful parks of the United States. There are 2,474 state parks in America and thousands more regional and city parks. These range from sprawling wildlife conservation areas to winding hiking trails. 

Look up a few nearby parks and see what kinds of trails and activities they have. Many parks offer a variety of hiking options for visitors with different physical abilities. You can enjoy a stroller-safe walk with your family or find a 10-mile hike up to a nearby peak. You can also look for parks that offer night hikes, animal education talks, and other nature programs. If you want to give back to the community and help the environment, you can also volunteer to clean up parks and trails to keep them maintained.

3. Make a regional road trip

It still counts as a staycation if you take a road trip to a nearby town. Look at a map of your state and see if there are any nearby cities or destinations that you haven’t been to in a while. You can visit this area for a weekend getaway or simply pop in for a day trip. 

Don’t underestimate the quaint towns and stunning natural wonders of your area. Some of the most beautiful places to visit in the U.S. might be a short drive away. Also, check for local festivals and events that are popular in those areas. You can plan your visit around a fall apple festival or concert series to make the getaway even more special. 

4. Stay in a hotel

The goal of a staycation is to make you feel like you are getting away from the stress of life. Even if you aren’t going anywhere, consider booking a room in a unique hotel. You don’t have to worry about folding piles of laundry, washing your dishes, or doing other chores when you’re away from home. All you have to do is relax. 

Check out some of the coolest hotels around the country to see if any are nearby, or explore bed and breakfasts near you. Even if you are checked into a hotel down the road, you can feel like you have been whisked away to a luxury vacation.

5. Go camping

As you explore different parks and hiking trails in your area, check for overnight camping opportunities. Camping is a great alternative to staying in a hotel for people who want to get away and don’t mind roughing it a little. Some campsites allow you to set up a tent and build a fire away from other visitors. Other campsites have cabins that you can rent with indoor plumbing, basic kitchens, and even bunk beds for the kids.

Depending on where you live, you might be able to camp in some of the darkest places in the U.S. This is perfect for stargazers and for people who want to see the aurora borealis (aka the northern lights).

6. Try new places to eat

If you love trying new restaurants when you travel, consider becoming a local foodie. Look up restaurants you have never been to in your town and make plans to try them out. These can be Michelin-star experiences that you dress up for or down-home diners you never had time to visit. You can also try new foods for the first time — like visiting a Brazilian steakhouse or Laotian restaurant near you. 

7. Take a spa day

Like any vacation, your staycation needs to be a reflection of you. If the idea of camping makes you think about creepy crawlies and bug bites, skip the park visit and book a spa day instead. Turn off your phone and spend a few hours getting pampered. Many spas offer day packages where you can enjoy a massage, facial, and manicure all while sipping on a glass of champagne. Don’t forget to add chocolate-covered strawberries to the experience.

8. Learn something new

You can either use your staycation to turn off your brain or to stimulate it with a learning experience. Look into opportunities to grow your skills through fun retreats and classes with people who have similar interests. For example, you can spend a weekend at a yoga retreat or a photography getaway. You can even take a cooking class with a local chef who can show you how to make a few new dishes. 

Choose a few hobbies you enjoy and see if there are opportunities to explore them. You can sign up for these experiences by yourself or with a few close friends. 

Make every staycation special

You don’t have to pack all of these ideas into one staycation. Instead, pepper the next few months with small getaways around town. You can spend your birthday weekend in a hotel with a spa day planned and then go camping a few weeks later. There’s always something exciting to do if you treat your town like a tourist hotspot.

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