Should I Stay or Should I Go?—You Can do Both on Stay-Cation
There are times when the “pack-it-up and get away” destination vacation is not an option, when money or time is tight, or we have a health concern or an expensive car repair that needs addressing. Or as John Lennon put it, “Life is what happens when you make other plans.”
Those times evoke the subject of the “staycation,” which is at its core is a “glass half-full/glass half-empty” proposition. You can see the stay-cation as a weak compromise to a vacation in the wake a financial shortfall. Alternatively, you can see it as a golden opportunity to re-discover your long-neglected backyard and spoil and recharge yourself in ways you never could imagine.
Even if your suitcases are to remain in the closet for now, a well-planned staycation can pack the benefits of a destination vacation and then some. As there is little or no stress over keeping to a budget, you can visit spas or fitness retreats you would never normally visit. As you won’t have to spend on a hotel room, you can spend some of the money you save on a new mattress or more luxurious sheets. With meals, you can treat yourself to the hot, buzz-getting restaurant or explore ethnic neighborhoods that capture the culture and color of a place you’d someday like to visit.
To make your home court feel more like an oasis or retreat, you should set and follow ground rules you would make for yourself if you were taking that carefully planned trip away from home. The first step is to have a formal start and finish date for your staycation, and then follow them:
- No smart phone
- No email
- No computer
- No television
- No activities related to your job
- No cooking
- No cleaning
- No laundry
The second step is to do your homework and start putting together a list of places you’ve always wanted to visit within two hours of your home but never had a chance to do. If hiking is your thing, research state and national parks and beaches. If wildlife is important to you, research local wildlife organizations and see what special events are happening at your local zoo or aquarium. If you’re interested in performing arts, find out what’s on at local live theater companies, movie theaters and music centers. Even your local public library may hold a few surprises. There are also street fairs, art shows and gallery walks that will have you seeing your familiar stomping grounds in a new light. The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination and the research you are willing to do.
From there, after you’ve worked out your itinerary, be prepared to throw it and caution to the wind on occasion. If you see something interesting en route to a museum or local sporting event, stop and check it out. When you’re on a staycation, you won’t have a strict schedule to keep.
You can also look into engaging in volunteer projects you’ve put off due to time constraints, which will also allow you to discover parts of the city and fascinating people you never knew existed.