This week the weather turned a corner and the looming summer season hit me straight in the face - and left me wishing for a summer vacation spent lazily lying on sandy beaches sipping drinks with orchids floating in them. But like many Americans, frugality prevails this year, so visits to friends and family and long, leisurely weekends at home (drinking white wine spritzers - sans the corsage) are the order of the day. Not a bad thing, just different.
So if the stiff price of gas has got you down, and the desire to simplify has you got you fired up - be it ever so humble there's no place like home. Enter the staycation - a vacation you take in your own home town. This ongoing trend has would be world travelers seeking relaxation and adventure from the comfort of their own couches. For a successful stay at home family vacation try these ten top tips:
Create a budget: Although you won't have the expenses of leaving home, you will want to consider how much your staycation activities will cost. If you plan on eating out more, spending one or two nights at a local hotel or starting a project that requires investment - plan a budget.
Avoid errand creep: Don't end up doing so many things around the house - replacing the light bulbs, cleaning out the garage, fixing the front door etc. - that you miss taking the time you need to just chill. If you have a few closets you really want to clean out, schedule a specific day and time to do them.
Become a tourist in your own town: You know that old joke about how most New Yorker's have never been to the Statue of Liberty? Buy a guidebook on the area you live in and read through it for things you might like to do. Take a guided tour, helicopter ride, boat trip, see the zoo etc.
Keep friends at bay: Unless you want a major part of your staycation to be visiting with friends, don't over schedule the lunches, dinners and get togethers. You want the space (and freedom) to be spontaneous.
Visit a day spa: Just because you're not staying at a five star resort with a world-class spa, does not mean you can't get scrubbed, rubbed and pampered! Check out a day spa in your area and set up a treatment or two. If you really want to splurge go for broke and do a full-day package.
Set goals: Think about what you want to accomplish on your staycation. Is there a book you have been dying to read? A whole slew of movies you want to catch up on? Romantic time you want to spend with your spouse? Take the kids to the new exhibit at the zoo? Time to think through your long-term goals? Naps? Whatever objectives you set, let them dictate the organization of your time off.
Block out check in times: Just as you would with a regular get away vacation, set up specific times when you are going to check in with the office and stick to them. Don't let the proximity of work, lure you away from your stay-at-home holiday.
Stay overnight: If your staycation is a week or longer consider spending one or two nights at a local hotel. Just getting away for a night, can feel exotic and fun. Not to mention romantic if you go with your significant other.
Do something different: One of the advantages of a traditional vacation is that it puts you in a different environment, where the opportunity to try something new is greater than usual. There is no reason you can't apply this same idea to your staycation. Check out your local scene for activities that you might not normally do but sound fun.
Do nothing: Never underestimate the value of waking up when you want to and doing whatever you want, whenever you want, all day long. Don't feel like your staycation has to produce any tangible results - it doesn't. Just getting renewed and refreshed is reward enough.
Please note that the information in this article is copyrighted by Karen Leland. If you would like to reprint any of it on your blog or website you are welcome to do so, provided you give credit and a live link back to this posting.
Karen Leland is author of the recently released books Email In An Instant: 60 Ways To Get Your Message Across With Style and Impact, Watercooler Wisdom: How Smart People Prosper In the Face of Conflict, Pressure and Change and Time Management In An Instant:60 Ways to Make the Most of Your Day. She is the co-creator of a new line of Productivity Pads from Time Tamer™ and the co-founder of Sterling Consulting Group. For questions, comments or to book Karen to speak at your next event, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.