Maximize Your Long Weekend Staycations

SUMMARY POINTS

​> Staycations provide all the benefits of a vacation with less time and money
> Treat staycations like a real vacation to maximize relaxation and stress relief
> Pre-plan during the week so that you can chillax to the max

Every office has at least one.

That one person who always takes vacation days. Every. Single. Month.

How is possible that they can do this?

How many vacation days do they get each year?

How can they afford to do it every month?

Their email out-of-office autoresponder seems to be permanently on with some annoying “joke” about being in a far-flung destination again.

The worst part is that you have to endure endless excited vacay chatter every time - “did I mention I’m going to Spain next week?” Yes, only a hundred effin’ times a day Lisa.

And to make matters worse, you have to pick up the slack while your colleagues sun themselves and sip pina coladas by the pool.

Meanwhile, the rest of us only have enough PTO days to maybe eek out a week off.

Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom.

You have your own holiday to look forward to as well - even if it’s only a staycation for a long holiday weekend.

But these long weekends never really feel like a true vacation.

When we’re taking a short break, and especially when we’re not leaving the country or state or maybe not even our own home, it can be really easy not to treat it like a proper vacation.

We don’t allow ourselves to fully switch off and so we lose a lot of the benefits of going away.

However, with some simple prep and the right mindset, a 3 day staycation can feel like a month in Bali.

Okay, maybe not quite…

But you can learn to make the most of a staycation for full relaxation and rejuvenation.

Let’s dig into this a bit more.

Why Bother Going On Holiday In Your Own Home?

Somehow, taking a trip to the next town over doesn’t quite have the same appeal as an all-inclusive vacation in the Bahamas.

But, the humble staycation is truly underrated. There are many reasons why you should consider taking one the next time you have a long weekend lined up.

First of all, though, you might be wondering what exactly counts as a staycation.

In most cases, it’s when you literally stay in your own home and take day trips in and around your local area. Or sometimes, they can be in-town weekend getaways to nearby destinations too. 

1) More Bang For Your Buck

Vacations are expensive. There’s no getting around it. Even a “budget” trip can easily set you back a cool grand.

Taking a staycation is an awesome way to get travel vibes without having to fork out a ton of money for expensive air travel, visas and hotels.

Even if you decide to get out of your own home, driving a few hours away is hardly going to break the bank.

Saving so much money on travel also means that you could splash out a bit. You might not be able to afford a luxury trip to Dubai, but if you’re only driving down the road, you can probably afford a nice spa hotel right in your hometown.

Ooh la la...now, that’s what we’re talkin’ ‘bout!

2) The People Speak Your Language

If you’re from an English speaking country, it can be easy to become complacent and think the rest of the world speaks English too. Spoiler alert: they do not.

How many times have you tried to speak English to someone while on vacation where it’s not the dominant language and just received a blank stare?

And no, repeating the same thing but s-l-o-w-e-r and with a weird accent does not help.

Sure, sometimes brushing up on your French skills can be fun, but when you’re lost, it’s raining and nobody understands your request for directions, that shit gets old quick.

When you staycation, everybody speaks your language!

3) It Takes Less Time

It’s not always possible to get a week or two off from work and sometimes you just don’t have the vacation days left to get away on a real break.

Taking a staycation is awesome because all you really need is a weekend, a three-day weekend ideally. So, the best time to take one is when there’s a national holiday, so you get a nice long weekend without having to use up your vacation days.

There may also be other times when it’s not possible for you to be away from home for long periods of time. Maybe you have a sick relative or the kids are in school.

Don’t let these responsibilities stop you from taking time out at all - simply take a staycation instead of a vacation.

4) Bring The Whole Crew Along

Have you ever tried to organize a group vacation?

It’s a fucking nightmare.

Trying to find dates that work for everyone, agreeing on a destination, arguments about costs, food, amenities...it’s exhausting. And half the time, not everyone ends up making it on the trip.

It’s much easier to get the whole crew together when all you need is a weekend and a relatively low amount of cash. Tell the gang - these are the dates and location. They’re all grown-ups, so they can book their own itinerary. If they show up, great. If they don’t, that’s perfectly fine too...maybe, even better.

It’s also great for the parents in the group as they can bring their kids along without having to pay an arm and a leg, or they can easily find a babysitter for the weekend.

5) Are We There Yet?

The four most dreaded words a parent can hear while traveling with family. You know that it’s going to be a long-ass trip when the kids ask that question when you’ve barely even left your area code.

Sitting in a plane or car for eight hours can be a real torture session for a lot of us. And even more trying if you’ve got to manage kids during the whole ordeal (thank God for iPads).

Whether it’s a fear of flying, impatience of a long drive or dealing with the kids that put you off, for many it’s the worst part of their vacation.

Staying close to home takes out the need for extended travel time and means you won’t be pulling your hair out during the travel time that seems to last longer than the actual vacation itself.

6) Discover Your City

Have you ever had a friend come visit your city and they ask you about all these different tourist attractions, and you realize you haven’t been to any?

Most of us are terrible at being tourists in our own cities. So taking a staycation is the perfect way to change that.

You can see a completely different side to the place where you live, and explore it with fresh eyes and from a totally different perspective.

If nothing else, it’ll make you a much better host the next time a friend comes to stay.

7) You Can Revisit Places

How many times have you thought to yourself, “I’d love to come back here!” while on vacation? And even as you say it, you’re thinking, “yeah, right…”

But, when it’s in your own backyard, you actually can.

When you’re exploring on a staycation, you tend to find places that you really connect with. And, when you feel more connected to the place where you live, it makes you much happier because you’re creating a richer and more meaningful experience of where you are everyday.

It could be a restaurant with the best food you’ve ever tasted.

It could be a park that was impossibly peaceful.

It could be a gallery you could get lost in for hours.

It could be that little hidden view or scenic walk.

With a staycation, when you find these amazing spaces, you’ll grow a personal fondness to these places - almost like an attachment. They can turn into your new neighborhood hotspots or a place you go to every month when you need an escape.

8) Vacation More Often

If you’re traveling out of the country, chances are you only get to go away once a year or every few years.

If you make use of staycations, you can holiday more often.

Studies show that it’s important for employees to take time off to stay in optimum health and be happy. In fact, researchers have found a link between workers who don’t use their holiday time and cardiovascular disease. No joke and no surprise there.

We’re pushing hard for making 3-day weekends a mandatory thing. 😉
It’s for health reasons!

But the reality of the matter is that most of us aren’t even taking the vacation days we’ve earned. 

VIDEO: America: The No Vacation Nation
YOUTUBE: Seeker
LENGTH: 3:06

Summary points:
> America is the no vacation nation
> Vacation has many benefits, mainly stress relief
> America needs to catch up with Europe and get with the program

A Little Prep For A Lot Less Stress & Tons More Chillaxing

Now, we may have convinced you that a staycation is the way to go - but be warned, it’s really easy to fuck it up.

Because you’re either staying at home, or not going far, it’s easy to treat a staycation more like a regular weekend than a special break.

And when you do this, you lose the magic and the relaxation factor.

By taking a few simple steps, you can make sure that this doesn’t happen to you.

1) Pre-plan Your Itinerary

When you’re traveling to a foreign country, you don’t just book the flight and then wing it (we hope!).

So, don’t do that for your staycation either.

Plan the major details such as where you’re staying and the main activities you and your family want to enjoy.

Do some research beforehand and make a list of some places you’d like to try for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Make a rough itinerary of what you want to do each day - but leave plenty of room for spontaneity and down-time too.

2) Cancel Non-Critical Events

If you go to the same gym class every Saturday morning or watch the same shows every Sunday night, it’s tempting to still do that while you’re on vacay.

Don’t!

The whole point is that you’re getting out of your regular routine.

You need to treat this the same as any other vacation, even though you’re within arm’s reach from your “real life”.

For any non-critical events, cancel them for this weekend just like you would if you were jetting half-way across the world.

3) Make Sure Your Work Is Covered

If you’re taking a working day off for your staycation, make sure you do enough planning so that you’re not coming back to a giant pile of shit.

Again, being so close to home, you’ll be tempted to check and respond to emails, or answer calls from the office.

So making sure that work is covered will help you to kill that urge.

A lot of the time, whether we’re on vacation or staycation, our mind is still at work so we never truly switch off.

By making sure that everything is in order in the days running up to your staycation, you’ll find it easier to let work stay at work.

4) Perfect Your Vacation Responder

“If your request is urgent, please contact me on my cell.”

This is work felony. It’s the worst sentence to have in your email auto-reply.

What’s the fucking point of telling people you’re on vacation if you’re just going to give them permission to contact you anyway?!

And let’s be honest, unless you’re a CEO or maybe some kind of rare specialist, nothing is really that urgent. The company can survive without you and if it can’t, then it’s got waaay bigger problems to deal with.

Write a vacay responder which actually honors the fact that you’re on a break from work.

How do you correct that sentence?

“If your request is urgent, please contact my manager at [insert email and phone]”

5) Don’t Do Any Chores

If you’re staying in your own home during your staycation, you’ll probably end up doing some chores.

Don’t!

You’re on vacation remember?!

So what to do instead? Follow the 3 D’s: do it, delay it or delegate it.

Do all of the chores you usually do on the weekend earlier in the week.

Delay anything that won’t put a downer on your staycation until the following week.

Delegate it and treat yourself by hiring someone else to take care of it this one time.

6) Make Sure Your Friends & Family Know

When you’re going out of town, you let your friends and family know.

So, do the same for your staycation.

Let them know that you’re taking a break and won’t be available for babysitting, catching up over brunch, helping out with moving or any other things you would usually do.

You don’t even have to tell them that you’ll be right under their noses 😉

Again, you’re getting away from your regular routine, so unless they happen to be doing the staycation with you, they can wait until you get back.

If you do all of this, you’ll be able to truly switch off, instead of feeling like it’s just another weekend with a few added extras.

How To Make A Staycation Feel Like A Vacation

When you’re planning activities in a place that’s familiar to you, it can be difficult to come up with something new. After all, it can feel like you’ve seen and done it all.

But remember, the whole point of this is to do what you don’t usually do, so frequenting all your usual places just won’t cut it.

Here are some ideas for how to spend your time.

1) Tourist Attractions

We already mentioned that this is the perfect opportunity to play tourist in your own town.

You’re probably familiar with most of the tourist attractions but check out some travel websites to see if you come across anything new. Or, use the same travel apps (i.e. - TripAdvisor and others) that you normally use while on extended vacations, but use it in your hometown. You might discover something new.

You could also play tourist by attending some tourist events to meet other vacationers and experience a different side of your hometown.

Websites like Meetup also have tons of events to check out, so take a look at what’s going on in your town or city.

2) Eat At A New Restaurant Every Night

If you’re a bit of a foodie, you’ve probably tried all of the best restaurants already in your neck of the woods.

But in most towns and cities there are so many, with new ones constantly opening.

Do your research and find some new places to try. Check out Yelp for “new and upcoming” restaurants in the town your visiting.

You could even make a point of testing out cuisines that you haven’t had the chance to experience yet. Brazilian-fusion anyone?

Worried about bumping into familiar faces? Luckily, we live in a time where you can get pretty much anything delivered.

3) Get Your House Cleaned

You know that awesome feeling when you leave your hotel room in the morning, eager to explore and have an awesome day filled with new experiences and then arrive back to your hotel room to see that it’s been completely revamped?

It’s clean, you have fresh sheets, your stuff has all been put in order, and maybe you even have a chocolate on your pillow!

Well, who says that you can only get that feeling while staying at a hotel?

Why not book a cleaner to come to your house while you’re out and about. Then, when you return home, you’ll get that same feeling of returning to a peaceful haven rather than the mess you left behind that morning.

4) Do What You Normally Do On Vacation

If your idea of a perfect vacay is lying by the pool, sipping cocktails, then do that. During the warmer months of the year, a lot of business-oriented hotels have weak occupancy on weekends, maybe try buying a day pass to the pool amenities.

If you’re more of an adventure seeker, find local hikes, trails and adventure sports you can take part in. We already mentioned MeetUp before. But, try Groupon too for cheap deals on new adventures.

If you love nothing more than spending all your dollars in the spa when you’re on vacation, then do that!

Basically, be “vacation you” instead of “every day you.”

Hawaiian shirts and flip-flop sandals are optional. 😉

5) Do Things You Wish You Had More Time To Do

We’ve all got that hobby that we seem to talk about more than we actually engage in it.

“Oh I love drawing but I just don’t find the time to do it…”

Well, now is the time.

Without the stress of travel and the pressure to explore a new country before your trip ends, you can dedicate some time to doing the things you never have time to do - the stuff that makes you happy and makes you forget about all the other bullshit in life.

Usually, this is something creative, adventurous or relaxing. Whatever it may be, it’s a great way to unwind and create space for yourself to reflect and recharge.

6) Stay At A Friend’s Place (If Swinging Solo)

If you don’t want to staycation in your own home but don’t have the funds for a hotel or AirBnB, why not ask your friends?

It’s a great way to find yourself in new surroundings with your friend and without breaking the bank. Plus, they’d be experts in knowing all the best spots to check out in the neighborhood. It’d be a grown-up sleep-over weekend!

If they’re open to an apartment swap, that could work too. Then, you can have the entire place to yourself and really feel like you’re on vacay.

7) Book An AirBnB Experience Day Trip

If you really can’t be bothered with planning your own trip or you genuinely don’t think your city is interesting enough, you could book yourself onto an experience trip.

AirBnB Experiences are becoming ever more popular. Instead of going on a trip with a tour company, you can get shown around by a local.

You’ll be surprised at what you can find near your hometown; anything from a trip focused on learning to cook, a yoga retreat or a family dinner theater. There’s a lot to your city or town that you probably didn’t know existed.

8) Disconnect And Unplug From The Matrix

This is the ideal opportunity for you to take a digital detox.

We’re not saying you should leave your phone off for the whole weekend or anything - though if you can, you should.

But, simply being on your phone less can have huge benefits.

You could decide that you won’t look at your phone between when you wake up and when you have lunch, or maybe turn your phone on “Do Not Disturb” every evening.

If you’ve done your prep right, everybody knows you’re on vacation and so it should be easy to disconnect from the world without worrying you’re missing any important calls or emails.

So basically, all you need to do to make a staycation feel like a vacation is...exactly what you would do if you were on vacation!

But, if you’ve got kids...

VIDEO: Vacation - "Kevin and James" Featurette [HD]
YOUTUBE: Warner Bros. Pictures
LENGTH: 1:50

Kids bring a whole new level of unpredictable challenges that can make any well-planned staycation go right down the shitter or it can turn out to be one of the best weekends ever. It’s a crapshoot.

So, if you’ve got a set that’s going through some tough years, maybe that solo weekend getaway might be a better idea instead. 😉

“I’m Currently Out Of The Office Until…”

Smug holiday goers will always be annoying.

Seriously, how can some people afford to go on two far away vacations in a year?!

But their smugness will be less annoying when you have your own mini-break to look forward to.

Making use of national holidays for staycations means that instead of taking maybe one or two breaks a year, you can have one almost every other month!

Spreading out your breaks throughout the year like this will help you feel less stressed, give you more down-time for reflection and creativity and help work drag less as you’ll always have something to look forward to.

And who says a staycation isn’t a real vacation?

If you follow the tips above, your staycation can rival any trip abroad. And you’ll be the smug one as you can enjoy your break without counting pennies.

So, what are you waiting for?

Time to get planning!

Your long weekend staycation awaits!

Feel Better,
[Cubicle|Therapy]