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Going on vacation sounds like a dream. After all, who doesn’t like jetting off to tropical destinations to sip on oceanside cocktails as the sun goes down? But, like anything in life, faraway vacation dreams can quickly turn into a nightmare.
Between planning, paying for, and actually taking time off work to go on a trip it can all become too overwhelming. So much so that you may choose to not go on a vacation at all, wasting your precious earned time off instead.
But, what if we told you there was a better way? Meet the “staycation.”
The staycation is exactly what the name implies—a vacation one takes while staying at home or at least in their own home town.
Truly, a staycation can be exactly what you need to recharge and relax so you’re ready to start tackling work, family, and life once again. And planning the ultimate staycation doesn’t have to be hard. Just follow these simple staycation ideas to still have fun in your own backyard.
Taking Time Off
The first step in taking a staycation is actually committing to take one. And, if you’re an American, you might be particularly bad at this. According to the U.S. Travel Association , American workers accumulated 705 million unused vacation days in 2017, which meant a full 52% of American employees had unused vacation time. That means workers are forfeiting 212 million vacation days a year, and that’s just leaving money on the table.
So, what does a staycation entail? No work emails, no meetings, no calls, nothing. It’s tempting to reach for your computer or your phone while lounging on your time off at home, but this is your vacation and you’ve earned it. Picking a few days you know you can actually unplug might allow you to rest and recharge in peace.
Try setting up an out of office email that lets everyone know you will be unreachable until you return. Making your “OOO” informative and professional—like including information regarding how long you’ll be away and who can assist in the event of emergencies—could be helpful.
Just like a vacation to a foreign destination, your work mode needs to be set to “off.” Seriously, unplug your WiFi if you have to.
Selecting a Place to Stay
For your staycation, you could opt to stay right in your own home. This will, of course, save you a bundle on your staycation budget. If you decide to use your home as your getaway you could give it a little something extra to make it feel special. That might mean buying new sheets for your bed to make your stay feel a little more luxurious.
Or, it could mean hiring a housekeeper to come to clean up before and after your stay to make it feel a bit more like a hotel experience. Or, it could be as simple as buying yourself new mugs for your morning coffee to act as your “souvenir” from your staycation trip.
You could also opt to act like a tourist in your own town by booking a few nights in a nearby hotel. It may cost a bit more, but you’ll be able to reap hotel benefits like room service and cleaning services. Hotels often have other perks like the option to lounge by the pool (if they have one), hit the gym, visit the spa, or to snuggle up in a plush hotel robe and slippers.
Sometimes the most fun to be had just may be outside. If you and your crew are up for a little adventure on your staycation, you could decide to go camping at a nearby park, beach, forest, or any available campground—even if that means camping in your own backyard. This may help you feel a world away just feet from your home.
Choosing Activities to Do
It’s easy to forget just how awesome our own hometowns really are. That’s why on your staycation you should act like a tourist and do all the things non-locals do when they arrive. Is there a nearby museum you’ve never been to, a restaurant you’ve been dying to try, or a hike you’ve never taken? Now might just be the time to do it!
If you’re unsure about what your town may have to offer, try checking out your local tourism office for ideas. Or, click over to sites like Airbnb experiences .
There, locals offer up everything from walking tours to cooking classes, pottery-making to horseback riding, guided hikes to surf lessons, and more. You could even try downloading one of these travel apps for handy guides and tips for sightseeing in your neighborhood.
Of course, if your staycation is just about unplugging from everything, your activity could also be as simple as taking a bubble bath with a good book. Don’t feel like you need to do anything at all.
This is your vacation. Chill, pour some bubbles in the bath or a champagne glass, binge-watch your favorite show with your friends, family, or by yourself. This is you time now.
Finding a “Splurge” Activity
Lots of vacations have one “big” event and staycations are no different. Think about something you’d really like to do on any vacation and build it into your itinerary.
Staycation ideas for couples could include things like getting a massage. You can do this in your own home thanks to companies like Priv , which will send a masseuse right to your door. Or, maybe it’s learning a new skill like taking a cooking class or an art class, which you can find in your own neighborhood on sites like Meetup .
If you’re looking for staycation ideas for families, consider kid-friendly activities in your town such as a day at the children’s museum, or exploring the local lake or other outdoor location.
Whatever your goals, or your family’s goals, discuss them beforehand and make sure to add it your budget. This can still be a vacation to remember even if you’re still sleeping in your own bed.
Creating a Staycation Budget
Once you decide when you’re going to take time off, where you’re going to stay, what you’re going to do, and how you’re going to get there, it’s time to start planning how to pay for it. And that means creating a staycation budget.
Just like any vacation budget, it’s best to start by looking at your current financial situation. Do you have any liquid funds you could allocate to taking time off right now?
Great, that means you’re good to go. If your budget doesn’t have any wiggle room at the end of the month, you may have to save up a little so you can relax on staycation instead of worrying about your spending.
Think about these five things when estimating your staycation spending: Your accommodations, transportation, dining, entertainment, and miscellaneous expenses. The good news is your expenses will likely be a lot smaller while on a staycation than when you’re planning a trip across the country or the world.
Once you have your final numbers tallied it’s time to start saving. Try creating a new savings account in your banking institution and give it a fun name like “dream staycation.” Then, automatically deposit whatever amount you can spare into the account with each paycheck. Don’t touch these funds for anything else as they are only meant to be your fun fund. (You earned it!)
SoFi Money is There for Your Vacation Needs
From your own town to halfway around the globe, you’ll likely want to have easy access to your staycation or vacation money. One option is an account with SoFi Money®.
With SoFi Money®, there are no ATM fees, regardless of whether you’re in your hometown or abroad. Plus, you can earn 2.00% APY on your cash, which means your money will be working for you while you’re on staycation, at work, or anywhere in the world.
Ready to get away from your day-to-day? Take a staycation and let SoFi Money® get you to your time off faster.
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