If staying home for vacation sounds boring, that’s probably just because you don’t know how to create the perfect staycation. A good staycation can give you the same sense of relaxation that you might feel after spending a week at a familiar vacation home, while also opening the door for you to try new experiences that you might only consider on a cruise or excursion.
But beware; there are pitfalls to staycations that can sap you of the relaxation and excitement you hope to enjoy. Here’s how to avoid making six common staycation mistakes.
1. Trying to be productive.
It’s tempting to see your time off as an opportunity to paint a room or organize your attic. But it’s important to resist the urge to clean, run errands, and surrender to all of the little obligations of everyday life. If you’re planning to spend your vacation darning your socks and getting your oil changed, ask yourself, “Would I do this if I was on a cruise or sightseeing in Europe? Then why should I do it now?”
2. Becoming a blob.
It’s understandable. You work hard every day, so you feel like you deserve some time off to sit around binge-watching reruns and napping. It’s fine to take a day to catch up on sleep and your favorite TV show, but you’ll regret spending your whole week off emulating a sloth. If you fill your staycation with non-activities, you won’t feel rested or rejuvenated when you return to work. You’ll just wonder where the time went.
3. Embracing your comfort zone.
Just because you’re not flying abroad or driving to another time zone doesn’t mean you have to cocoon yourself in your neighborhood. There will be plenty of time for your usual restaurants and walking trails when “normal” life begins again. For now, you should try new spots and venture into parts of town that you’re less familiar with. After all, different places inspire different thoughts. That’s why your mind feels more “awake” when you’re traveling.
4. Dismissing day trips.
If you think there’s nothing to do within an hour or two of your home, you’re probably mistaken. With a little research and a sense of adventure, almost any town can be worth exploring. Think of your city as a home base for short jaunts to nearby areas.
5. Sticking to predictable pastimes.
Perhaps in your everyday life you’d never go to a spa because you feel it’s too indulgent, or on a hike because it’s too much of a hassle, but traditional vacations encourage you to open your mind and consider doing what you would normally balk at. Use your staycation the same way and try new activities, new cuisines, and new routines.
6. Forgetting to think like a traveler.
Realistically, spending your vacation at home is not going to make you feel like you’re traveling the world. But if you get into a travel mentality — whether that means extreme sightseeing or extreme relaxation — you’ll reap the same benefits as you would from an exotic excursion. Pack a bag for the day, grab a map, and look at your city with fresh eyes.
No matter how you decide to use your staycation days, remember that the goal is to return to work having actually had a vacation. And that feeling comes from having temporarily expanded your life beyond its everyday boundaries.