5 staycation ideas for your next vacation

What is a staycation?

Yes, vacations to far-off locations are a wonderful way to explore the world and push yourself out of your comfort zone. But as amazing as an exotic trip to a far-flung land sounds, there’s something to be said for staying close to home and playing tourist in your hometown or a nearby destination. Enter: staycations.

A staycation, also known as a “holistay” to some, is typically defined as a vacation to a destination that is no more than a three-hour drive from home.

We get it — spending your hard-earned vacation time lounging around your hometown or state doesn’t exactly scream exciting. But, a staycation doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, this travel trend offers many benefits over a traditional vacation. For one, it’s affordable. Forget that expensive plane ticket — a staycation requires a tank of gas (if that) to get you to your destination. Skipping the plane ride and all the other add-ons of a standard trip also makes it an eco-friendly choice and helps to combat overtourism, and the strain on resources, in already-crowded tourist destinations.

Plus, consider the rest and relaxation aspect. Exploring an environment you’re already slightly familiar with — instead of researching, planning, and executing an itinerary in a foreign place — lends itself to a stress-free experience, allowing you to kick back, relax, and immerse yourself in the moment. You won’t feel like you need a vacation from your vacation when you get home. Besides, when was the last time you really took the time to get to know your local area of the country? You might be pleasantly surprised at everything there is to do right at your doorstep.

Have we piqued your interest yet? If a vacation at home (or in a nearby city) sounds up your alley, take a look at our 5 best staycation ideas for your next vacation (and while you’re at it, we’ve launched a new brand dedicated to staycations and getaways—check out the Bernard & Hawkes staycation ideas toolkit).

1. Treat it like a real vacation

Coffee, sunglasses, phone, and newspaper on wooden table
Credit: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Just because you’re going to be near where you live doesn’t mean you shouldn’t disconnect the way you would if you were on a “real” trip. The whole point of taking time off is to reconnect with your family, friends, or significant other, and the best way to do that is to put work and other obligations on the back burner.

Set your work email and phone to automatically reply with an “out of office” message if someone tries to get in touch with you. If you really must check in from time to time, designate a specific day or time to do so and hold yourself to that schedule. Adding a quick check-in to your itinerary will give you some peace of mind knowing you aren’t going completely off the grid, so you won’t feel the need to constantly have your phone within arms’ reach.

2. Don’t overthink it

Man reading book on bench by lake during daytime on a staycation
Credit: Ben White on Unsplash

Eschewing a traditional vacation means doing away with all the research and planning that comes with it. Don’t overthink your plans — whether you’re planning a day trip, weekend staycation, or something longer, keep your itinerary simple.

If you’re struggling for ideas on where to go and what to do, a quick “staycation near me” search will provide you with some starting points. Once you have a place in mind, consider your interests. Unlike a trip to a foreign destination, you won’t feel the need to do every single activity or excursion under the premise of “when in Rome.” A home vacation allows you the luxury of picking and choosing which experiences you want to do, so you can fill your schedule with activities that truly interest you. (Remember to leave plenty of time for downtime, too.)

Book your staycation activities with PlacePass

3. Choose the right lodging

Yellow motel sign in front of palm tree, a top choice for your next staycation
Credit: Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

A weekend staycation is the perfect opportunity to check out a boutique hotel or B&B that you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to stay at. This is probably the easiest, but most impactful, of our staycation ideas to follow through with—skip the typical run-of-the-mill lodgings (and their stale continental breakfast options) and opt for a charming bed and breakfast or quirky, family-owned motel oozing with character. Not only will you get a more personal experience, but you’ll also be supporting a small local business. While you’re there, take advantage of the owner’s intimate knowledge of the area and pick their brain for unique local activity ideas and off-the-beaten-path excursions.

The right lodging will set the tone for your whole trip, so be sure to check out these sites for some inspiration:

  • A Hotel Life: The place to go for fun, indulgent properties and boutique hotels in your area.
  • Getaway: Book a tiny cabin in the woods to disconnect and recharge, away from technology and everyday life.
  • HipCamp: From campsites, RV parks, cabins, and more, find and book a unique camping experience anywhere in the country.
  • GlampingHub: Discover handpicked luxury camping accommodations, including unique experiences like sleeping in a tree house, caboose, barn, or yurt.
  • Under Canvas: Immerse yourself in nature with all the comforts of home under a luxurious, safari-style canvas tent.

4. Choose one new experience per day

Woman admiring art in museum, a great idea for your next staycation
Credit: gilber franco on Unsplash

A packed schedule that doesn’t leave room for downtime or additional activities is the opposite of relaxing — and everything a staycation shouldn’t be. Toss your hour-by-hour itinerary out the window and opt for just one new outing per day. Choosing low-key options that aren’t too daunting (think a yoga class or museum tour) lets you fully enjoy the experience without constantly wondering if you’re running late for your next excursion.

Need some ideas? We’ve got you covered:

5. Try a new (to you) restaurant

Food on a plate in a restaurant
Credit: Davide Cantelli on Unsplash

We all have our favorite go-to establishments, and it’s easy to fall into a routine of eating at the same rotation of restaurants week after week (if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right?). The only problem with this plan is you’re probably missing out on a whole slew of amazing culinary masterpieces that exist right under your nose.

During your staycation, make a pact to try at least one new restaurant that you’ve never eaten at before. It doesn’t need to be a newly opened spot — just one that you haven’t sampled yet. If you’re drawing a blank, check out Eater, The Infatuation, and TimeOut for ideas and inspiration in your area.

Your hotel concierge or B&B hosts are another great resource for hidden gems or local hotspots. Finally, don’t underestimate modern room service. (We promise, it’s come a long way from overcooked burgers and cold french fries.) Some hotels have incredible in-room dining options, and there is something so indulgent about eating a decadent meal in a luxurious hotel bed. If your hotel doesn’t offer room service, don’t fret — Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Caviar are great ways to get the same service delivered right to your door.

Exploring your surroundings will give you a new appreciation for where you live, and planning a staycation or vacation at home can be an exciting and rewarding experience if you know where to look. As you plan your itinerary, PlacePass has excursions and experiences for all interests and ages. Happy staycation-ing!

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