These Staycation Ideas Will Leave You Feeling Refreshed
Vacations are a necessity of life. Taking a break from routines, having new experiences and treating yourself can help you feel renewed and refreshed.
Sadly, because of time, money or other constraints, we can’t always splurge on a vacation to a faraway place. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to make your house or home city a place to have a vacation — or what's been dubbed a "staycation." This way, you get all the benefits of a getaway without actually getting away.
Here are some staycation ideas for the next time you need a break.
1. Book a Hotel or Airbnb
Some people scoff at the idea of paying money to stay in their home city. But, sometimes, we need to change our physical space to really disconnect from our routine. One of the easiest and most fun ways to do this is to find an awesome hotel or Airbnb in your city.
One advantage is that you can stay in the touristy neighborhoods that you probably don't live in but are really fun to explore. Another is that you have all the hotel perks, like room service, spas and — in some cities — private beaches. Many hotels also have dining and entertainment options so you don't have to worry about anything except relaxing.
You can also check out Airbnb cabins with hot tubs for a fun escape. Or, if you want something that falls in between a hotel and an Airbnb, Marriott International Home & Villas provides the comfort of home with the assurance of a trusted brand.
Try to Get a Room With a Bathtub
Don't Hesitate to Get Room Service
2. Have a Spa Day
If you don't want to spend the night somewhere else, you can dedicate a whole day to pampering yourself at the spa. And we don't mean an hour or two but a full-fledged experience that really makes you feel like you've disconnected.
Hotel spas are often open for bookings from non-guests, and they usually guarantee good quality, though at high prices. Otherwise, you can look into private spas that offer different services. Some have special packages for groups of friends or couples, so you can share the staycation experience with those you love.
If you're lucky enough to live in a city that has a public bath-like spa such, as a hammam or a Korean jimjilbang, we absolutely recommend this. In the U.S., Washington, D.C., has Spa World and Jacksonville, Florida, has Moroccan Hamman & Day Spa. The advantages of these types of places are that they tend to have numerous pools, saunas and social areas, so it's easy to spend a whole day there and forget your worries.
You Can Go With Your Friends
Or Make It a Romantic Day With Your Partner
3. Enjoy a Hotel Pool Day
Another great way to spend a whole day on vacation without paying for overnight accommodations is to take advantage of hotel pools in your city.
This plan is usually best during late spring or summer when rooftop pools are open and you can enjoy beautiful views of the city. Even if you live in a small city, hotel pools tend to be luxurious, with cocktail bars and foodservice. That hint of luxury is what makes the difference, so this can be worth it even if you have access to a community or public pool. Sure, you'll have to pay the day fee, but it will be worth it to be able to have cocktails by the pool.
Some hotels have heated pools that are open during winter, so you can take advantage of this staycation idea as an excuse to leave the house and remember warmer days.
Hotel Pools Are Perfect for a Summer Staycation
Nothing Beats a Cocktail by the Pool
4. Take a Tour of Your City
As cliché as it sounds, being a tourist in your own city is a cool staycation idea that many people overlook. The reality of human nature is that we take things that are easily available for granted. This is why no one in New York goes up the Empire State Building, and people in Miami don't think the beach is a big deal.
But instead of leaving to a new city, you can try to see your city through different eyes. One of the best ways to do this is to go to all those tourist spots that you've never been to. We also recommend booking a tour. There are plenty of walking tours or themed tours that are bound to have surprising information that you never knew, even as a local.
One of our favorite-ever city tours is the Chicago River Architecture Boat Tour. Even if you've been in the city all your life, you'll never see downtown the same. Most cities — and towns — have amazing tours like this.
Take a Fun Walking Tour
Or a Themed Bike Tour
5. Enroll in a Cooking Class
We hear you, cooking on vacation doesn't sound like the best way to rest. But cooking classes can be surprisingly relaxing, especially if you do it as a fun activity with other people.
Some classes include a trip to a market beforehand and then teaching you fun international recipes. You'll taste some new flavors and probably have wine in the process. At the end, you get to enjoy what you've cooked and have a new recipe in your roster. It's really a win-win staycation idea.
You Can Get New Recipes
Dishes Taste Better When You've Worked Hard for Them
6. Take a Fun Day Trip
A staycation doesn't necessarily mean staying put in your house or city; it can also be exploring the area around you. Chances are, there are places one or two hours away from home that are cool but that you haven't visited. Hop on a train or in your car and spend the day exploring your own backyard.
Usually, this staycation isn't very costly, and it's also flexible to your particular circumstances. Take a solo trip to recharge with some "me" time, or plan a group trip for unpredictable shenanigans.
If you want to be even more economical, pack a picnic and find a nice spot to enjoy it along the way.
No One Said Road Trips Have to Be Long
Definitely Bring Your Fur Babies (or Children) Along for the Adventure
7. Head Into Nature
If you feel like you absolutely have to get away from home, consider going into nature. Nothing refreshes the soul like a bit of quiet and fresh air.
Look into the nearest national park, or if there isn't one, check out a nearby state park. The cool thing about retreating into nature is that you can really shape the vacation according to your style. If you want something comfortable and posh, you can rent out a swanky cabin in the woods or book a room at a beautiful park hotel. On the other hand, you can rough it out by camping in the woods. Spend the day hiking, kayaking and, of course, roasting marshmallows.
Even if you're 30 minutes from home, you'll feel a world away.
Enjoy the Natural Beauty of Your Backyard
Forest Bathing Is Good for the Soul
8. Go Camping in Your Backyard
Alternatively, if you have a backyard, you can pitch a tent there and have a camping trip without having to deal with bugs and bears. This is especially fun if you want to include kids in your staycation.
There are portable camping stoves you can set up if you don't have a fire pit. Making s'mores, telling scary stories and stargazing are all fun activities that will make you forget you haven't actually left home. Trust us, the kids love it.
You Can Be This Fancy
Or This Simple
9. Do a PJs-and-Movies Day
Want to get cheesy but also incredibly cute? Forego all planning, and simply have a day where you stay in your PJs and watch movies. Of course, ordering pizza is a must, and no dishes should be cleaned until the next day.
What we love about this staycation is that it's simple, costs very little money and it's kid-friendly. You can do it on your own or with family, and you get to choose which movies you want to watch and how many movies. Throw ice cream into the mix for an even better experience.
It's Perfect for Family Staycations
Or for a Relaxing Solo Staycation
10. Leave the Kids With the Grandparents
All parents love their kids, but sometimes, you need a vacation from them. If this is you, don't feel bad about leaving your kids with grandparents, family members or trusted friends and having a vacation on your own.
The beauty of this is that you'll get an actual break where you won't have to be worried about taking care of small humans at all moments of the day. You can also choose what you want to do. A city tour calls to you? Go ahead. Want to get out to nature or do a day trip? No problem. Spa day or cocktails by a hotel pool? Sounds good.
The world is your literal oyster for this short staycation. Make it count!
You Can Enjoy a Relaxing Spa Day
Or Explore the City Without Worrying About Strollers