Travel Tips

How to Make Staycation as Good as the Real Thing

Travel is always on our minds, but let's be honest, it isn't always in our budgets. So today we want to discuss a travel topic that doesn't actually involve traveling: the staycation.


What is a Staycation?

A staycation is exactly what it sounds like, a vacation in your own backyard. No passport renewal or TSA pre-check is required. Just like a vacation, a staycation is a dedicated time of indulgence. You can use a staycation to relax and recharge or to ramp up the adventure!

The definition of the word "vacation" begins with "an extended period of leisure or recreation." And yes, it goes on to say that this usually happens away from home, but we are going to run with the fact that a staycation is a vacation! Truly, you don't have to go anywhere to lean into leisure or recreation.

When done right, staycations really can feel like a vacation, we promise! The big bonus of a staycation is the saved time and money from not traveling. But what exactly does it take to make a staycation a worthy endeavor?

The sense of wonder that is so readily available to us on vacation can, in fact, be cultivated at home. However, it can only happen by truly committing to your staycation.

It can be said for most travel experiences that you get out of it what you put into it, but this goes triple when it comes to staycations! With no geographical journey to help put you in "vacation mode," the shift has to happen internally. To make the most of your staycation, you must first put in a little effort to set the tone.


Staycation Preparation

Staying at a hotel in your own city might feel a tad silly, but trust us, it provides a degree of separation that will help you reach staycation bliss! A room with amenities and turn-down service is sure to get you in the right headspace for a staycation.

Of course, you could also rent a place for your staycation. In this case, we suggest finding one with something special that you don't get to enjoy at home. Choose a place with a cozy fireplace, a luxurious jacuzzi, or a killer view from the bedroom balcony.

Of course, many people choose a staycation because it's budget-friendly. If room and board isn't in your budget, no worries! It's totally possible to have a staycation at home, it just takes a bit more effort.

Here's how to set up your home for staycation success:

  1. Clean. Clear countertops will help your home feel more like a hotel. Clearing physical space also helps to clear mental space! Consider this a friendly reminder to ask yourself if you still need those graduation announcements on your fridge. Bonus points if you find a way to further refresh your space, maybe by framing a recent photo or testing out a new furniture arrangement.
  2. Boundaries. Keep your staycation sacred by cozying up in one area of your house. If the wobbly faucet in the downstairs bathroom drives you crazy, don't use it. Shut the door on your kid's messy bedroom. Lock yourself out of your office, if you have to! Commit to the out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality; you're on vacation now.
  3. Distractions. You don't need to sort the mail on your staycation. Have a system in place to deal with distractions that could pull you out of vacation mode (hint: your work laptop does NOT belong on your staycation).
  4. Pro Tip: Liven up your space with fresh flowers as a staycation treat!

To go above and beyond for yourself (which you totally deserve), put together a staycation gift basket to set the ultimate vacation vibe! Include items like a good book, some favorite products, comfy socks, a new candle, and special snacks and beverages you normally don't keep in the house.


A Word of Warning…

Before we discuss what to do on a staycation, let's address something equally important: what not to do.

Three Staycation Don'ts:

  1. Work. Set that "out of office" email and take your PTO. This is vacation, remember?
  2. Routine. You don't need to go to your workout class just because you're staying in town. A staycation should break up your regular routines, just like a vacation would.
  3. Projects & Chores. Be especially aware of this one if you choose to staycation in your home. Even if you enjoy tasks like reorganizing a closet or hanging shelves in the garage, let's be honest, that isn't the tone of a true vacation.

In other words, staycation is not a time for productivity! In order to get those vacation benefits, your staycation should be a dedicated, unproductive time for indulgence.

If you have kids or animals, consider gifting yourself some staycation solo time. Who says you have to be out of town for the kids to sleep over at Grandma's? Why not board your pets for the weekend and take time for yourself? You don't have to go somewhere else to "earn" alone time.


Ready, Set, Stay!

Alright, so you're set up for your staycation with those physical and mental boundaries in place. Now what? How should you actually spend your time on a staycation? Well, that depends on what kind of staycation you'd like to have!

Take a moment and think about what you normally like to do when you travel. Are you the curious type, eager to learn all about your destination through history museums and guided tours? Or are you in it for the adventure and always seeking the next thrill? Maybe you're more into slowing down with a book and a beach towel…

There are no wrong answers. Dissecting how you spend your vacation time will help you determine a staycation itinerary that mirrors what you love about travel.

Here are a few staycation suggestions for various types of travelers.


Staycation Ideas for the Curious Learner

It's all too easy to overlook local experiences that would entice you if you were a visitor. It's fun to play tourist in your own town!

  • Take a walking tour of your own city (or the closest city). Turn your stomping grounds into a classroom and rediscover what makes your home special; walking tours often focus on architecture and history.
  • Plan your staycation around a local event. Something is always happening in Boulder, Colorado (Sherpani's hometown). But even in the smaller, neighboring city of Lafayette, the annual Peach Festival would make a delicious excuse for a summer staycation!
  • Contact your local nursing home and set up a visit with a resident. Listen to the stories of someone who remembers your town from a different time, and enjoy the local history lesson. Of course, this has the double effect of doing some good in your community!
  • Try new restaurants! Enforce a "new restaurants only" policy for your staycation. We are sure your go-to spots are great, but you can access that travel feeling by opting for the places you haven't gotten around to patronizing.


Staycation Ideas for the Master of Relaxation

If a vacation is typically your time to rest and recharge, your staycation can do just the same.

  • Get pampered by your local spa and treat yourself to a massage, or dedicate a night at home for facemasks and pedicures.
  • Call a friend. Make the experience an intentional one. No more catching up while you unload the dishwasher. Sit down, cozy up, and connect with someone you love.
  • You can bring the retreat right to your bedroom with resources like online yoga classes. offers a wide variety of classes and virtual retreats.
  • Rest easy; naps are never time wasted! Other than catching some Zs, you can sunbathe, draw a bath, grab a book, or listen to a guided meditation.


Staycation Ideas for the Adventurous Thrill Seeker

If you're the type of traveler who is always chasing the next big thrill, why should your staycation be any different?

  • Try something new. Just because your location is familiar doesn't mean your activities have to be! From line dancing to woodworking to improv comedy, staycation is the perfect time to try something you've never tried before.
  • Eat exotic. It's true that a staycation has less access to worldly cuisine, but it doesn't have to be off the table. Make plans with a friend from another place and block off two consecutive nights for dinner together. The first night, cook her one of your family recipes. The next night, have her do the same for you!
  • Go on a blind date. We aren't talking about a romantic setup, but a surprise activity. Entrust a friend to choose a staycation activity for you; all you have to do is show up. You could end up seeing the tour of a Broadway show or grinning down at your hometown from a hot air balloon. The anticipation is half the fun!

There is no shortage of creative ways to staycation. The only thing truly required for a staycation is your commitment. You must be in charge of flipping your internal switch to vacation mode. Once you do that, the possibilities are endless!

We know a staycation is not technically travel, but it is a vacation! While we love nothing more than discovering a new place, a good staycation is a close second. Staying put is a more accessible option and arguably a more restful one. When done right, a staycation can be can be just as rewarding as taking a trip.

Take this as your sign to block off time for your next staycation. We just know it's going to be a good one!


Discover More from the Sherpani Travel Blog

Learn where we staycation in this love letter to our hometown.

Find your perfect staycation bag in our bag breakdown.

Get inspired with some female travel history.

By women for women, the Sherpani Travel Blog talks about all things travel (and all things Sherpani!). From unique travel guides to general travel tips to personal stories from women in our community, this is a space to celebrate our belief that travel restores the human spirit.

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