10 Ways to Make a Staycation Feel Like a Vacation

Make a staycation feel like a vacation without spending too much or venturing too far from home!

Ahh, vacation- it’s a time that many of us look forward to all year long. If we’re lucky, we plan months in advance for that one or two week getaway to the beach, cruise ship, or cabin by the lake.

For some of us, a traditional vacation getaway isn’t in the budget, so we need to find other ways to enjoy those precious few days off. If you’re still planning to take time off to unwind this summer, frugal staycation tips can help you turn your break into something special, even if it’s at home.

You can make a staycation feel like a vacation without spending much at all.

If travel isn’t in your budget this year, make the most of your holiday right at home. The key to achieving a truly relaxing staycation is to plan it out ahead of time.

By doing a little planning and prep, you’ll be able to enjoy the time off without worrying about daily to-do lists. Here are 10 ways to make your staycation feel like a vacation, for cheap!

Put the housework on pause

The last thing anyone wants to do on vacation is clean. Make your home more comfortable and inviting by cleaning it thoroughly in the days before your time off starts.

Clean the week before

Deep clean the bathrooms, kitchen, and common areas. Doing so before your staycation will allow you to unwind and not worry about what needs to be cleaned when you’re off.

Make beds with clean, fresh linens

Make your bed as fresh and inviting as a hotel by making it up with crisp, clean sheets. Using a duvet makes it easy to “make” your bed each morning without having it feel like a chore. You might not have turn-down service, but you’ll have a cozy, clean bed to crawl into at the end of the day.

Add touches to your bedroom

Buy a new candle to light up in the evenings. Add a bouquet of fresh flowers to your dresser. Little touches like these will help your bedroom feel fresher and more like a luxurious retreat.

Declutter as much as possible

Clutter can be distracting and make you feel stressed. To make your home feel more like a hotel or a rental, declutter as much as you can. Clear counters, tabletops, and shelves. Take a page from minimalism and get rid of excess junk on surfaces. Go through that pile of mail that’s been stacking up for weeks. Clean up the kid’s toys and put some away for a few weeks or months. The more you can declutter before your staycation, the more peaceful your home will feel once you’re off.

2) Create a relaxing retreat-like vibe

When making your home as comfortable and relaxing as possible, a few little changes can make a big difference. Think about where you’ll spend most of your time on your staycation.

If you have an outdoor area to enjoy, think about things that will make it more relaxing. Dress up your deck or patio and make it more inviting by adding a few items, such as:

  • Hammock
  • Outdoor pillows
  • Candles
  • Water feature

Don’t forget citronella candles or bug repellent to keep the mosquitoes and other pests away.

If you plan to spend time engaged in a hobby or reading a book, pick an area to create a comfortable spot that’s just for you. It could be a cozy corner in the living room or a sunny spot on a porch.

Set out the books you want to read, add a soft blanket and pillows, or set up your crafting and hobby supplies within arm’s reach.

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3) Treat yourself to little luxuries

When you’re away for a vacation at a resort or hotel, you can end up spending a lot on luxuries like room service, overpriced cocktails by the pool, etc. Give your staycation a little extra oomph without spending much by treating yourself to little luxuries.

For example, you could stock your bar cart with a few bottles of premium liquors to mix your cocktails with. If a great cup of coffee really makes your day, splurge on a blend or brand you usually don’t buy for your daily cup.

Buy fresh flowers or cut them from the garden to bring in the home. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to feel like you’re spoiling yourself just a bit while on your staycation at home.

4) Do what makes you happy

Don’t feel pressure to tackle projects, do home repairs, or take on any other tasks during your staycation. The idea is to relax, unwind, and do what makes you truly happy.

Now if working on DIY projects around the house is what makes you happy, then do it! You get to choose how you spend your time on your staycation at home.

Delete the apps off of your phone that just stresses you out or distracts you from relaxing. For me, that would be the Twitter app. Don’t check the news every hour, or even every day. Let yourself check out for a while- no doom-scrolling!

When you’re doing a staycation with kids, it can be all too easy to stick with your daily routine. Change things up by planning fun family activities.

Remember, you don’t need to stick to the regular schedule when the goal is to take a leave of absence from the daily grind.

5) Make a meal plan

Instead of wondering what to make for dinner every night and spending your time off at the supermarket, make a meal plan ahead of time.

Choose meals that you wouldn’t ordinarily make. Cooking a delicious dinner or spending a slow morning making an awesome breakfast can be part of the fun of your staycation.

Make a list of everything that you’ll need and shop ahead of time.

Take some evenings off from cooking by using a slow cooker. Just set it and forget while you enjoy the day. By the time dinner rolls around, you’ll have a delicious meal ready to go!

Check out our list of over 40 slow cooker meals for summer

6) Find free events & activities around town

Decide how you want to spend your staycation.

Would you like to get outdoors, going for hikes or scenic bike rides? Do you prefer to keep the car in the driveway all week and stay at home?

Figure out what will make you happy and then look for activities to support that. If you have kids at home, take advantage of free activities or events that might be going on in your area, like flea markets, art shows, free concerts, etc. Options might be a lot more limited right now, but there’s still a good chance that there’s something family-friendly going on in your area.

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7) Explore nature

It’s good to get out of the house when you’re enjoying a staycation, even if that just means taking a stroll around your neighborhood. Look for outdoor places to explore, from nearby arboretums and gardens, hiking trails, parks, beaches, etc.

You may not be able to spend a week by the water or in a cabin, but you can find beautiful places in your area to enjoy nature and get some fresh air.

An easy way to make a staycation feel like a vacation is by taking day trips, so look for nearby places you can visit, whether it’s a beach, a lake or creek, or anywhere outdoorsy.

8) Plan for family fun

Having young kids at home can make relaxing a bit more challenging. You might be content to sit on the deck with a cold drink all afternoon, but your kids will probably be bugging you for things to do.

Pull out the board games, a deck of playing cards, or a pair of dice. Gather up some craft supplies and let the little ones be creative. A little planning can give you time to avoid hearing “I’m bored!” over and over.

Set aside a few afternoons or evenings for family game night, plan a backyard camping trip, make smores around the fire pit, or have a movie night.

9) Avoid work emails

One of the top ways to make a staycation feel like a vacation is by leaving work alone for the duration.

Avoid the temptation to check your work email or send a text to your boss or coworker. Set up an auto-reply message that you’re out of the office and leave your inbox untouched for the duration of your staycation vacation.

If you’re self-employed or do freelance work on the side, let your clients know that you’re taking a little time off.

10) Be lazy

Yep, you read that right- be lazy! Let go of the need to get things done and accomplish anything other than relaxing.

The whole point of a vacation is to get out of the daily grind and unwind. Forget about work obligations, to-do lists, and deadlines.

Take time for yourself to simply be. You deserve it!

You don’t have to leave home and spend a lot of money to have a relaxing holiday this year. Make a staycation feel like a vacation by transforming your home into a soothing retreat. By doing a little prep work before your time off, you can save a lot of money, stay safe at home, and have an enjoyable time.