How to Plan a Stress-Free Staycation | Krista Aoki, a lifestyle & travel blog - ideas for a staycation - a vacation near your home

How to Plan a Stress-Free Staycation

January 28, 2017

How to Plan a Stress-Free Staycation | staycation ideas, traveling on a budget, weekend trip, weekend vacation, #wanderlust #staycationSometimes we don’t have enough money in the bank to take a frivolous vacation, but who says you have to go far away? And who says you have to wait until you have enough paid time off to #treatyoself? Plus, who doesn’t enjoy spending their time off from work seeing or experiencing something totally new? When’s the last time you treated yourself to a stress-free staycation?

Staycations are the perfect escape from your everyday environment for a day, or even two. And they can easily be designed for those who have a penchant for traveling but are still operating on a budget.

  • Staycations are easy on the budget.
  • You can #treatyoself if you want!
  • After you come back from your vacation, you won’t be exhausted from all that traveling!
  • You’ll introduce yourself to new experiences you didn’t know existed right around the corner from you.

And let’s face it, the lines and length of time that comes when traveling by plane gives you that feeling of needing a vacation after that vacation. I never feel like I need a vacation after a close and comfortable weekend staycation!

One of the things I love and admire about my boyfriend, Mike, includes his appreciation for planning and going out on dates. But the whole dinner and a movie thing gets boring (let’s not get into it, but I don’t really enjoy going out to the movies anyway), so we love planning staycations whenever possible.

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Set a Budget and Start Saving

If you’ll be traveling with a partner, agree to put aside a certain amount of money per week towards your next staycation. Think about it: if you both put in $20 each for four weeks, you would have $160 set aside for the beginning of a great staycation!

If you both put in $30 each for four weeks, there would be $240 to spend in no time!

Brainstorm and Research

Maybe you already have an idea or two in mind of a nearby place you have never been to before, or an attraction in a town that you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing.

Start narrowing down how you want to spend your staycation. Do you want to spend a night or two poolside at a local resort? Maybe you want to go on a beautiful hike.

My boyfriend is great at planning staycations. We don’t always stay local. We’ve driven so far as five hours away and spent the evening camping at a national park. And yet, we don’t always spend the night elsewhere when we are staycationing. For Mike’s birthday we decided to see these frozen waterfalls about an hour and a half away.

You can even plan your staycation on a budget.

  • Use Ebates to get cash back on hotel stays, cruises, or spa trips (seriously, who doesn’t love getting paid to travel?).
  • Claim this $40 Airbnb coupon (it never expires) to #treatyoself to a nicer Airbnb stay!
  • Plan to catch a restaurant’s happy hour specials.
  • If you book trips or excursions, ask about a local’s discount.

Don’t Limit Yourself – Roll with It

One of the most pleasant parts about traveling is channeling your inner adventurer and not having every moment planned.

The best part about traveling: not having every single moment planned. Click To Tweet

A few months ago, Mike and I spent an evening in Boulder. One of my favorite things to do when I visit a city is search for a Dance, Dance, Revolution Machine. So the adventure started. We stumbled into a couple different barcades (bars with arcade games inside them). To my dismay, we didn’t find any Dance, Dance Revolution machines (ughhhhh).

But on our way home, we took a detour to a small town known for its casinos. We actually drove past the exit, told each other we had never been there before, and turned the car around for a quick stop. By a very fortunate series of luck, we somehow ended up in an arcade separated from a casino and before I knew it, I was playing Dance, Dance Revolution.

Don’t limit yourself by planning everything. Sometimes you gotta just roll with it.

When you travel, don't limit yourself by having everything planned. Click To Tweet

Take a Picture – it Lasts Longer

Just because you’re not going somewhere exotic doesn’t mean you can’t keep photos for your memories.

Either take a photo with your iPhone or Fujifilm Instax Mini, or spring for one of those professionally taken photos offered at some tourist locations.

It feels good to look back at memories, too. When I wrote this post, I turned to photos from staycations of up to five years ago for inspiration. The photos took me back to the days I lived in Hawaii and we drove forty-five minutes to the local winery. I can still taste the tropical-influenced wines we tried at Volcano Winery.

Related Reading: How to Use VSCO to Create Beautiful Images

Start Planning Your Stress-Free Staycation!

Depending on where you live, the ideas for a pleasant staycation can be limitless! Who needs to fly on an airplane?

  1. Pack a picnic in a basket and enjoy the picnic somewhere scenic.
  2. Spend the day exploring the trails at a state or national park.
  3. Go on a drink tour at a local winery or brewery.
  4. Book an evening or two at a fancy hotel.
  5. Or, book an AirBnB for a unique experience you’ll always remember. (If you use my referral link to sign up for AirBnB, you will receive $40 in travel credit towards your first trip!)
  6. Live somewhere that experiences changing of the seasons? Go on a seasonal hike.  (Mike took me on my first winter hike on his birthday).
  7. Skip Starbucks and visit a local café instead.
  8. Volunteer for a community service or non-profit project to learn more about the local community.
  9. Enjoy a gourmet meal at a fancy restaurant.
  10. Pack up your slackline and hammock and go camping somewhere new.
  11. Jump off a cliff into the water.
  12. Or, climb to the top of a cliff or a mountain.
  13. Walk around the town or city with no destination.
  14. Or, take a guided walking tour of the destination.
  15. Try an activity in your area that’s designed for tourists (visiting a theme park, ziplining, snowmobiling, going up in a hot air balloon).
  16. Enjoy brunch in a romantic setting (especially if there are mimosas involved).
  17. Open the Pokemon GO app while you tour the city.
  18. During the drive, don’t be afraid to stop and take mini detours when something catches your eye.  
  19. Go on a tour and learn something new together!
  20. Visit an art museum, and come up with an imaginary story as to what served as inspiration behind each work of art.
  21. Find a scenic location to watch the sunrise, or sunset.

Where are you from? How do you like to spend your staycations?

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