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Plan Staycations That Feel Like Real Vacations


We’ve recently talked about how the world has changed in 2020. Since the beginning of the 20th century, going abroad on vacation and spending time overseas to get away have become firm traditions for much of the world’s population. Especially in the last 30 years, global travel and leaving home to explore new places gained tremendous popularity as the go-to activity for vacationers.


But circumstances change and we find ourselves in trying times that make long range vacations away from home nearly impossible. Thus, the staycation has made a comeback. But it’s not easy to plan a good one. After all, a mediocre staycation is just…staying home and watching Netflix or something. So how do we make for a staycation to remember? How do you plan and prepare a staycation that’s actually different from any other time at home? Let’s look at several essential staycation tips. 

a family enjoy staycation with a portable projector for outdoor cinema in the backyard

It’s in the Mind: Get in Vacation Mode

The purpose of this article is to help you focus on the “vacation” portion of staycation, and less on the “stay” element. The first step is to approach your upcoming staycation just as you would any of the actual overseas or otherwise long distance vacations you’ve taken in the past. The same mental preparation, the same excitement – get in the mood of things and allow yourself to look forward to your time off. Don’t think of it as staying home, try to focus on the things you’ll do differently from the usual routine, for example watching movies in your backyard under the stars rather than in an air conditioned movie theater that smells like popcorn and soft drinks. It’s easier if you think of it in terms of before, during, and after the staycation. We’ll help, so stay with us.


Staycations and the many cool technologies you can incorporate into making them better can make a huge difference. Instead of a rather wasted summer 2020 spent at home, you could be having a great time through an innovative approach that finds new avenues for adventure in seemingly familiar places and activities. 

It’s a Trip

Short and sweet, this tip is all about knowing that your upcoming staycation is indeed a trip. It may not involve much travel distance, but you’ll be going places you’ve never been before nonetheless. You’re not staying put, and you’re not doing the same old after-work ritual. This is something different. 

Preparation for a Staycation

As we said, approach the staycation as you would a vacation. The first thing that entails is planning the budget. Whenever we budget for entertainment activities, we get in a leisurely mindset. Those old instincts will kick in and you’ll feel the vacation vibe coming on. Plan how much you’ll spend on food, lodging, shopping, and even travel (like taxis and buses). Write it down, create a spreadsheet…whatever works for you.


Similarly, create an itinerary. Don’t do anything vague, specify how long your staycation is going to be. If it’s one week, then plan activities for each day, for example the outdoors movie marathon for Thursday at 9pm. Having a schedule to keep is part of the thrill of a good vacation. Let’s all admit to this: one of the great things about vacations is that there’s never enough time to do everything we want to do. Which is what makes vacations so precious and memorable.


Equally important: pack. Yes, pack suitcases. This isn’t just role playing, it’s practical. It’ll help get you in the vacation sensation plus you will be away from home, even if it’s just a few miles down the road. For extra effect, pack things you’ve never taken on a vacation before. Since weight restrictions don’t really apply to staycations, why not take a mini drone, cool and durable portable projector, or Bluetooth speakers? Even your game console or streaming box can come along. Why not! 

Pack a portable projector to make staycations fun

Be a Tourist

We all have special tourist clothes we wear for vacations but not so much when at home. Wear those clothes. Additionally, behave like a tourist. We don’t mean be loud and ask the locals annoying questions. We mean don’t sleep at home and only go on familiar activities during the day. If hotels where you live are open, stay at the fanciest one you can afford. Drink coffee in the expensive lobby café, not your usual Starbucks or equivalent.


Eat at expensive restaurants you normally think of as tourist traps. It’s OK to fall into tourist traps when you’re a tourist, if we’re being honest. You’re not really on vacation if you’re saving money. You can save money by not going on vacation, but that’s kind of not the point of this article, and life’s really too short for all of that frugality.


Not all touristy activities have to cost a bundle. That park you pass every day on the way to work and never notice? Buy a sandwich and a drink and sit on a bench in that park for an hour, just soaking up the atmosphere. That street market you think of as cheesy and for out of towners? Go there. Become the out of towner. Buy souvenirs, silly souvenirs. They won’t seem so silly in a few years. You’ll appreciate them in a whole new light and have very fond memories of the moment you picked them up.


Embrace local traditions that seem cliched in normal times. Because in 2020 one can’t take anything for granted, local clichés may deserve to be cherished. So if your hometown specializes in cheesecakes and you haven’t had one because you scoff at them as gaudy tourist magnets, go to the most famous cheesecake place in town and indulge.

Be a tourist! 

Disconnect, Capture, and Reconnect

Even if you work from home these days, put all of that on hold for the duration of your staycation. Tell your coworkers you’ll be away, even if they walk past the window of that cheesecake place we just mentioned or see you eating that sandwich in the park. No matter. You’re on vacation. That means no emails, texts, messages, or calls. You’re not reachable. As far as work is concerned, you’re not five miles away, you’re on Mars. Disconnect from your daily life, and if you’re taking this staycation with other people, encourage them to do the same. After all, if a significant other or any person close to you keeps talking about work, you’ll soon find yourself drifting out of the vacation zone, and that’s not good.


Capture every beautiful moment, even if it’s places you’ve grown to take for granted over the years. Take lots of photos, stare up at tall buildings and pose next to statues. That’s what you do as a tourist and you’ll be surprised how much you overlook when you get used to a place.


Besides, taking lots of pictures means you can later share them with others on the big screen like the good old days when we had slides. It doesn’t get more touristy than that!


Reconnect to the places where you live and spend most of your life. When we have the option to travel overseas or far away from our homes, we gradually start to forget what makes our hometowns and home locales special. But there’s always something new to discover when you reconnect. There are plenty of streets you haven’t walked along. Restaurants, museums, galleries, shops…so many places you never even set foot in but always said you would. The staycation vacation is your opportunity to catch up with that backlog and make new connections with your home environment. You’d be surprised what new adventures await in your proverbial backyard. 

Share and Plan the Next One!

What do you do when you get back from a vacation? Why, of course share on social media. Do that. Don’t feel awkward just because you didn’t go to some “exotic” place. This isn’t a competition, and you don’t need to one-up your friends this time. Everyone’s in the same boat, few people can travel these days, and your social circle will be happy to share in your staycation action. And it’ll make the whole thing that much more memorable. There will be a record of what you did, which is an essential element of vacationing. People have always recorded their travels, yours is no exception.


Then, get in the habit of planning the next staycation/vacation. We’re not sure how long current conditions will persist, but in any case you know very well that one of the best parts of a vacation is already dreaming of the next one on the flight home. For your staycation, do the same. Begin planning a new one as soon as you’re back to your routine. Trust us, no matter where you live, you’ll be hard pressed to exhaust every vacation option in one go. There’s always plenty more to see, do, and experience.


In this life, the best part is looking forward to something good. 

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