Make Your Next Trip a Staycation

staycation ideas

Staycation—Your Perfect Escape

Every great vacation has two moments of Zen.

The first, when you finally load up the car or head to the airport leaving home in the rearview mirror. There’s excitement, maybe even trepidation, but one thing’s certain—you’re going somewhere—possibility lies ahead as you venture into the world.

The second is more serene. It’s the bittersweet moment when the trip is over and you’re about to reenter the “real world”. Many folks hate this part, but I enjoy the sudden realization that, come Monday, I’ll be back to work.

Two years ago, my wife and I had a whirlwind adventure exploring the streets of Paris. A trip 40 years in the making, the cathedrals, cafes, and crowds exceeded all expectation. But after the last macaron was eaten and the final sip of Bordeaux was drunk, it was time to make the long haul back to Utah.

Tucked into my window seat on my flight home, I pondered how the experience changed me. Even though we were exhausted and overwhelmed, I felt strangely rejuvenated. What if I took this sense of wonder back home? Imagine what I could do if I applied this excitement and energy to my life.

A Staycation Adventure

Visiting an exotic location isn’t in this year’s plan.

Yet we still have vacation time to burn, and I’m not about to let it go to waste. Staying home, we want to make every second count—our staycation is time to focus on ourselves.

Here are some ways we recharge, relax, and reshape this valuable time off.

Organize Your Life

Cutting the clutter sounds cliché until you realize how much you own. We have closets filled with stuff we haven’t touched in years. (Seriously, why do we own five unopened jigsaw puzzles?)

Folks are like hermit crabs—they grow into their shell—and our small home was starting to feel stuffed full. We went from room to room organizing closets, drawers, and shelves. We donated what we didn’t need and threw away things no one would want. It was dusty work fraught with a few heated debates, but the results speak for themselves: the house is cleaner, less cluttered, and far more relaxing.

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Make the Most of What You Have

Organizing the house, we discovered hobbies we’d forgotten about. My wife found sheets of construction paper and scrapbooking gear. I found a ukulele I promised myself I’d master—now I’m no Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, but a couple of YouTube videos later I sound pretty good.

Appreciate what you own. You don’t have to run out to the store and buy new toys. Play with the ones you have. Ukuleles want to be strummed; cards want to be pressed. It’s satisfying to spend time with things that bring you joy.

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Reinvest in Family

Like most modern families with siblings and parents scattered everywhere, vacations are often spent traveling the country to visit family. During my staycation, I called my folks more, sent cards to my nieces and nephews, and was more present for my wife. It’s incredibly rewarding to take time to talk and reconnect with those your love most.

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Explore the Community

I’m lucky to live in Salt Lake City. It’s an outdoor paradise with world-class skiing, hiking and biking trails, and great fishing. It also has killer restaurants, museums, and parks. Yet how often do we take advantage of it? Not nearly enough.

During our staycation, we made a list of things we’ve always talked about but hadn’t done. Reservations were made at a Mexican restaurant. Trails in the foothills were explored. And we finally made it to the Natural History Museum. During our staycation, we explored Salt Lake the same way we did Paris—with a sense of excitement and awe.

I bet you live in a town with tons of cool things you’ve never gotten around to do. Now’s your chance.


Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Fill some of your time off donating yourself to help others in your community. From food banks to homeless shelters to senior centers, charitable organizations can use your time, energy, and resources.

And volunteering isn’t limited to traditional groups. Pick up trash in your neighborhood. Offer to buy groceries for seniors. Plant trees or read books to kids (even if it’s online). Opportunities abound to make a positive impact.

Start a New Exercise Program

It’s been said it takes 30 days for an activity to become a habit. If you’ve ever thought of road biking, Zumba, or paddle boarding, a staycation is the perfect time to get started. Join a gym, sign up for a class, or even try jogging around the neighborhood.

I signed up for a week’s worth of classes at a fitness boxing gym just down the street from my house. The full-body workout was intense! For five days I skipped rope, did calisthenics, hit the heavy bag, and ran. Sore doesn’t begin to describe the workout, but I’m hooked. Find a healthy activity that makes you feel good, and get your sweat on.

Cook Up Something New

We rarely have time to try new recipes. As you run yourself ragged between home and the office, it’s challenging to find a recipe, get ingredients, buy a new cooking tool, and actually make something new.

My grandmother’s homemade cookies were the best, and I’ve always wanted to make Tollhouse cookies. Honestly, I was surprised how easy they were to make. They weren’t as good as Grandma Hazel’s, but they didn’t disappoint.

Just like a great chicken kabob, let your cooking ideas marinate. Before your staycation, pick out a recipe for a special meal. Even better, get the entire family involved. There’s nothing better than everyone chipping in to create a culinary masterpiece.

Tackle a Home Improvement Project

Got a leaky faucet? A door that doesn’t close right? A lawnmower in need of service? Don’t put projects off any longer. Make a list of nagging to dos and fix them.

Our living room has been the same dull eggshell white since we moved in a decade ago. We both agreed, “Enough is enough!” A quick trip to the home improvement store and a couple of gallons of saffron ivory later, and we finally have the fun and vibrant living room of our dreams.

See what needs repair around your house and become the secret DIYer you dream to be. And if not, hire someone to help you.

Plant Something

Plant food. Plant flowers. Start a garden—you won’t regret it.

Take Care of You

Even if you decide to veg out and binge-watch those shows you’ve been missing, take time during your staycation for self-love. Get plenty of rest. Drink water. Take your vitamins. Find time for self-reflection and appreciate life’s journey.

Instead of heading to the salon during our staycation, we had beautification session at the house. My wife found this great facial scrub by USANA called the Celavive Exfoliating Scrub + Mask with pollution-fighting charcoal.

It was the perfect way to end our staycation. Even though I have a heavy beard, it worked great around my cheeks and forehead. My face has never felt so smooth and soft, and I swear my wife’s skin was glowing when we washed it off. I highly recommend this exhilarating scrub for anyone.

Recharge, Relax, and Reshape

A week staycation was just what the doctor ordered. Not only did we explore our community, we organized our home, ate great food, and took time for ourselves. Instead of coming home jet-lagged with a credit card bill in tow, we recentered our lives. By the end, we were ready to get back to work.

The most important lesson I learned during my staycation was to appreciate my time off. While it wasn’t strolling the Seine at twilight, we still had a wonderful time. Let me know your favorite staycation ideas in the comment section.

1 reply
  1. Carol
    Carol says:

    This year after 8 years of family group camping, we stay home and explore the local parks every week with our kids. Even my husband can make perfect steamed buns after so many time fails. It was fun to watch daddy and kids cooking together.


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