Close to Home: 8 Tips for a Fun Staycation

Sleep in, eat out and don’t do the laundry.

staycation-ideas-tourist Photos from iStock

Yes, your last cruise was perfect. But as amazing as it was, you can’t always go to Alaska when you want to get away.

If a full-blown vacation isn’t in your budget, the solution may be a staycation. Sleep in your bed, don’t board the dog, explore your region and save money while you’re having fun. Here are eight staycation ideas to help you plan a getaway in your own city.

1. Set ground rules

The trick to making a staycation restful and exciting is to deviate from your daily routines. Break habits by setting rules that you enjoy: no working, no cooking and no checking email. By setting a baseline for what you will and won’t do, you make it easier to disconnect from work, social media and chores—and to fully immerse yourself in relaxation mode.

2. Consider a theme


Interested in a far-away place? Plan your staycation related to that place. If you would like to travel to a tropical island, seek out all the tropical-themed places in your area, such as botanical gardens, zoos with tropical exhibits and even a tiki bar. Interested in Italy? Try Italian restaurants you haven’t been to, find a museum with Italian art or see whether there’s an Italian-themed cooking class in your area. And when you research those restaurants, don’t forget to check for AAA discounts and save.

3. Let your community guide you

If following a theme feels too restrictive, let your hometown be your guide. Pick a starting point, such as a new breakfast spot, and strike up a conversation with the people there. Ask the hostesses, wait staff and other customers what they’d do and where they’d go if they had a free day in your city. Pick the best suggestion and then repeat the process at your next stop.

4. Be a tourist

Chances are you don’t go to the tourist spots in your city until someone visits you. But one of the easiest staycation ideas is to simply be a tourist in your own town. Visit popular attractions, eat at trendy restaurants and experience what draws other vacationers to your area. You never know what you may learn about your city or where your discoveries will lead you.

5. Take in the fresh air


If you staycation during warmer months, get outside! Try a leisurely ride using a bicycle sharing program and explore destinations along the bike path. Take a Segway tour, roll down your windows and have a scenic drive, or even take a short lake or river cruise—many offer lunch or dinner on board.

6. Reward yourself with a souvenir

You’re saving money by not paying for flights or hotels, so treat yourself and your family to a souvenir from your staycation. Spend a day visiting local shops or attractions that you’re curious about but—until now—never took the time to explore. Find a treasure to take home: Perhaps it’s a coffee mug that touts your city, a specialty local food or clothing from a boutique.

7. Go on a culinary adventure

What’s the easiest way to experience a different culture without a stamp in your passport? A culinary tour, of course. Seek out locally owned restaurants that serve up more than just a burger and fries. Look for spots with Asian, African, European, Middle Eastern or South American roots, and give yourself a tasty global tour without the jet lag. Let AAA Mobile guide you to AAA Diamond restaurants.

8. Take a class


Ever wish you’d taken more fun classes in school—or actually paid attention to the ones you did take? Now’s your chance. Take a class in something you’ve always wanted to try and make it part of your staycation. Check out local restaurants, recreation centers, art centers and community colleges for single-day classes. Rock climbing? Belly dancing? Cooking? Gardening? It’s up to you. No pop quizzes required.

And don’t forget to take a lot of photos on your staycation! But wait to post them on social media until after your “return.”

Keep reading in: