For many of us, traveling for vacation is an important part of our lives, but I can’t be the only one who thinks it can get pretty exhausting and stressful sometimes, right? When I worked in an office, I would plan my limited amount of vacation days to make sure I had enough for each destination I wanted to visit. After being fortunate enough to make a few trips, I actually felt burnt out from traveling!

“I need a vacation from my vacation.”

We all know that feeling. I didn’t want to stress out about my ride to the airport or worry about exchange rates, but I also didn’t want to (and no one should) waste a vacation day, so I embraced a staycation instead, a vacation in your own home or city/state.

Prior to taking a staycation, I never thought about my carbon footprint while traveling. While I don’t think I can give up traveling completely, I’ve definitely been more conscious of my trips that require air travel and try to book longer trips visiting multiple cities or countries in an area, rather than booking one city per flight. I’ve also looked into airlines that pay a carbon tax, to offset my carbon footprint. A staycation not only reduces your carbon footprint dramatically by cutting the costs of jet fuel, you also can appreciate your home or city/state in a new way.

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Whether you’re driving to another city in your own state, venturing out of your 5 mile radius, or literally staying in your humble abode, treat your staycation as you would any other vacation. Here are a few tips to prepare for your staycation and how to keep it as pleasant as possible:

Before the staycation:

  1. Finish up household chores – It’s easy to use your downtime at home to take care of the chores you never got around to, but this is not the time for that! Make your living space as tranquil as possible by tidying up beforehand. Even if you book a one-night stay at a local hotel, it’s still nice to come back to a clean home.
  2. List the things you want to do – Whether that list has only one task or a few tasks, do what makes you feel good. Visit places that make you feel at peace or inspired. This is your time to finally get around to those hobbies or activities you were too “busy” for. Finishing up a book, treating yourself to a spa day, or visiting a museum and eating at a nice restaurant, there are no limits here. At the same time, don’t go cray and overbook yourself just to cure your FOMO.
  3. Let others know you’re unavailable – This is so important. Just because you’re physically still in the vicinity, doesn’t mean you’re available to catsit or check your work emails. This is your “you time” so politely let your close friends or family know you’re unavailable if things come up.

During the staycation:

  1. Turn off social media – This one is so hard, I know, especially if you’re like me and love ‘gramming or snapchatting your temporary carefree life. If I wasn’t glued to my phone all the time, this blog would have probably been launched in January like I intended. Point being: you might find yourself with a lot more time to do things if you don’t check your smartphone as often.
  2. Embrace solitude or company – Whether you’re spending your staycation alone or with a few friends, fully embrace it. Taking the tip above will help with this. When was the last time you were alone with your thoughts and surroundings or telling a story to your friends without any distractions? The other day, I was staring at a pigeon with a broken foot for ten minutes and was deeply concerned that I prayed for it. Be in the moment – it’s fun.
  3. Don’t stress out over a schedule – When I travel, I love following an itinerary. It’s my way of taking advantage of doing all the things and seeing all the sights because I don’t know when I’ll be back. When it comes to a staycation, I think following a loose itinerary is easier because there’s a higher chance you can revisit those activities you missed. I feel more relaxed when I can take my time and let go of any worries about not completing something.

Try taking a staycation next time you’re planning your days off. Are you planning days of boredom when you plan a trip to Italy? I hope not, so treat a staycation the same way. It’s only going to be as boring or as exciting based on how you set your intentions and expectations.

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