woman in a sunhat relaxing with a drink by a pool

Staycation: Ideas for Making the Most of Your Vacation at Home

Jeannette Baum7-Minute Read
September 03, 2022

“Are you still watching?”

You click the “Yes.” button and sigh. Even Netflix knows re-watching the entire Grey’s Anatomy series for the third time since stay-at-home orders started is a questionable move. You’re still watching, but you wish you were eating breakfast off of a floating tray in a pool in Bali instead. That’s where you’d be if 2020 went according to plan. But life is what happens while you’re busy making plans.

The global pandemic caused millions of people to cancel their travel plans this year. While it was done with everyone’s best interest in mind, it canceled vacations some of us have been looking forward to for a very long time. But all hope is not lost. The silver lining to all of this is that you can still have your getaway and have just as much fun without leaving your own city. Here are some ideas for how to make the best out of your “staycation.”

What Is A Staycation?

A staycation is a blend of the words “stay” and “vacation.” Unlike going abroad, a staycation is simply a vacation spent closer to home or at home. Staycations, or “holistays” are becoming more and more popular because of current circumstances. But even when we have the option to go abroad, a staycation could be a better option. Whether you’re looking to save money, take a shorter getaway or save on travel time, a staycation could be just what you need.

Best Staycation Ideas

Here are some options to help you make the most out of your staycation.

Visit Local Attractions

Have you ever taken the time to be a tourist in your own town? Visiting places in your city where you wouldn’t normally go out of your way to explore can help you see the place you live with fresh eyes. Check out art museums or nearby monuments and learn about the history of the place you call home. If you live by the beach, take a day trip and go all out. Tote along the sunscreen, the beach blanket and of course the huge rainbow umbrella that’s sure to go rolling down the beach in true tumbleweed fashion in no time. Really embrace your inner tourist for the day.

You could also take the day to tour your local zoo or aquarium. Some might even let you feed the giraffes. Who can beat that?

If you’ve got more than a day to spare, venture out a bit. Take a little trip to attractions that are a bit further from your house. These will give you the illusion of being on a larger vacation without having to deal with plane travel.

Participate In Local Events

Nearly every city has a schedule of events to keep its citizens entertained. You might find timely art exhibitions, local performances, craft shows and many more events that you didn’t realize were happening. Attending local events is a great way to get more involved in your community and meet others near you who share similar interests. Who knows, you might even make a new friend or two.

Get Outside

Few things help to recharge better than fresh air and spending time in nature. Set the gaming controller down and step outside. It might take a while for your eyes to adjust to the bright sunlight, but we promise, it’s worth it. Apps like AllTrails can help you find nearby hiking, biking and walking trails to suit your preferred level of difficulty and help you to plan ahead. Rent some kayaks or canoes and pack some sandwiches to spend the day on the water. Make a point to explore the different parks around you. Maybe even set up a hammock for a while and read a good book.

You can also put a twist on your typical grocery store trip and head to your local farmers market. You’ll be supporting local businesses and farms, all while getting super fresh produce and spending time in the sunshine.

If you’re looking to get the kids out of the house, plan a family camping trip in the back yard. You can teach them how to pitch tents and build a campfire. Then you can reward them for all their hard work with sweet, gooey s’mores.

Worse comes to worst, set up a sprinkler in the back yard and let the little ones wear themselves out, so you can get your own mini-vacation while they sleep.

Hold A Self-Care Day

Let’s be honest, what we truly want out of a vacation is to replenish. Give yourself the day at home to focus solely on self-care. Spend your morning drinking tea and meditating. Make yourself a nice healthy breakfast smoothie to give you the energy you need to start your day.

You could also create an at-home-spa without breaking the bank. Run a warm bath with Epsom salts and lavender essential oils, apply a face mask and sit back and relax.

The thing about self-care is it’s not just limited to veg-ing out in your bathtub, but can also mean getting your body moving with some yoga or an intense workout in your home gym. The point of this day is to slow down and listen to what your body is telling you it needs, then fill those needs. You’d be amazed by how effective just one day of self-care can be.

Bring The Theater To You

Netflix isn’t all bad. Maybe opt for a new movie instead of letting yourself instinctively click to Grey’s Anatomy or another usual. Throw some popcorn in the microwave, gather all the blankets and pillows and invest in a good projector. You don’t have to leave your house to get the movie theatre experience. The best part? You (probably) won’t have to crawl on the sticky floor to dig deep into the dark depths underneath the chair for the phone you dropped in the middle of the movie. You could also take the family to a drive-in. It’s an old classic, but the perfect little getaway to get your mind off of the to-do list for a bit.

Unplug For A Day

Sometimes the vacation you need is from endless notifications. In this digital age, all of our electronics are constantly begging for our attention. This can lead to burn out quickly if not kept in check. While it might feel foreign and like a piece of you is missing at first, time without technology might be just the thing you need to get some much-needed rest and relaxation.

Fill your time with crafting, playing music or reading instead of scrolling. You know that instrument you’ve always wanted to learn but never had the time to? Since a stimulating new skill is a great way to keep the mind in the moment instead of wandering off to daily worries, it’s the perfect staycation activity.

For those of you that love to cook and bake, try out some new recipes you’ve been dying to taste. Millions of people use baking and cooking as a way to unwind and center themselves. Perhaps that’s the reason for the term coined “stress-baking.” So whisk away your worries. Your family and friends might just appreciate this one, too.

Create A Backyard Oasis

You can’t beat the ability to retreat to your backyard. Imagine walking out of your back door into a personal haven. If you’re craving a tropical getaway you might get more value out of investing in a pool or a hot tub than you would from buying airplane tickets. There are plenty of pool ideas you can use to create something that feels like you’re floating in the pool of a five-star villa.

Consider getting a pergola with white linen over top to create a personal backyard cabana. You could add a seating area for guests to relax and a garden to walk through to bring nature into your space. With a little creativity, your getaway could be seconds away.

Family Game Night

It can be easy for family members to get distracted by all the different things calling our attention like work, school, social media and the hundreds of other things we think about daily. How often do we get to sit down with the ones we love and spend time with them without looking at a screen? Consider using your vacation time to spend some family time at home. Pull out the playing cards and the board games and foster a bit of healthy competition. Once you all get laughing, it might feel like you’re all on a family vacation somewhere instead of sitting around your own kitchen table.

The Bottom Line

There are plenty of ways to make the best out of your “staycation” that don’t involve any more boring binge-watching. Get creative! And if all else fails, whip up an umbrella drink, set up a kiddie pool in your backyard and float your worries away. If you close your eyes long enough, you might even be able to convince yourself you’re surrounded by palm trees in a Balinese villa.

Be sure to check out the Rocket Homes blog for more Homeowner Tips.

Jeannette Baum

Jeannette is a Marketing Communications Manager for Rocket Mortgage, and she heads up a team of publishers for the Publishing House. She is well-versed in home decor, marketing, and recruiting, interviewing, and hiring for Fortune 500 companies. Jeannette holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and loves writing informational blogs.