Tips + Trends

Plan a Staycation That’s Actually Worth the Vacation Days

You don’t need to travel far to make memories with your family or friends. (Photo: iStock)

Sometimes, you just want to take a break from it all—without the schlep. Therein lies the beauty of staycations: you don’t have to shell out hundreds for flights, hotels, and all the other expenses that’ll accrue during a getaway.

But just because you’re not leaving town doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat your staycation like a special event. Now’s the chance to take those vacation days, disconnect your devices, and get a change of scenery. Whether you’ve got cash to splash or wanna keep things cheap and cheerful, we guarantee you’ve never experienced your hometown like this before.

On a Budget

Your Stay

With a bit of imagination, staying around town can feel like a vacation. Try this: Arrange an apartment swap with a friend, or volunteer to house sit. See what life in a high rise is like. Stay near your favorite restaurants, bars, and shops. Or experience a whole new neighborhood. Looking at your city from a different angle can remind you what you loved about it in the first place.

Your Meals:

Staycations are all about the picnics—and we’ve got some advice on how to nail yours. Hit up your city’s markets and food trucks and scoop up some affordable street food. Alternatively, embark on that culinary project you’ve been meaning to find the time for. Who wants soup dumplings?

Your Activities:

This is the perfect time to explore your city like a tourist. Hit up those landmarks that you still somehow haven’t visited. Bring along a camera and test your urban photography skills. Let a guide book point you towards exciting neighborhoods and relaxing parks and gardens. Throw in a ride courtesy of your local bike-share and there’s no limit to your explorations.

staycation
Get the kids on board with your staycation plans. (Photo: iStock)

Mid-Range

Your Stay:

More affordable and characterful than many hotels, it’s Airbnb to the rescue for staycationers after moderate price tags. Here are some awesome rentals to get your imagination fired up.

You can also plan on downsizing for your next vacay. In a tiny house, that is. Cozy, beautifully designed, and absent of clutter, these mini-abodes were made for weekend breaks. Book one on the outskirts of town for a bit of peace and quiet.

Your Meals:

Just because you’re not traveling geographically doesn’t mean you can’t travel culinarily. Pick a cuisine you’ve never sampled and book a globetrotting night out. Turns out you don’t have to go to Portugal for killer bacalao, and laksa can be as zingily spicy here as it is in Malaysia.

Your Activities:

Taking a class—during your vacation? Nah, we’re not talking pop quizzes. Instead, you could be using your time in your hometown learning how to brew beer, make cheese—even blow glass.

And while we’re at it, make this the staycation you push your adventurous side with new activities. Urban rock climbing? Laser tag? Live-band karaoke? Add adrenaline to the mix for a memorable adventure.

staycation splurge
Staying home doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to a splurge. (Photo: iStock)

Splurge

Your Stay:

You look like you could use a massage. Preferably at a luxurious spa retreat, with 500-thread-count sheets, nearby nature walks, Jacuzzis, and a whole menu of other pampering treatments on tap. Otherwise, an extravagant evening in your city’s grandest hotel? Just because you’re not going out of town doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat yo’self.

Your Meals:

Turns out you *don’t* need to wait for a birthday or anniversary to bring out the gastronomic big guns. Splurge-y staycations call for decadent meals, so consider this your cue to book that Michelin-starred or James Beard Award-winning spot you’ve been eyeing up. While you’re at it, go for the prix fixe and, for non-drivers, the wine pairing menu. It is vacation, after all.

Your Activities:

Hey, budding culture vultures: Your vacation is when you should broaden those artsy horizons. If you’ve only been to the ballet to see The Nutcracker, can’t remember the last time you saw a play, and definitely have never been to the opera—well, why not now? Alternatively, try fighting tooth-and-nail for Hamilton tickets.

This article was published through a partnership with Zipcar’s online magazine Ziptopia.