No time or funds for a trip to your favorite resort destination?
Start planning the perfect home-based vacation. There are many perks to forgoing plane trips and long drives. Especially for those of us who endure long commutes on workdays.
The key to having a great time at home is to plan ahead, just as you would if traveling to a distant location.
Need serenity? Let your family know you will be taking long bubble baths, walking in the park, reading on the porch. Do these activities when there is someone home to watch the kids.
Suffering from frequent separation from family? Plan game times and local activities you can all enjoy together.
But planning doesn’t mean sticking to a tight schedule. The beauty of free hours is the opportunity to set off on an impromptu adventure. Just be aware of what you want to focus upon, then go with the flow.
Still feeling a bit deprived by the fact you won’t be catered to by a hotel staff or see the sunrise over the ocean? Review the following lists of creative activities in which to indulge and the stress-reducing benefits of a well-planned stay-cation.
Fun and Fulfilling Activities to Enjoy Without Leaving Town
- Personalized Spa Sessions – Purchase special soaps, masks, hair products, nail polish, towels, music, a new robe or nightwear . . . create your own little paradise.
- Make an appointment for massage or related relaxation services – Time off is a perfect opportunity to care for our mind, body, and spirit.
- Go to a local pool alone or with family – Swimming is fun and relaxing. Can’t stay afloat? Wading or simply dangling your feet in the water can be therapeutic.
- Take a hike – Discover a local park or trail. Go alone if you need to get away and the site is secure, or take the family for a nature tour.
- Have a picnic – Prepare it yourself if you enjoy that task – if not, pick up takeout. Make it fun with a basket, colorful cloths and plates.
- Have a party – Enjoy entertaining but seldom have the time or energy? Take advantage of the opportunity to plan an event.
- Tour a local factory or historic site – So often, we overlook attractions in our own hometown. Visit the tourist section of the website of your own or a neighboring city or village for ideas.
- Visit the nearest amusement park – Your kids will thank you, and the trip will trigger your own memories of childhood.
- Read a story – Immersing yourself in a fiction tale is a great way to take a trip without leaving home. Escape to a romance, a remote site, or solve a mystery (within the pages of a real, printed book.- there’s something about the experience of holding a real book in your hands).
- Play a sport or a board game – With your kids or with friends.
- Contact people you haven’t seen in some time – Vacation days offer the chance to catch up with phone calls and correspondence.
- Redecorate your house– If you’ve been longing to paint the bedroom blue, rearrange the furniture, or create a home office – go for it.
- Watch a movie -alone or with family
- Hire Help– If you have the funds, bringing in a housekeeper, part-time cook, or sending the laundry out frees up time and energy for more fun or relaxing activities.
- Focus on appreciating your home and town – We take so much for granted these days. Simply sitting and observing our surroundings can relieve stress, give us a needed sense of balance. You’ll notice details you overlook on busy days – shades of furnishings appear more vivid, patterns more intricate.
Why Staying at Home is Less Stressful
- You will feel more relaxed and financially secure due to the money saved on travel costs.
- You can sleep late if you like.
- More time will be available to spend with family, friends, or alone.
- You will have greater patience with your children when you are rested and in a familiar environment. Kids often become distressed on long trips. They will likely have more fun staying at home.
- Plans can be more easily adapted to the situation – as opposed to being concrete due to travel times and bookings.
Rules are Important – But Made to Be Bent
Decide ahead of time how often you will check e-mail or interact with your computer or phone. If you are constantly on a computer at work, use this opportunity to take a break.
Smell the flowers, see the sky, pay close attention during conversations with family.
Make a tentative daily schedule. Decide on a potential itinerary. Discuss who will do laundry, cleaning, other chores, and when they will fit the tasks in.
Set a budget – determine how much you can spend for meals out, entertainment, special vacation related purchases.
That being said, if an idea or opportunity pops up unexpectedly and all are in agreement, go for it!
The Essential Role of Vacation Time for Top Professional Performance
The American Travel Association reports that Americans, unlike many of their European peers, leave many days of vacation on the table at the end of each year.
This state seems to be a result of our current hustle culture. We strive for over the top ambition. We make ourselves available 24/7. In other words, we’ve become slaves to technology and our professions.
That doesn’t bode well for mental health and thus work performance. We all need time to rest, kick back, relax, rejuvenate. Taking a reasonable amount of time off doesn’t mean we are lazy or uncommitted.
In fact the opposite appears to be true. In the study, Project: Time Off, performed in 2016, referenced in this Harvard Business Review article, the results show that the employees who took more vacation days received more raises and promotions, not less, as some might expect.
Workers returning from time off benefit from a fresh outlook, clearer thinking, more energy. That’s a recipe for greater productivity, efficient innovative performance.
So, if you’re passing up vacation because of a lack of time or funds for travel, plan a fun and relaxing stay-cation.
It could turn out to be the best time off you’ve ever spent, and might even offer the key to success in your profession.