I love staycationing.
The concept started out in the US as a term for people who couldn’t afford to go on a big, multiple-week trip or just couldn’t make the time for it, and it was mainly about figuring out ways to stay at home and still get a vacation-like experience — on a budget.
More recently it also appeared in the UK where, even though people go on holidays instead of vacations, the word also took off, not necessarily as a stay-at-home concept but an expression meaning ‘travelling but still staying in the country’. Someone leaving England for Wales (or Sussex for Devon) could still call their trip a staycation because they didn’t need a passport or different money.
Honestly, I can’t count these as staycations. If you’ve slept in another bed, woke up in another town, had to sit in a car / on a train / bus for hours to get there, you’re on your holidays, mate!
For me, a staycation is more about the mindset. What I mean by staycationing is creating the experience of a holiday and the carefree feeling of summer while staying where you are.
Because sometimes you just don’t have the time (or money) to travel a county or state away, and that’s okay. You can still enjoy your summer and have fun. I’ll show you how!
25 staycation tips for no-travel holidays on your own
- Do your own art camp! Block out an afternoon, a whole day or even an entire weekend and work on your creative projects. Finish that short story, granny square blanket or scrapbook album, or just paint with your fingers.
- Hold a mini spa-day. Whip up some smoothies, use up your face masks and scented candles. Maybe do a bit of yoga before – I love Yoga with Adriene on YouTube! If you have a nearby swimming pool that has a sauna, you can have a spa experience for the price of a day ticket. :)
- Build a blanket fort (I don’t care if you’re over 10). Move in with a tub of ice cream and a good book. If you have a garden, camp outside. Even if it’s ten metres away from where you usually sleep.
- Go into a newsagents, pick up one a crossword/puzzle magazine, sit in a park, set your phone to silent and solve away!
- Find a book that is set in the town you live in, and visit its locations.
- If you have a spare room, make it available just for a few weeks for Couchsurfing or Airbnbing, and meet people from different cultures without leaving the house! :)
- Order a magazine from a country you’d love to go to. Double points if you’re also learning that language!
- Go to the nearest zoo or farm with a sketchbook, pick an animal, and draw it. (No experience necessary. You’re not being graded. :))
- Revisit the books you were really into during childhood summers. Swallows & Amazons? Anne of Green Gables? Sweet Valley High? Waves of nostalgia guaranteed.
- Go to the cinema alone. Pick the popcorniest popcorn movie (Baywatch?). Count plot holes, inconsistencies, and actors who clearly phoned it in.
- Four words: soft serve ice cream.
- Pick a museum you’ve never been to, and join the tour, or get the audio guide. Bonus points for really obscure small local museums. (I’ve recently stumbled upon the Donkey Wheel in nearby Stanmer village, a one-room “museum” with a huge old donkey wheel, photos of the donkey, and a scarily deep well. Best find this year.)
- Start (or continue) a diary, without theme or topic or editing. Every day put the most random stuff in there — glue in a bus or cinema ticket, the type of tea you were drinking, and so on. Call it Chronicles of My Staycation. It will be lovely to look at in 10 years. (Looking at similar diaries from decades ago, either of my ancestors’ or my own, is a fascinating exercise in time travel. No TARDIS needed!)
- Eat your breakfast outdoors. If you don’t have a balcony or a garden of your own, pack up sandwiches and coffee in a thermos, and sit in a park. Al fresco is al besto. (I’ll let myself out.)
- Join a fruit picking event, which is not only great exercise but helps you stock up on your favourite fruit. You can then choose to eat until you pop, make jam, or gift to loved ones.
- Create your own special herbs & spices blend and use it with all the things you eat this summer. Sprinkle it on your fried eggs, or mix it in soft butter to brush your grilled corn! My current favourite is smoked paprika with dukka. Yum!
- Get a book you know you won’t be able to put down once you start and read through the night. (Maybe with flashlights under the cover.)
- Get a bubble blower, and relive the magic of the sun shining through the cavalcade of bubbles, trying to blow a really big bubble, or releasing a swarm of bubbles and then trying to catch some. Pets might enjoy as well. If you run out of bubble fluid, you can make your own from washing up liquid.
- Every day, take a photo that best sums up your day. If you want to go old-school, shoot on film or make it an Instax project.
- Go to the train station in the morning and pick a random destination that’s somewhat away but not too far (maybe max. 60 minutes?). You can also set a maximum budget for this. You don’t have to sleep there, just visit, look around explore, and come back. Make sure to pack a sandwich & a bottle of water in your bag!
- Make fermented dill pickles in the sun. Trust me on this one.
- Find your old VHS tapes (or Betamax if your family was really ahead of the curve) and look at what TV shows you recorded 20 years ago. If your old player isn’t working anymore, you can find speciality shops now that digitise old tapes.
- Find a walking trail and spend a few hours or even a full day with just nature, you and your thoughts. If it worked for Cheryl Strayed, it can work for you! And if your thoughts stop bothering you after a couple of hours, congratulations, you’ve had a successful meditative experience.
- Find a body of water — it can be a stream, a pond, a river, a lake, or even the ocean if you live there — and watch the sun go down.
- Finally, for a truly personalised experience, remember what you most loved doing in the summer when you were 7, 12 or 15 years old. What places, activities, experiences come to mind? What did you eat? What did you spend your spare time with when you were alone for a day? Start there and you’ll be surprised what might still make your heart sing. :)
The staycation mindset can help you even if you have holidays planned
I’m a firm believer in downtimes and I don’t think you should only have fun & be carefree for one or two weeks a year. Try to squeeze in a little fun between travels, enjoy the city you live in, create adventures locally, be curious, keep your eyes open for fun events, soak up the sun, and extend your holidays beyond travelling!
Now it’s your turn!
Daydreaming is nice, but taking action is a hundred times better. So here’s my challenge to you: pick one staycation tip from the list above, and try it out this week. Don’t overwhelm yourself, just pick the one that seems the most fun to you right now.
Then let me know in the comments how it went.
Change only happens if you take action.
So download my free Summer Top 10 printable and start turning your staycation dreams into reality right now.
Coming soon: staycationing for couples, with children, and/or with friends.
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