Anyone else have the worst case of wanderlust from not being able to travel right now? Well, SAME. But the good news is: you don’t have to go far to have an amazing vacation! Staycations are kind of the name of the game right now, so if you’re not ready to hop on a plane just yet—or you just want to save some money—a staycation can be an incredible way to get “away” for the weekend and recharge.
Ready to plan your own weekend away? These tips will help you plan the perfect staycation!
Put it on your calendar.
The anticipation of any trip is half the fun, so the first step to a staycation that feels really exciting is just getting it on your calendar! Rather than just waiting a free weekend to come up and trying to do something, mark out some time for a staycation in your calendar. Then get planning so you have something to look forward to!
Add it to your calendar, invite your friends and start planning for it like a regular vacay. Whether you have just a day or a whole week, make it a plan! Where are you gonna stay? What are you going to do? (Pro tip: you can find loads of hidden gems in your area by using Google Maps to scroll around and see what’s nearby. You can also try crowdsourcing ideas on Instagram or local Facebook groups.)
Sleep somewhere new.
Even if you can’t go far, sleeping somewhere else for a night or two gives you a chance to get out of the house. If you’ve had a boutique hotel in town that you’ve always thought was cute or been eyeing a fancy hotel for years that you’ve never had a reason to stay at, now’s the time! Many hotels are running deals so you could snag a stay at a fancier hotel for much cheaper than usual.
Don’t want to stay at a hotel? Renting an Airbnb for the weekend gives you a chance to stay in cabins, beach cottages, fancy apartments downtown, treehouses, yurts, and more. Or you could always go camping (if the weather’s warm enough) or house-sit for a friend going out of town. Whatever you choose, the moral of the story is: find someplace new to spend a few nights and your staycation will start to feel like a real vacay.
Set a budget—or treat yourself to a splurge.
Every vacation needs a budget, and a staycation is no different. If you’re ready to treat yourself, a staycation can be a great time to splurge on a night out at a fancy restaurant or an activity you wouldn’t normally do. However, if you need a staycation on a budget, you should still have plenty of options! Find and explore some of the free things to do in your city. Challenge yourself to stay under a certain budget and see how much you can still find to do.
Most cities have free walking tours, parks & gardens, free museums (or discounted student admission), rooftop bars with amazing views, food trucks or other cheap street eats, and more that won’t cost much but can make for a memorable weekend.
Be a tourist in your own city.
Whether you’re heading to a nearby town or city for the weekend and are staying put right where you are, there’s a lot of ways to be a tourist in your own city! Some of our favorite ways to explore our own backyards:
- Find some nearby walking or hiking trails and go for a hike. If you have a car, you could also explore a nearby park, National Forest or mountains. AllTrails is a great crowdsourced website to find new trails.
- Try a new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try for a while. Fancy coffee? Outdoor dining with a view? Revolving sushi bar? Why not make a reservation and finally experience it!
- Go window shopping downtown—you know that one area of town with all the cute little stores you never go into? Yeah, now’s your chance!
- Make time for something you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Go kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding on the river. Head downtown for an outdoor concert. Take a ghost tour of the city. Most of us can agree that we don’t usually take much time to explore the cool things to do in our own cities—a staycation is the perfect time to do so!
- Head to a new section of town that you don’t get to often and explore it as if you’re visiting for the first time! See what you can discover just walking around—every town has some hidden gems to uncover.
- Take a walking tour of your city. Whether it’s a free walking tour with a guide or just a walking tour map that you downloaded from a tourist website—who says you can’t do the touristy things just because you live somewhere? Not us, that’s for sure.
- Book a tour or experience. Even if you’re sticking close to home, a new experience can make you feel like you got away for the weekend! Take a cooking class to learn how to create a dish from a different part of the world, go on a sailing excursion or take a dance class. There’s lots of ways to experience a new culture without going far from home!
Take a road trip.
No car? No problem. Whether you need to rent a car or have a friend with wheels, a short road trip is the perfect way to get away for the weekend and get a change of scenery. Road trip to a nearby National Park where you can unplug for the weekend. Too cold for outdoor adventures? Find a cute small town near where you live and spend the day (or weekend) exploring. Head to a nearby beach town or make the trek to a big city for a glamorous weekend. Need some ideas? Check out our favorite road trips in North America or the best destinations in the US for weekend getaways.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy a staycation is simply to block off some time in your schedule to pamper yourself. Spend a day at the spa? You got it. Book yourself a nice massage? Consider it done. Walk along the beach at sunset? Yes, please. Book a night in a fancy hotel? Treat. Yourself. One of the best parts of traveling is feeling unplugged and giving yourself a chance to relax and unwind. Make sure to plan some down time to unwind and pamper yourself so you can come back relaxed and refreshed.
Need to rent a car to make your staycation happen? We’ve got student car rentals so you can get away even if you’re not going far!