Staycations are the next best thing to traveling the world this summer. Sometimes (okay, always), we want to drop everything and escape the ordinary. To jet set across the globe. Meet someone cute in a faraway city. Change the status quo. Live a little, or a lot.
If you’re not ready to travel far or can’t or don’t want to deal with the stress of trying to fly anywhere, meet staycations. They’re a great way to feel like you’re on a vacation without leaving home or going too far from it. Plus, staycations are just as much about self-care as a vacation broad.
Here are five staycation ideas to try out this summer without the frustration of lost baggage or canceled flights.
The Spa Staycation
Who doesn’t love a spa day? You won’t have to travel to some exotic location to enjoy a fresh mani-pedi or to catch some rays on your staycation, though. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars for a day at a professional spa (although, a deep tissue massage is totally worth it), DIY it in your backyard (or porch, or bedroom).
Treat yourself to a DIY facial at home. You can easily pick up pre-made masks, scrubs, and face rollers from a local store. Set the mood by dimming lights, playing relaxing music, burning incense, or turning on an oil diffuser. Take your time and enjoy the moment.
Another fan favorite for spa days is getting manicures and pedicures. While you’re picking up ingredients for a DIY facial, find some new colors for your nails. Maybe challenge yourself to learn some nail art too!
Spas usually greet you with a refreshing cucumber water surprise. Treat yourself with your own fruity drinks to sip on while lounging outside, waiting for the first coat to dry.
It’s not summer without a summer playlist. Find songs that’ll fit with the spa staycation vibe you’re looking for. If you don’t want to make your own playlist, Spotify has plenty to choose from. Just type in your mood, search, and play.
Paris In Your Living Room
Your staycation doesn’t have to be Paris. Pick a country you’d love to visit: Italy, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Panama, or close your eyes and point to a place on a map. Then turn your living room into a mini version of that place.
Choose the theme of your staycation
The research and planning may be the most fun. Find pictures of the country you’d like to visit and use them as inspo’ for decorating. Pick up decorations from local markets to make it feel like you’re in that country.
Plan your menu
Decorating your place to feel like you’re in Rome is one thing. Eating margherita pizza with the perfect amount of sauce and mozzarella paired with a delicious glass of vino is a whole other thing.
Find food you can learn to cook or where you can order it. The more authentic, the better.
You can’t travel without the right outfits. You don’t have to spend a ton of money either. Go to a second-hand store or mix and match some of your current clothes to give yourself that I’m-going-on-a-vacation attitude.
Even if you can’t or choose not to travel abroad, bring the country to you in your own unique style.
Escape into nature for your staycation
Our third idea for a staycation you have to try this summer is to escape into nature. Not only does nature provide so many mental health benefits, but it’s an easy way to feel like you’re somewhere else.
And if your house is the last place you want to be right now, drop everything and head into the woods.
Get more plants
Not everyone has the privilege of exploring the outdoors, so bring the outdoors to you. We’ve previously written about different plants you can adopt whether you’re a green thumb or have failed at plant parenting before.
Simply surrounding yourself with plants will bring a bit more optimism and cleaner air into your life.
Sun- or forestbathe
Sunbathing is a summer pastime that’ll never get old. Lounging outside and getting some Vitamin D makes for a simple yet relaxing staycation. Just protect your skin with sunscreen.
Or, give forest bathing a try. Leave your devices behind and take a walk in the woods. The point of forest bathing is to reconnect with nature, which we all desperately need. If you’re feeling a little too tethered to your phone or tablet or computer or tv, make forest bathing your first staycation activity to reset your mind.
While you’re out there, consider taking off your shoes and playing in the dirt with your feet. Stand on the ground barefoot and focus on the sensation. Bet you can’t remember the last time you had dirt between your toes.
Eat breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner outside
Too often we eat hunched over our computers or devouring food in front of the TV. For this staycation, eat a meal outside. Pack a picnic and take it with you while you walk through the woods.
Or, you can make your meal and sit on your front doorstep. Take the time to really taste your food with no other distractions. Food tastes better when you’re eating mindfully.
Camp in your backyard
Since it seems like you need to reserve a camp spot one year in advance, beat the system and camp out back instead. There are so many perks to backyard/porch camping, like a nearby bathroom and a short commute.
Sign up for an outdoor adventure with a guide
If you’re more of a thrill seeker, consider finding a local rock climbing, mountaineering, or canyoning guiding company. Take advantage of local tourist attractions in your city.
Which brings us to our fourth staycation idea: become a local tourist
Become a Local Tourist
We end up taking for granted all the amazing events and local offerings our own city has. Visit your city’s convention and visitor’s bureau website and see what events are coming up.
You can also check websites of your local community center, library, and government. You’ll find festivals, free events, and concerts. There’s bound to be something that catches your eye or piques your interest.
Do something new each day on your staycation
Visiting a new place, you want to try all the things and see all the sights. Treat your own city the same way.
Find museums, zoos, and galleries you’ve never visited before and add them to your Must See List. Research national parks that are within a two-hour drive from your house and make a plan to visit them.
Go to a new restaurant every day just like you would if you were in a new country and didn’t rely on a supermarket for your meals. You may just find your next favorite restaurant or activity.
Finally, if you’re really want to make it feel like you’re “not in Kansas anymore,” stay at a local hotel. It might be a little weird sleeping in a different bed a few miles from home, but a staycation is all about doing something new where you live.
You’ll end up appreciating your town a lot more after this experience.
If you’re a self-proclaimed “foodie,” then you’ll love our fifth staycation idea: base your entire staycation around food. Yum!
Have breakfast in bed, hotel-style
Go all out: get the tray like they use when they deliver your food at a hotel. Buy fancy coffee, croissants, and fruit. Indulge in foods you normally don’t eat. Have mimosas or Bloody Mary’s—and make them bottomless because you don’t have to worry about a hefty bill at the end. And if you get a little too boozy or full, lay back and relax. It’s your staycation!
Go on a picnic
Incorporate foods from places you want to visit. Want to visit Paris? Buy baguettes, croissants, macarons, eclairs, French cheese, French oysters, and chocolates. Say “yes” to all the carbs because they’re delicious!
Or find recipes from your favorite countries. Buy the ingredients ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about it on your staycation. If you don’t like to cook, find a local restaurant that offers the country’s food you want to enjoy.
Wine tasting or afternoon tea
Travel the world through wine. Visit your local liquor store and pick a few bottles from different countries. Then set up a table at home with candles, music, and fancy glassware to taste-test all the different wines.
If you’d rather pretend you’re in England or Ireland, buy tea for high tea. Set a nice table as if you were in a cafe in Europe with a cloth, scones or tea biscuits, and pour yourself a warm cup of tea. Do nothing else other than sip your tea and taste it. Enjoy it like you would if you were really in England or Ireland.
Wine and dine yourself or if you’re partnered up, wine and dine each other. Find a recipe from a country you’d like to visit and make it. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to be a chef. There are plenty of recipes you can make if you’re not Julia Child.
Set the mood
Dim the lightning, light some candles, play some soft music from the country you’d like to visit. Type the country into Spotify’s search and pick the first playlist that pops up.
Not a cook?
That’s totally okay. Not all of us like to cook. Find authentic cuisine and have it delivered. Staycations are all about rest, relaxation, and indulgence, and if cooking is not part of that, then there’s no shame in ordering out.
It’s your staycation. Do what you want. Enjoy it.