Vacation In Your Own City: Staycation Dos & Don’ts

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When we’re looking to save on time and money, we become really tempted to skimp on our vacations. Thing is, it’s mentally important to take some time off, and you deserve to use your vacation days from work.

So, fine. Take that vacation locally (we call it a staycation) but make sure that it’s really a vacation rather than a random day on the couch. LearnVest brings you an awesome staycation itinerary, plus the top dos and don’ts to help you make the most of it:

Day One: Decompressing On The Home Front.

Make today all about enjoying your outdoor space.

  1. Have coffee on the patio.
  2. Get a “beach book” and relax.
  3. Grill something for lunch. If that’s not your thing, then scramble some eggs or make a simple cooked meal.
  4. Have friends come over in the late afternoon for a movie night.
  5. Order in food or have each friend bring an ingredient for a quick meal to make together.

Day Two: Escape Town.

  1. Pick up a rental car and get out of town. (See below for details on our favorite short-term rental services.)
  2. Take a day trip somewhere nearby. This could even mean visiting somewhere on the random outskirts of town to provide a change of scenery.
  3. Return rental car.

Day Three: Be A Tourist.

  1. Do something you never get around to unless you have visitors in town. Whether it’s a Broadway musical, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge or going to the top of Sears Tower (we still call it that, even though it’s been renamed), make it happen.
  2. You’ve saved hundreds of dollars over the cost of plane tickets and hotel rooms, so use a little bit of those savings to treat yourself to dinner at a new restaurant.
  3. Here’s a dare: Go to a bar and tell people you’re from out of town. There’s nothing like fun conversations with the zero commitment that comes with traveling.

Here are the LearnVest dos and don’ts to help you make the most of your staycation:

DO Make Plans.

It doesn’t matter if you take a three-day weekend or an entire week off; this is a vacation, after all, so don’t fritter away your time with everyday tasks.

DO Turn Off Your Phone.

This is a vacation, so you don’t want the world to think you’ll reply to every ping. If you can’t go multiple days, decide to only check messages and return calls at night. Just make sure that your friends and family know what you’re doing in case of an emergency.

DO Some Low-Key Staycation Activities…

…from hanging out in your backyard to renting the newest movie release. The beauty of a staycation is that you don’t have to be constantly on the go. They also enable you to do leisure activities with friends who live nearby. Coordinate schedules, make sure your pals know about your no-phone rule, and harken back to a bygone era when everyone had to plan ahead and be on time.

DO Explore New Turf.

If you live in the city, try to get out to the beach or the country. If you live in the country, add a dash of urban landscape. Anything that gets you out of your routine and enables you to see new sights will leave you feeling refreshed in the end…even if you didn’t have to go very far. In order to do this…

DO Consider A Car-Sharing Service…

…like Zipcar or Connect By Hertz. With the Hertz program, Smart Cars are only $4 per hour (plus an annual membership fee of $50 and a $25 application fee). Rates are slightly higher (about $10 an hour) for non-Smart Cars. Similarly, drivers who opt for Zipcar’s Occasional Driving plan pay a $50 annual fee plus a $25 application fee, and then $8 an hour thereafter. So, if you’re okay with the small car, the Smart Car from Hertz is your best bet. But, if you have a lot of friends and/or stuff, Zipcar is the better option.

DO Take Advantage Of Discount Websites…

…like Travelzoo and Goldstar for deals on local events. Examples of Travelzoo deals include tickets to A Chorus Line in L.A. for $21 and The Music Man in Seattle for $14. Goldstar can get you in to San Francisco’s Beach Blanket Babylon for $15 (plus $5.50 in fees) or The Odd Couple in Chicago for $12.50.

DON’T Rent A Hotel Room.

Some staycation gurus suggest staying elsewhere for an out-of-town feel, but we think that’s just a waste of money.

DON’T Sit Around And Clean Your Apartment.

Remember: You’re on vacation!

DON’T Sleep In Late.

You want to get the most of your day!

DON’T Wait Until The Last Minute To Figure Out What You Want To Do.

Research ahead of time to land tickets to the best events and arrange plans with friends!

LV Daily: 18 Places To Go For A Long Weekend Getaway (Slide Show)

LearnVest Living: 10 Tips To Be The Perfect House Guest

LV Daily: 7 Local Summer Adventures

LV Daily: Five Tips For Making The Best Last-Minute Reservations

LV Checklist: I Want To Budget For A Vacation

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