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3 Ways to Make Your Staycation Awesome

Vacation days are limited. Family schedules conflict. Budgets get tight. Plans change. And any or all of those circumstances can lead to a summer staycation.

The typical recommendations for staycations involve being a tourist in your own town, visiting museums, zoos and other local attractions. While these are certainly great things to do, they don’t necessarily match the excitement of vacationing in a new destination. With these tips you can take your staycation up a notch and make it every bit as fun as traveling to faraway places:

- Treat it like a real vacation. When you’re staying at home, staycations can easily feel like any other week. In order to make it as relaxing and fun as it should be, you need to commit to treating it like a real vacation. This means taking off full days of work (if you can), setting an automatic “out of office” email reply, and ignoring that leaky gutter that you’ve been meaning to get around to. Unless your goal for taking time off is to deal with home projects, you need to ignore the temptation to do errands or chores.

- Make a plan. Half of the fun of vacationing is the planning that you get to do in the months and weeks leading up to your trip. You should plan for your staycation in a similar way. Where do you want to go? How do you want to divide your budget? Are you going to eat out for every meal or do you need to prepare food ahead of time? Answering these questions will ensure that your staycation is relaxing and enjoyable.

- Think of the details. What are some of your favorite parts of traveling? Think about hiring a maid for a day (or the whole week) to recreate the hotel experience. Leave mints on your family’s pillows. If you’re crafty, try to learn how to fold towels into animal shapes. Instead of room service, have a delivery service bring your favorite restaurant meal right to your door.

- Think outside of the box. You don’t have to visit that same museum you’ve been to a dozen times. Here are some ideas for activities that might be a bit more outside of the norm:

  • Theme days. Pick a dream vacation destination and try to recreate it at home. If you’ve always wanted to visit Rome, watch Roman Holiday, order pasta carbonara from your favorite Italian restaurant and watch virtual tour videos on YouTube.
  • Go on a mini cruise. It’s okay if you can’t sail to the Bahamas. Check to see if there are river or harbor cruises nearby. Most have dinners, themes and spectacular views. They’re a great way to get the cruise experience on a smaller budget.
  • Convert your home into something exciting. Make a water park in your backyard by getting an inflatable pool, a slide and some fun water toys and squirt guns. Or create a movie theater in your living room by renting a projector. When you get creative, your house can be as fun to explore as a new city.