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How to Plan a Fabulous Staycation

It’s that time of year again. You know, where your Facebook feed floods with images of your friends and family enjoying umbrella’d drinks in coconuts, hitting the slopes in the Rockies, or hiking in some stunning rainforest. Meanwhile, you’re sitting at your desk basking in the glow of fluorescent lights, totally not jealous at all.

If a winter vacation isn’t in the cards this year, why not plan a fabulous staycation? If you think that sounds kind of lame, I’ll give you four reasons why it’s not.

Why I love a staycation.

It’s less expensive.

Between airfare, hotels, taxis, meals, drinks, excursions, plus souvenirs that you totally do not need, you’ll save thousands by staying close to home… which means you could go out to a fancy dinner, get a massage, maybe even stay in a nice hotel in your town and spend a fraction of what an actual vacation might cost.

Less travel time.

staycation - samantha brown

I know this better than anyone: no matter how much you do it or how experienced and prepared you are, the actual act of getting somewhere stinks. So many people are crabby at the airport, the food is often over-priced and underwhelming, and airplanes aren’t exactly the Ritz Carlton. After a day on a plane, you feel zapped. When you go out of town, you spend the first and last day of your trip travelling. Staycations? Nope. Your “trip” is bookended with relaxation, not crammed in coach next to some guy with a cough.

You’ll feel rested.

How many times have you said, “I need a vacation after my vacation!” Not with a staycation. You don’t feel pressured to run yourself ragged, seeing and doing everything a new place has to offer. You might even feel ready to go back to work! Or not.

Managed expectations.

We’ve all heard tales of Caribbean vacations totally ruined by tropical storms, accommodations that look nothing like they appeared online, or unexpected timeshare pitches. In those cases, you don’t get your money back. When you stay near home, bad weather can’t ruin your time. You already have a good idea of what the accommodations might be like (especially if you’re staying at home!), and if you’re looking for a timeshare pitch, well… you’d really have to find one on purpose. It’s very difficult to ruin a staycation.

Where to Stay


Staycation - Samantha Brown

My least favorite (but the most cost-effective) way to staycation is to sleep at home. But that sounds a little boring, right? Not to mention it’s hard to get into that vacation vibe when there’s dishes to be done, laundry to do and home improvement projects eying you down. Here’s a few ways to turn your home into a relaxing oasis.

Spend a few hours the day before your official staycation cleaning up. Do all the laundry. Clean out the fridge. Put fresh sheets on the bed and lay out clean towels in the bathroom. Buy some fresh flowers (maybe even put some in your bedroom!), and invest in a nice candle or two. If you’re a coffee fan, buy fancier coffee than your normally would (same if you’re a tea drinker!). Maybe buy some delicious pastries for breakfast the next morning.

Do you have a large water dispenser? Fill it with ice, water and fresh fruit (I love strawberries or pineapple), herbs (like mint or basil!), or cucumber. Get creative with your combinations. I love when hotels offer this in their lobby. There’s no reason you can’t treat yourself to the same!


Don’t pretend like you haven’t fantasized about living in a different neighborhood. If you live in the ‘burbs, check out an AirBnB in the trendiest part of the city. If you live downtown, why not look for a place in a small town a short drive away? Find out what it’s like to live in a different part of town for a few days. Walk to the same coffee shop every day. Grab a drink at the local watering hole. Maybe take a yoga or exercise class. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up finding your next ‘hood. If you’ve never done a vacation rental like AirBnB, here’s my go-to guide for ensuring it’s a success.



How often do you get to stay in a hotel in your hometown? Hardly ever. Because you have the flexibility to go whenever (and maybe even during the week), you can plan your stay around cheaper nightly rates. And there is something about staying in a hotel that does automatically put you in the vacation frame of mind—whether you’re 2,000 or 2 miles from home.

Nearby Resort

Depending on where you live, winter is low season for many resorts. Why not check out a few places online and see if they’re offering cheapie rates? Lots of lodges or cabins offer great winter outdoor activities, like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling, not to mention roaring fireplaces, board games and hot toddies.


What to Do on a Staycation

Be a Tourist.


Raise your hand if you’ve never been to the most beloved museums, historical sites, parks or attractions in your own town. Exactly. I know plenty of New Yorkers who’ve never been to the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty or the Met. I know! Make a list of all those local gems out-of-towners can’t wait to see when they visit your town and start checking them off your list.

Have a Spa Day.

Nothing puts you in the blissed out frame of mind like a day at the spa. Find a place that offers and awesome package, like a massage and facial, with access to a steam room, sauna or hot tub. Maybe they’ll offer lunch, too! Check to see if they offer any mid-week deals—you never know. If you really want to staycation it up, arrange for transportation to and from the spa. Driving after a day of pampering is a total buzzkill.

Make a List of I’ve Nevers.

Samantha Brown - How to have a Staycation

Maybe you’ve never been to that legendary breakfast place in town. What about indoor rock climbing? Or seeing a live improv show? Or tried yoga? Make a list of stuff you’ve never done, and spend your staycation checking things off your list. You might find your new favorite hobby.

Movie Marathon.

This one is fairly straightforward. Spend a day or two watching all the Star Wars movies, or start watching that series you’ve been meaning to check out. Breaking Bad, The Sporanos, or Netflix’s Making a Murderer. Dive in and watch them all, back-to-back-to-back!

DIY Wellness Retreat.

We all know that taking care of ourselves is important, but so many of us are time-poor. Why not use your staycation to kick-start a wellness journey? Pamper yourself (maybe do that aforementioned spa day), stock your fridge with clean eats, exercise, soak in an Epsom salt bath, rest and relax.

De-Clutter Your House.

This one isn’t sexy, but has many long-term benefits! Dedicate a few days to cleaning out your closet, organizing your basement and going through your books, linen closet or wherever else you’re experiencing a stuff explosion. Need some help? Check out the KonMari Method. Here’s a super helpful post on how to do it.


Do you have kids? Take them to a pool. Easy-peasy.

Are you into staycations? What are your favorite tips & tricks for making the mots of them? Share in the comments.

If a winter vacation isn’t in the cards this year, why not plan a fabulous staycation? If you think that sounds kind of lame, I’ll give you four reasons why it’s not.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. I enjoyed reading this article,and I have done a staycation a few times myself. I agree, it can be a truly relaxing and fun experience.

  2. Once in late December, I looked online for places where I could get away for a weekend on a quick nonstop flight. After doing my research, I concluded that all I needed was to take a nap on the couch, and then watch a bunch of videos.

  3. I save up all my trial size freebies I get of makeup samples, hair treatments, foot lotions, perfumes,etc then I take them on our staycation for a mini spa treatment with my daughter! We try new makeup and hairstyles out too. Fun to reinvent yourself once in awhile.

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How to Have a Fabulous Staycation
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