How to enjoy a perfect staycation

I am not going to pretend that I would rather stay at home and vacation than hop on a plane to some exotic spa retreat in Bali for a week or three, but sometimes little things like time and money get in the way. That said, there is no reason you can't have an ultra-enjoyable and luxurious vacation in the comfort of your own hometown.

Most people have heard of a "staycation" by now, but until you have actually tried it, you may not know how to do it just right. So pack up your imaginary suitcase, grab your planner, and follow these simple, yet important guidelines for enjoying a perfect vacation at home.

Plan ahead

If you want to get the very most out of your staycation, you need to treat it as you would any other vacation by planning ahead. Set the exact dates and amount of time you will be on your vacation, and plan your activity agenda in advance of your "trip." It is very easy to say that you are going to devote time to doing fun things only to fall right back into the mundane tasks of everyday life. Especially when you are at home and bills and laundry are staring you down, begging to be taken care of. Although you may have all the great intentions in the world of following through with your fantastic plans, life has a funny way of creeping up on us and making us feel guilty for enjoying our time off. Don't let it! Assure you don't cheat your staycation by putting a firm agenda in place and committing to it.

Log off

If you truly want to escape from the grind, commit to turning it all off…no casual checking of emails, no blackberry, no computer, no cell phone. Make it known at work that you will be unreachable. A true staycationer treats this time as if they were in a remote village in Thailand with no access to Internet and no cell phone coverage. If you don't have the option of unplugging completely, set rules for yourself, like only checking email once in the morning, and leaving your phone in the car while you're out doing fun stuff.

What to do while staycationing

Visit local museums, parks, and festivals. Make reservations at a nice restaurant that you've always wanted to try and order the most expensive thing on the menu. (Come on, you can do it, just think about all the money you just saved on a plane ticket!) Spend a day at the local spa using all of their wonderful facilities. Be a tourist in your own town by visiting historical sites. I can't tell you how many times I have heard visitors rave about the cool attractions in my neck of the woods that I haven't even explored!

Create the perfect hotel room at home

If you aren't staying in a nearby hotel (some choose to do so to get more of the "vacation feel"), try turning your bedroom into the perfect hotel retreat. Buy fresh flowers and candles for the room and dress your bed in some freshly crisp sheets. You could even try sleeping in a different room of the house to make you feel like you are someplace else. I did this recently by moving my mattress into the living room (admittedly because my bedroom was being held hostage by ants), but it seriously felt like I was camping out in a fun new place! Try putting your sleeping bag outside, grabbing some champagne, and sleeping under the stars.

Set the intention that you are going to stick to your staycation guidelines and you may actually be surprised at how much fun you have spending some quality time at home.

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