22 March 2022
There are certainly reasons for a go-away vacation, but there are also very valid arguments for a staycation. Some thoughts that pop up are “use ’em or lose ’em” vacation days, money is tight (or is being allocated for a major purchase), with Covid still in the picture some hesitation about groups, no packing, etc. Whatever your motive, here are some guidelines that might make it as enjoyable as possible.
Set Ground Rules
Decide in advance some of the basics. Will you be eating out all of the time or cooking? There are still chores like making beds and laundry. Decide at least generally how you will be spending your time with room for flexibility or alternates.
Set a Budget
Set some spending guidelines. Include food, activities, or other items. Preview restaurant menus to see the price range. Some parks or museums charge entry fees. Even if they are low, the amounts can accumulate for a family or multiple outings.
Clean your place in advance so you won’t need to face a dirty home every day. Do as much laundry as possible before your time off. If you plan on eating in, cook in advance and stock it in your freezer. Be sure to mark each item with its name, date frozen, and approximate time to thaw/cook. Put those items in disposable containers so you will have less clean up. You can get a pack of 50 oblong containers with cardboard lids (like takeout) for under $20. Stock up on paper plates and plasticware.
Check to see if you will need reservations for that restaurant you have on the list. Even if you have been a lifelong resident of the area, see if there is a bus tour of the city. Do something you would not normally do. Make it a point to leave the house several times during the week or two you are off. Put away or restrict usage of electronic devices.
Indulge a little, even if money is tight. Even if you are eating in, make it a dining experience with lighted candlesticks and dressing in nice clothes. Plan the menu from pre-dinner drinks and appetizers through dessert. Serve something that you would normally only reserve for a holiday or special occasion. Plan a picnic; if the weather doesn’t cooperate, move it indoors.
Orchestrate your own film festival. Check out movies from your local library. If you don’t like the show, move onto another; it didn’t cost anything. Even downloads are relatively inexpensive. Don’t watch them on a laptop or tablet. Go for the full screen television.
It may be very tempting to check emails or answer phone calls that are work related. Just remember that you deserve the time off to regroup. If your line of work requires that you be accessible, set a time to return calls or deal with emails. Explain that cell or electronic connections are sketchy but you will do your best to connect. An out-of-office reply can help, saying that you are unavailable and giving an alternate contact and a date of your return.
In the end, you can find lots of ways to have fun without feeling deprived or stingy. With some forethought and creativity you are on your way.