Taking the Perfect “Staycation”

By D.J. Wilson

Who wouldn’t love to jet out to an exotic location and be waited on attentively at the finest resort?  While many of us have enjoyed the pleasure of an upscale retreat during our lifetime, we often lack the funds to repeat expensive vacations.  With the reality of a bad economy looming over us, and with rising costs of gas and travel on the forefront, it’s easy to see why people are turning to staycations as an important alternative to expensive vacations.  The word, staycation, is derived from the familiar words stay and vacation and simply means taking a vacation at home.  The art of taking the perfect staycation is not as difficult as one may think.  Take one week off, follow these easy steps, and turn your ordinary home into the vacation destination of your dreams.       

  1. Treat it like a real vacation; relax.  I don’t know of anybody who can’t wait to go on vacation to mow lawns, clean gutters, or scrub kitchen floors.  When you’re on staycation, treat it like a real vacation and set aside big household chores.  If the idea of the lawn not getting mowed is unbearable to you, hire someone to do it that week.  Your goal is to relax at home, and you have the rest of the year to catch up on domestic tasks.  
  2. Send a message; do not disturb.  The whole goal of a vacation is to spend time relaxing and having fun, without distractions.  While you’re on staycation, spread the word.  Let people know you will be home but that you’re taking a break from work and social obligations for the week.  A vacation entitles one to be a bit selfish, as it’s an appropriate time for us to focus on our own interests, needs, and wishes, for a change.  It’s okay to put phone calls, errands, and business and social affairs on hold to focus on oneself for the week.   
  3. Do the unusual; be creative.  Most of us wake at a usual hour, dress, make our beds, eat a familiar breakfast, and follow a basic daily routine each morning at home.  This redundancy adds up to boring, so go ahead and change things up on staycation.  Rise and shine and greet the break of day.  Instead of having breakfast at the kitchen table, fill a picnic basket with muffins, fruit, and cheese and enjoy breakfast outdoors.  Or simply stay in bed to read your favorite book.    By breaking up your old routine, your day will be much more interesting.   
  4. Set the mood; make your home come alive.  Each of us has a special travel destination near and dear to our hearts.  Instead of longing to be somewhere else, bring the destination home.  If it’s Hawaii that you long for, decorate your home in a tropical theme, garnish a drink with pineapple, and lay in a hammock listening to Hawaiian music.  Heck, you can even wear a grass skirt if you’d like.  There are no rules other than having fun.  By setting the mood, you’ll enjoy the pleasures of your favorite travel destination, without the expense and hassle of travel.
  5. Plan ahead; take a few day trips.  When planning a vacation, travelers often read literature about their destination.  Do the same for your staycation.  Familiarize yourself with what your neck of the woods has to offer.   Most local newspapers publish guides of fun things to do in the area for each season.  They feature local museums, aquariums, zoos, parks, gardens, theatres, festivals, wine & brewery tours, and musical events.  Offering suggestions on things to do within drivable distances, they are valuable resources when planning a staycation.  They provide ideas on shopping and fine dining, and an array of seasonal activities like swimming and ice skating.  The possibilities of things to do near home are endless, and you can do as little or as much as you’d like.  Planning ahead allows you to budget for the activities you like the most. 
  6. Do something special; treat yourself.  Treat yourself to a few pleasures, as if on a true vacation.  If you enjoy going to the movies or eating out while on vacation, plan to do it on staycation.  Instead of patronizing to the same old restaurants, go someplace special you’ve always wanted to go.  If you like to souvenir shop, buy yourself a little trinket to remind you of your holiday at home.    
  7. Take photographs; remember the fun!  Remember your staycation by taking photos of all the memorable things you do.  Create an album to share with family and friends, much as you do for a regular vacation.  It will later serve as a reminder of your enjoyable experiences near home.  If you decide to camp in your yard on staycation, why not photograph all the fun?
  8. Don’t feel guilty; it’s okay to say “No”.   To make a staycation work, it’s okay to say “no” when asked to do things.  We mistakenly think that since we’re home we need to stay in the active mode 24/7.  If you’re asked to whip up something for the bake sale, babysit the grandkids, or plant flowers in the community, it’s okay to say “no” while on staycation.  We’re often programmed to say “yes” all the time, but the truth is we need some time to unwind.  Don’t let your staycation suffer, say “no” and enjoy a guilt free vacation.   
  9. Be master of your time; stop and smell the roses.  Take time to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures at home.  If your garden is in full bloom, instead of hurrying by, stop and smell the roses.  Treat yourself like a guest in your own home, and make it a brand new experience.  While you may plan some activities to do, don’t be tied to a tight schedule.  Be master of your own time by doing what you like without rushing, and enjoy each hour as it gently passes.
  10. Be proud; enjoy the money you saved!  The soaring prices of gas and tolls, airline and train tickets, and hotels and restaurants, are enough to make many of us delay or avoid travel. Choosing a staycation cuts many expenses and saves a bundle, while offering a chance to enjoy the perks of being at home.                

The reality of the economy and budgeting come into play when planning a holiday.  A staycation provides the opportunity to fully experience ‘Home Sweet Home’ and presents the perfect opportunity to get away without spending a fortune.  Not only great for the budget conscious, it’s a wonderful way to unwind without the hassle of getting a passport, driving in traffic, or waiting in long lines at the airport.  A staycation is also a terrific solution for seniors who are unable to travel due to physical constraints.  Encompassing the idea of relaxation within the comfort of one’s home, it is a wonderful way to enjoy a week off from the daily hustle and bustle of our lives.  When we take a trip, we escape the demands of life.  It is not necessary to drive across country to do so.  Take time to truly unwind at home and discover the magic in your own backyard. 

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Tom Curtin
9 years ago

I knew AARP had their heads up their “fourth point of contact” when they sent me a recruitmment letter whan I was 35 years old. I’m glad to see an enlightened alternative.

Raymon Sprayberry
9 years ago

I am a member of AMAC. I sure hope I am not disappointed like a lot of people that joined AARP. I was able to see past the mind set of AARP right from the start and did not fall for all that miss information they were handing out.I will be watching AMAC closely. Make me happy.

C. Reed
9 years ago

I just joined AMAC. Maybe AMAC is too young to have many benefits yet. In retrospect I can’t think of a thing that being an AARP member ever did for me. Many hotels won’t honor the AARP discount on weekends when most people travel. I received a magazine that was full of paid for ads which was of no use to me. I was a member of their roadside assistance club & they could never keep my address straight. They kept sending my renewals to my ex husband’s address who was never on the membership & had never lived in the town I live in & I had never lived where he lives. Over many years of calling & paying them & complaining about the address problem it was never corrected. I finally just didn’t renew. I am now searching for a new roadside assistance membership but AMAC doesn’t have one. I understand there is one in CA. only. So far AMAC has not been able to supply me with a list of restaurants that honor AMAC memberships in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. So, I am beginning to wonder why I joined. A lot of improvement will have to take place this year if they expect me to renew. We will see if this one gets published.

9 years ago
Reply to  C. Reed

I don’t know about you, but I joined knowing that AMAC had not yet been able to get to the membership point as AARP. That means less money and less “credibility” (if you want to actually give that title to AARP). People join at the beginning of a group or movement because they are willing to make a small sacrifice to offer a choice other than something like AARP. AARP does NOTHING for you now and won’t in the future. Personally, I am happy that I am able to be part of the fight against the liberal AARP that stands for everything that is actually harmful to people 65 and over – and the country in general as far as I can see. If you don’t care to be part of that ongoing fight, and you aren’t willing to go without some of what you consider “perks”, then don’t renew your membership. As for the rest of us, we will hold our heads high knowing that we stand for something more worthwhile and will make the small sacrifice it takes.

9 years ago
Reply to  Cligie

AMEN to that Cligie!
AARP truly sold us down the river when it decided to support obamacare at the expense of Medicare!
They can sleep with our socialistic, muslim president; but I’m against Everything that he stands for!

Dr. Ken Muckelroy
9 years ago

I am pleased to see that so many others join me at AMAC. I am very unhappy with the way we have been cheated and lied to by A-URP. I am glad we have AAMC.

Ruth Van Bemmel
9 years ago

When I learned AARP moved into their “rented” space in Washington DC and it had carpet so thick that members who visited in wheelchairs couldn’t wheel their chairs to the reception desk, I knew I would never be a member of this association. AARP is another lobbying firm for the Democrat Party. Their support of Obamacare made it more obvious. As a member of the “political junkies” I am re-energized by American’s taking an active interest in politics. It has been a long lonely journey to this point and I hope they stay involved. Thank you AMAC for providing this forum. I too hope you become an active arm for educating your members on issues as the previous writer mentioned that will seriously affect our future as I will be one of those members living until 2050 only 40 years from now. I just received my notice that my social security check will be reduced by $100 to pay for Medicare Part B I had not asked for! Reality is not kind.

Tom Bolas
9 years ago

First, a thanks to AMAC for stepping up as an alternative to AARP.

One of the things AMAC members need information on is what the reality of the current Federal Reserve Strategy (printing money, creating inflation) the current ECB (European Central Bank) strategy of bailing out the PIIGS (creating inflation) and the Chinese Central Bank strategy (printing money – creating inflation). Information from the talking heads and government controlled media is substantially understating what will happen to retirees fixed income over the next 10 years. Read, loss of purchasing power.

Individualized long term planning must be implemented which will allow inflation to work for you and not against you. It is not avoidable but you can position your personal finances and investments to at least stay even with the consistent economic direction. Remember, tangibles (the right ones) will rise with inflation while intangibles (paper money) will depreciate against inflation.

I would support an AMAC centered system for communicating concerns and optional strategies as a value-added function.

Pat Cummings
9 years ago

I just returned to work from a staycation, rested, rejuvenated and ready to go, despite having violated rule #1 right out of the gate. Yes, I had a list of projects lined up that I wanted to accomplish.

But with all that, I ALSO did the routine change-up, lolled in bed until noon a day or two, treated myself to a movie in a theatre, ate at a new, marvellous restaurant, stayed up after midnight listening to music, etc. Having my projects completed was a great boost to the spirit, too!

irene prestigiacomo
9 years ago

Both my my sister and my self were AARP members since we were 50 yrs old. That was 18 yr s ago for me 19 for her. after researching, for ourselves, supplemental insurnce coverage , we found AARP was the highest. Further research showed affiliations and support for programs that were not inthe interest of Senior Citizens . I’m happy to say we are both now members of AMAC . I’m glad I listened to Senator Mc Cain and checked it out for myself.

Robert M Maton
9 years ago

I have been an AARP member for 27 years…..but this year I am NOT RENEWING….AARP has just lost their direction. I had been in active sales for many years prior to retiring but just recently I emailed AARP advising them I was not only NOT renewing my subscription but was, in fact, returning to a voluntary and unpaid “sales “job”,namely, working to sway other AARP Subscribers from renewing their subcription and attempting to discourage any new qualified potential members I tallk to from joining AARP in the first place. Hopefully, others will join me in this effort and perhaps AARP will just go out of business….

george castady
9 years ago

AARP is directly responsible for Obamacare. If you don’t care what that means, believe me, you will. If this “long-eared beanpole” (thanks for that one Ann) gets reelected it will be too late to ever turn back the tide. In the words of “race pimp” Jesse Jackson, “Keep Hope Alive”… Vote!

Gene Fay
9 years ago

I once held AARP in high regard, thought they were there to help. However, the claim of cheap, insurance, hotels,travel etc. turn out to be bogus. They actually wanted to charge me $200.00 more than Allstate for auto insurance. They keep asking for donations in spite of all the kickbacks they get. They’re not helping me just looking for money to take a bigger bonus.

Paul Maushardt
9 years ago

I have left AARP and will never return, they are for big $$$.

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