Everyone loves a good vacation.
And even more than that, everyone needs a vacation every once and a while.
It’s actually been proven that taking a few days to relax, enjoy new experiences, and generally get away from your daily routine revitalizes your body and your mind.
It helps rejuvenate your entire system, and boosts your productivity when you get back to the daily grind.
I know what your thinking: “that’s all well and good, but how am I supposed to afford to take a vacation every time I feel like I need one?”
Well, what if I told you that you could take a vacation for as little as $20, and you don’t even have to use up PTO days to do it?
This may sound impossible, but I can promise you it’s not.
It’s all about creative solutions.
Now, occasionally you are still going to want to jet set off to some exotic new vacation for a long vacation, but you can’t do that every month. You might even consider yourself lucky if you can manage it every few years.
But what are you supposed to do in the meantime?
Work, life, routines…it gets exhausting after a while. Let’s face it: sometimes you need a break.
More importantly, you need a break that doesn’t involve using up all of your much-needed vacation time and emptying out your wallet of your hard-earned money.
So what’s the solution?
Now, before you write this off, hear me out. I’m not talking your traditional staycation. Don’t blow $200 on a hotel for the weekend in a town where you already live.
No, what I’m suggesting is a whole new take on at-home vacations.
Now, for this you can either just take your weekly days off, or you can add an extra day of PTO on there for 3 days of bliss instead of just 2. However you do it though, you are signing up for a weekend of fun and relaxation.
Well, let’s take a look at the way that we vacation.
If I told you right now that you could take the whole week off next week, would you stay home?
And, if you did, you would probably feel like you’ve wasted that valuable time off.
Why is that?
Because we’ve decided as a society that time off means its time to get away. We assume that we need to go somewhere far away from home in order to recharge and have fun.
How does that make sense?
After all, home is somewhere that you like enough to stay there permanently. And I’m willing to bet that despite that, you spend very little time actually enjoying your hometown.
So, the next time you have the weekend off, it’s time to vacation in your own town.
How do you do this?
Well first you have to adjust your mindset. When you get off work on Friday, you aren’t just going home to rest for the weekend. You’re on your way to a fabulous weekend away from the work and life stressors that you constantly feel weighing you down.
When you get home, you aren’t at the place where you have to cook and clean and do laundry. You’re at the most comfortable hotel you’ve ever stayed at, full of all the comforts and familiar touches you could ever want.
To help with this mindset, treat the weekend like any other vacation. Go through the checklist of things to do to prepare: get all the laundry and cleaning done in the week before. Plan out all of your activities for the trip. Pick out outfits for the weekend.
Especially if you do this with family, a significant other, or even a close friend, suddenly it starts to feel just as exciting as if you were traveling to a new destination.
When you are planning out what to do on your incredible weekend and when, it’s important to keep hold of that vacation mindset.
Like I said, you probably don’t spend that much time actually enjoying your hometown.
Without a doubt, there’s a restaurant, activity, or place that you’ve always said you wanted to go to, but never have.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to check out the local theater. Maybe there’s a park nearby that you’ve always wanted to take your time to stroll through.
Perhaps you’ve always wanted to get a massage at the salon downtown, or you’ve always thought about trying out one of the couple’s dance classes at the studio by your house.
Whatever it is that you’ve said you want to do, but never done, now is your chance to do it. You’re on vacation after all—the perfect time for new and fun experiences.
Create a travel itinerary for your weekend with all the things you’ve said you want to do.
The last time I did this, my itinerary looked something like this:
-Drinks at The Woods lounge
-Dinner at Ceviche Tapas Restaurant
-Breakfast at The Artisan’s Kitchen
-Walk through Lake Eola park and picnic lunch by the fountain
-Painting class at The Winey Wench art studio and wine bar
-Tickets to Sak Comedy Club and Improve Studio
-Dinner at home with a nice bottle of wine
-Breakfast on the go
-Morning at Orlando Top Golf experience
-Lunch at that Greek place on the water we’ve always wanted to try
-Afternoon movie at the dine-in theater
You can do as much or as little as you want, but the idea is your exploring the parts of your home that make it great, whether it be old favorites or new experiences.
For example, I grew up in Orlando, just 10 minutes from our little downtown, but I had never explored downtown, and almost everything on my list was new to me. Plus, this weekend, full of so much fun, only cost me about $150.
Think of that in comparison to the $300 minimum I would have had to spend on a hotel room, plus the $100+ in transportation costs to get there, and the increased prices for food, drinks, and other vacation purchases because of the prime tourist location.
Not only did I save hundreds of dollars on my vacation by exploring my own home town, but I also got all of the relief and joy that I would have expected out of any vacation, no matter the location.
Not to mention I came away from the holiday with a newfound love for my hometown.
So, the next time you’re feeling stressed, beaten down, or just like you need to get away, the way to do it is by staying put and reminding yourself exactly why this is the place that you’ve chosen to call home.