How to Plan the Perfect Staycation

Some people plan a staycation as a special event, but, for me, it’s a perpetual state of being. I am always planning the next adventure in my own backyard and hope to inspire you to do the same. We are often so busy with our daily lives and looking forward to that long vacation away that we forget about the awesome things around us. For the last few years, I have made it my mission to explore every nook and cranny of where I live and I want to help you plan the perfect staycation.

dog walking on the beach with text overlay: How to plan the perfect staycation

What is a Staycation?

Simply put, a staycation is a vacation where you stay home and participate in local leisure activities. Wikipedia says a staycation does not involve overnight accommodations but I disagree. My staycation adventures are usually day trips but can also be a short overnight stay or even a weekend outing.

Benefits of a Staycation

  • You can save money over traveling abroad
  • Saving money means you might be able to splurge more at home
  • It’s less stressful
  • No packing if you are only doing day trips
  • No airport hassles like lines and security
  • You won’t have jet lag to deal with
  • Your time is more flexible
  • No travel time to and from a destination means you can fit in more activities
A staycation has many benefits including less stress and more flexibility over a traditional vacation abroad. #staycation #getoutjustgo Click To Tweet

How do you Plan a Perfect Staycation?

Evaluate and Research

Planning your staycation is absolutely critical. If you take time off work without a plan, chances are you’ll end up working at home or just frittering away the time. You certainly wouldn’t travel abroad without some sort of plan of what to see and what to do so don’t make that mistake at home. Don’t waste those precious vacation hours!

Planning your staycation is absolutely critical. Don't waste those precious vacation hours. #staycation #getoutjustgo Click To Tweet

So where do you start?

Method 1

Start planning your perfect staycation by thinking about what you would do if you were on a vacation abroad. Then look for similar activities in your area, like the beach or lakes, parks, hiking, spas, and great restaurants.

RiverFancy dessert at Taste

Method 2

Go through the list below, or brainstorm your own ideas, and look for those activities in your area.

View of the ocean from the mountainsMountain meadows and old barn

Method 3

Lastly, if your area doesn’t have your ideal activities, research what is available and pick out what sounds the most appealing to you. For example, I no longer have places to go wine tasting (the closest winery is about a 3 hour drive), but I do have some breweries and distilleries nearby.

Sail boat and power boat on the waterCoyote

If you are retired, like me, keep a list of places and events as you learn about them. I don’t care where you live or how long you’ve lived there, I know there are things to do around you or within a short drive that you haven’t explored.


Decide on Your Staycation Budget

Maybe you decided on a staycation to save money. Maybe it was to save time. Or maybe it was just to learn more about your home. Whatever the reason, you need to decide how much you want or can afford to spend. Stick to your budget as much as possible to help keep your vacation stress free.

While you are researching, you should keep track of hours and fees for an attraction or event. If you add in some free or nearly free things, you’ll have more to spend on that day spa or extravagant meal. Be sure to check for discounts on sites like Groupon.

Schedule your Activities

Once you’ve done your research, make a tentative schedule, but don’t freak out if you have to adjust it. Remember that one of the benefits of a staycation is that it is less stressful, partly because your time is more flexible. You can totally relax because you know you can do something another time if you have to miss it while you are staycationing.

Make a schedule but don't freak out if you have to change it. #staycation #getoutjustgo Click To Tweet

When you are scheduling, don’t burn yourself out on any one thing, like trying to go to several museums in one day. I have done that but I prefer to break it up a little. For instance, yesterday I went to a museum in the morning, a new restaurant for lunch and then to a nature center in the afternoon. That may sound like a fairly expensive day, but, in fact, it only cost $11.27. The museum was $3, lunch was $8.27 with tip and the nature center was free. And it was a totally awesome day!

La Feria Nature Center

Be sure to check the weather forecast! Have a back up plan of something to do indoors, like a museum or a movie, in case of inclement weather on a day you’ve planned a picnic in the park.

What to do on the Perfect Staycation

If your reason for taking a staycation is to relax and unwind, this post is probably not for you. Lots of recommendations I see on other websites list things like read a book or take a nap. Now, if you don’t already do these things regularly, you should, or whatever else you do to take care of yourself. If this is what you would do on an expensive vacation away from home, then by all means do it. However, this is not my idea of what to do on the perfect staycation.

Flamingo with text overlay: Get up, get out - just go! How to plan the perfect staycation.If you take a week off work for a staycation, I think it should be just as jam-packed as a week away would be. You can nap or read on the weekends. Even though I’m retired and can take my time, I still try to plan a couple of outings a week. Here are some things to consider when you plan the perfect staycation:


If you take a week off work for a staycation, it should be just as jam-packed as a week away would be. #staycation #getoutjustgo Click To Tweet

Things to do that will make for a memorable and perfect staycationold zinfandel vines, train engine at museum, trail - plan a variety of activities for the perfect staycation

  • Go for a hike
  • Dust off your bicycle
  • Camp for a night or two, even if it’s in your own backyard
  • Take a class at a nature center
  • Go rock climbing
  • Take a nature watching day cruise
  • Go geocaching
  • Eat at some restaurants you’ve always wanted to try
  • Go wine/beer/spirits tasting
  • Take a cooking class
  • Go kayaking or paddle boarding – learn if you don’t know how
  • Picnic at your favorite kind of spot, like the beach or a lake
  • Go to a play/concert/festival/farmers market
  • Take a segway tour
  • Go horseback riding or take a lesson
  • Rent a jeep/motorcycle/fancy car
  • Go skydiving or hot air ballooning
  • Take in a movie – don’t just binge watch at home
  • Go on a walking tour of your town/city
  • Spend the night at a local luxury hotel and partake of all the amenities
  • Get pampered at a day spa

I hope I’ve given you some inspiration for planning a great staycation with this list. Quite a few of those things are on my radar since I’ve recently moved to a new area. Now that you have lots of ideas, go plan your perfect staycation and tell me about it in the comments!

If you’d like more help, download my Staycation Planning Guide and Checklist. You know you’ll want to save this information for later so click on one of the images below to pin it to one of your Pinterest travel boards.

Get up, get out and just go!

horseback rider with text overlay: How to plan the perfect staycation. Get up, get out, just go!
photo of a fancy appetizer with text overlay: Free planning guide! How to plan the perfect staycation. Get up, get out, just go!

Until next time…

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Thank you for sharing!


  1. Unfortunatly in Italy is not possible to do a staycation 🙁

  2. This is a great idea to do and also for a blog post. I love this! I live in San Diego, which is a tourist destination, but of course I “forget” to explore all that my own city offers, including the beach and museums. Great suggestions!

    • Hi Sharon. I lived in Orange County most of my life and was the same way. Realizing that when I moved to northern California was the impetus for this blog. I hope you spend more time exploring San Diego. I love it there!

  3. What a great plan to explore every nook and cranny where you live. You certainly will be an awesome guide for people who visit your area. What a great guide for planning a staycation. Good idea to not plan too many activities for your staycation days. I will need to check the areas around Toronto for the long list of things you have suggested. I am sure we can plan many staycations.

  4. These are some great tips for planning a staycation. My feet often itch to take a vacation someplace far but the plan of visiting places that nearby sound great.

  5. Staycations are my favorite! I always surprise myself how much there is to do right in your own town. I try to plan one at least once a year, and it’s often less stressful since you don’t have to work around flights and hotels!

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