Why & How to Have a Staycation

Why & How to Have a Staycation

Americans are bad at taking time off of work. In 2018, more than half of Americans didn’t use all of their vacation days, leading to 768 million unused days country-wide, according to research from the U.S. Travel Association. This year’s number could potentially be even higher. For many, 2020 has been made up of derailed travel and canceled plans, and with some theme parks, resorts, museums, and attractions closed, it may seem silly to think about taking days off when there’s nowhere to go.

Why We Need a Staycation

However, with the stress of a pandemic, the blurred lines between home and work, and full-time parenting for many, we all need the break now more than ever. Think of time off as recovery, instead of rest. To perform your best, you need to recharge. Research has shown that taking a vacation can improve your heart health, reduce stress, lift your mood, increase mindfulness, and help you produce more novel work. Taking vacation is linked to job productivity, and, in one report, even a better likelihood of good reviews, bonuses, and raises.

How to Plan Your Staycation

How can you make the most of your staycation? First, keep these two things in mind.

Reflect on why you enjoy vacations. For many, it’s a relief to be off the clock – free from the alarm, overflowing email inbox, and calendar full of meetings. While staycationing, allow yourself the simple pleasure of not following “the rules” of your day-to-day routine. This is your time to sleep in, turn off your work email, step away from your phone, spend a few hours reading a book, take a two-hour nap, or indulge in that special dessert. Beyond the flexible schedule, time away from home can also give you a reprieve from your regular household responsibilities.

Also, seek out new experiences. A change of pace takes your brain off of autopilot. Getting outside of your comfort zone fires up your brain and widens your perspective. So, whether it is as simple as taking a different route when walking your dog or tasting a new dish, introduce some novelty into your life. Even small doses of new experiences can be invigorating.

With all of that in mind, here are a few activities to consider as you plan out your ideal staycation:

  • Go camping – Get your tent, ingredients for s’mores, and head to a local campground, or even better, set up camp right in your own backyard or living room!
  • Make your own waterpark – With a slip ‘n slide, inflatable pool, sprinkler, and/or water balloons, you can create your own DIY waterpark to beat the late summer heat.
  • Take a hike – Get outside and explore the local parks and trails but be sure to do your research online first about peak times and parking, as this has been a popular activity this summer.
  • Have a spa day – Re-create the spa experience at home with a luxurious robe, face mask, foot soak, and bubble bath.
  • Get on the water – Go tubing, canoeing, kayaking, or paddle boarding on one of the Upstate’s rivers or lakes.
  • Go berry or apple picking – Pick your own produce at a local farm or orchard.
  • Take a drive – Look at our previous post on easy road trips from the Upstate for ideas, but make sure to do your research and double-check what’s open in each destination before you make the drive.
  • Stay somewhere new – Just because you’re staycationing, doesn’t mean you have to stay at home (though that’s definitely OK). If you want to switch it up and feel comfortable enough to do so, check into a local hotel or Airbnb for a night or two for a refresh.
  • Tackle a project – Though not everyone’s idea of fun, if it’s up your alley, the extra time is a great opportunity to get a home project crossed off of your list.

However you decide to spend your staycation, there are plenty of ways to recharge and enjoy yourself at home and throughout the Upstate.