SALT LAKE CITY — A "staycation" (stay at home vacation) is a great way to boost mental health and enjoy quality family time even if you can't afford a traditional vacation. "Staycations" have continued to grow in popularity with the economic decline and many are looking to take advantage of the amenities and attractions their local destinations have to offer.
Here are some important things to consider when planning your "staycation."
Make sure to unplug
This goes for whatever absorbs most of your time. Whether it's work, volunteering or social media, make an effort to step away and focus on relaxing. Set up an automatic email reply, take time off work and let others know you will be away. If people tend to know you are around, they will be more likely to bug you.
Set a goal
"Staycations" are a great time to tackle a project or pick up a hobby you have wanted to do, but haven't had the time for. You could final try landscaping your backyard or learning how to ski as a family. If you do decide to take on a big project, make sure that you sprinkle in some fun activities and long afternoon naps so it feels like a vacation.
Eat out often
Because you have saved so much money from eliminating transportation and hotels, you can afford to treat yourself. Choose a restaurant you have been meaning to try, but haven't gone to because of either time or money. Then go ahead and treat yourself.
Make the most of the time you have, but remember that not all activities have to cost money. Go on a hike and pack a picnic. Visit a local pool or water park.
A great way to plan activities is by following group deal websites and snatching up fun activity coupons (this also works for dining). Try to do something fun and active everyday. Movies are also a fun staycation activity.
Play tourist in your own town
It's very likely you live in a place that others travel to, but there are probably touristy things you have never done. Stop by your local visitors center and pick up pamphlets and coupon books on local attractions. Visitor centers are a wealth of knowledge and can give you a plethora of ideas for your "staycation."
Do not stick to your normal routine
Stay up late and sleep in. Eat breakfast in bed. Watch TV in your pajamas when you want to. Do what feels relaxing and comfortable. This is your vacation so enjoy it.
Another idea is to book a hotel room in a nearby city and enjoy the feeling of being on vacation without having to travel too far. Enjoy the attractions of the city and the amenities of the hotel without a large travel cost.
However you decide to spend your "staycation," the most important thing is to make the most of this time and get a good mental break while enjoying time with the people you love.
Hilarye Fuller lives in Knoxville, Tennessee where she stays at home with her three young daughters and pens the travel blog DottingTheMap. For tips and reviews visit http://www.dottingthemap.com