The stay-cation, or stay-at-home vacation, can be a great way to de-stress and re-energize if it’s planned ahead just like a trip out of town. If you can’t make it to Portland for Pinot, The Finger Lakes for Riesling, or California or Washington State, you can still have a good time at home, according to the great people at FAT Bastard Wines. The quality of a stay-cation depends more on what goes into the effort than on its ultimate cost. Here are some of their tips for planning the perfect stay-cation * and I’ve added a few “Advice Sisters Ideas, as well:
1. Make a Plan – Choose the dates, arrange to be away from work and then follow through with the program just as if you were travelling far from home. Limit the time you will devote to checking emails, discourage colleagues from calling and make sure you’ve met your deadlines and taken care of business before you leave the office.
2. Become a Tourist in Your Own Hometown – Get a guidebook and go online to check out the local attractions that bring tourists to your area, just as you would if you were traveling to another city. Check the dates for concerts, shows, sporting events, traveling exhibits and other special events that will be going on during your vacation and buy tickets.
3. Pamper yourself. For a fraction of the cost of a luxury hotel, you can hire a cleaning person or service to clean your home on the first day of your vacation. Then relax with a refreshing glass of wine or lemonade, while someone else does the work – just like you would at a hotel. Bring the cleaning service of person back at the end of your vacation, too, so you can go back to work without the worry of cleaning up after a week at home.
4. Plan a Backyard Safari – Get out the tent and sleeping bags and enjoy a night under the stars. Tell ghost stories around the fire pit while you roast hot dogs and make s’mores. * Advice Sisters Additional Idea: if you live in an apartment, put the tent in your living room and “camp out” literally, at home!
5. Stage Your Own Film Festival – Pick up all the DVD’s of the latest flicks you’ve been wanting to see; pop some corn and gather around the television. Consider spending some of your vacation savings on that wide-screen TV that’s just gone on sale. It will be an investment to enjoy all year round.
6. Pick a Peach – Check out local farms that offer a day of fun and a way to enjoy fresh produce such as peaches and strawberries for a fraction of the supermarket cost if you pick it yourself. If your pick is strawberries, treat yourself to simply divine appetizer— Balsamic Strawberry and Mozzarella Flatbread and a glass of FAT bastard Rosé. The recipe can be found at fineliving.com. * Advice Sisters tip: “can” something and keep that fresh taste alive even in Winter, when the produce isn’t so great. I learned to do hot water bath canning from the Internet!
7. Delve into a Day Spa – If the pleasures of the spa are your idea of real relaxation, check out the local day spas in your area. It’s a good bet that they will offer all the pampering and beauty treatments of a destination spa for far less than the cost at a resort. * Advice Sisters Additional Idea: you can do similar, spa-style pampering at home, alone, with someone special, or with girlfriends. Check out How to Have an At-Home Spa Night from the Advice Sisters What Works Archives
8. Indulge Your Taste buds – Have a wine tasting at home and learn about the varietals you’ve always wanted to try. Good wines that deliver excellent quality can be found at your local supermarket and you can really make the tasting special by printing wine tasting mats and scoring sheets found at fatbastard.com/news.php or keepwinesimple.com. Ask for budget-friendly wines like those from FAT bastard that offer terrific quality at affordable prices.
9. Look for local discounts – Check out accommodations and attractions in your area and ask about special rates for local residents. Many theme parks and the surrounding hotels offer discounted rates to locals, especially during the off-season and in popular tourist areas.
10. Make the last night memorable with a blow-out barbecue – Buy the best steaks your butcher can provide and cook them to perfection. Pair with a rich wine (FAT Bastard suggests a Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon–both go so well with red meat). Top it off with a delicious desert of fresh fruit and homemade ice cream.
11: Advice Sisters Idea: Take a Day Trip. If you live in a City with good public transportation, be a tourist and visit a part of your town you rarely see. Or, take a short trip with an overnight stay (there are great last-minute deals out there). Here are 10 “Advice Sisters” Ways to Make any Trip Easier and More Fun and here are some tips to make you feel more comfortable when you are “on the road”