We all know how important it is to your health and wellbeing to get away from work and responsibilities for a while, and while we’d love to spend our leave on a tropical beach somewhere, that just isn’t always possible, unfortunately! That doesn’t mean you can’t take a break that’s affordable, close to home, and offers you space and time to relax, unwind, and get away from it all.
Enter the staycation! Not only is it less stressful financially, a staycation gives you the chance to explore all those attractions right on your doorstep that you’ve been putting off for ages, simply because ‘they’ll always be there’. With the rise of platforms like Airbnb, and the ease with which smaller guesthouses and bed and breakfast establishments can advertise their accommodations online, there’s never been a better time to explore your own backyard!
Before we plunge into how to go about planning your staycation, here are just a few of the benefits:
- No long term advanced bookings or planning required
- No travel visas or passports to arrange
- It’s much, much cheaper
- You’re ‘on your own turf’ should an emergency arise
- You can use your own transport
- Less time spent traveling means more time for relaxing!
Sounds good, right? So how do you go about planning the perfect staycation?
Choosing your timing:
With a little bit of forethought, you can really maximize your time spent away from the office. Public holidays are a great way to cash in and extend your time off by turning a long weekend into an entire week. If the holiday falls on a Wednesday for example, by taking Monday and Tuesday off, you get a full 5 days off work for the price of just two leave days. Take Thursday and Friday off too, and you’ve got an amazing nine days off for the price of four! It takes people about three days to really get into the swing of a holiday, so giving yourself a decent stretch of time will give you a real chance to relax and de-stress.
Choosing your accommodation:
Most employers require you to give some notice before you cash in on your leave days, so you’ve got a bit of room to explore your accommodation options. Obviously your budget will be a major consideration, but remember that you’re looking for a real chance to escape and relax here, so consider how much money you’re already saving by staying closer to home and give yourself a bit of leeway to pamper yourself. Consider the activities you’ve been wanting to do for ages and position yourself so there won’t be any excuses not to finally tick them off the list!
Just Googling accommodation and your home town, for example, accommodation Bloemfontein or accommodation San Diego, might turn up a whole lot of results you’ve never even heard of.
Spend some time brainstorming what you’d like to do, or NOT do
Once you’ve got your precious time off, it’s a good idea to have a vague plan of how you’d like to spend it. Make a list if you wish, or have a completely blank slate if that’s what you prefer – it’s your time off and only you get to decide how to spend it!
Make sure you have what you’ll need before your staycation gets underway. Whether you want to paint, finally work on that novel, get out and about with your dog or just catch up on sleep, it’s all up to you.
Prepare your colleagues and yourself for your time off
Employers and co-workers can easily fall into the idea that because you aren’t an ocean away, you’ll still be available for ‘emergencies’. Make it clear that you won’t be checking your emails or available for questions by having a thorough handover process. You can achieve this subtly by asking around a few times if anyone needs anything from you before you leave several times in the week leading up to your staycation. Keep gently dropping hints and the message will get across!
Avoid the temptation to check in by deleting your work email app from your phone, and be firm with yourself too! This is meant to be time off, so don’t sabotage your chance to get the break you deserve.
Treat yourself to a day at the spa, a bit of retail therapy, a pricey adventure activity, or even just some quality alone time in nature. Don’t feel obligated to be busy or rush anything at all, whether it’s soaking in the tub or messing about in the kitchen. It’s your time, so simply do whatever makes you happy in the moment!