Mother and child "pretend camping" in a makeshift tent on a mattress with a string of lights in the background.

It can be both mentally deflating and vastly disappointing to put your dream vacation abroad or your West Coast winery coastal tour on hold because of an unforeseen circumstance.

But, when faced with the stress and disappointment of a cancelled trip, it’s more important than ever to hit the reset button however you can. Many people choose staycations for their simplicity, lack of travel, and stress-free no-itinerary, no obligations. With a staycation, you can instead recharge your batteries with no reservations required, and on a budget.

Maximize your time “away”.

Start by treating your staycation like a real getaway. You might not have a flight to catch or a hotel stay to check-in for, but committing to a staycation as you would a trip involving distance will ensure you’re maximizing the relaxation and stress-release it can bring. Work disruptions can easily interfere with a relaxing staycation. Determine an official start and end time and set expectations with your coworkers that you will be offline from work or only checking in occasionally during this time. For example: Only take calls in the morning or check your email twice a day so you don’t find yourself knee-deep in work like you never left.

Carve out time for yourself.

Any staycation should start with making time for you. Whether it’s a day full of naps or absolutely no plans, a day of “nothing” can help rejuvenate even the weariest among us. A structure-less mental health “me” day could be the break away from it all that you need.
Or you could take a different route by finally tackling long-deferred projects:

  • reading that book you’ve been putting off
  • beginning to learn a new language
  • enrolling in an online course
  • taking up a DIY project
  • finding inspiration for a room refresh

Avoid typical day-to-day projects like yard maintenance, housework, or any other responsibilities that may bring monotony, tedium, or undue stress. When things seem to be getting stale, make time to get out of the house and go for a walk.

Time for significant other and family.

For many of us, staycations include plans that incorporate our children, spouse, or both. Group activities are essential to keeping things fresh when you’re vacationing where you live every day. And board games, video games, game nights, or a tournament can spice things up. Friendly competition amongst the family can be both rewarding and full of good-natured fun. To keep it affordable, you may want to take stock of  what is already in your cabinets, but feel free to keep things original by looking online to see what’s new and noteworthy – both for your tabletop and in the virtual world.

For cinema-lovers: throw a movie night or a film festival. Cook popcorn on the stovetop or in an air popper, dress in theme, or deck out a room to set the mood for a night of whodunits, superhero feats, or nail-biting thrillers. Tickets, please!

If you have a backyard, you can plan a family picnic with all the fixings and a global wine tour with bottles purchased at your local store. At sunset, set up camp with tents, flashlights, and sleeping bags under the night sky. Don’t forget to make s’mores as a midnight snack.

Together or separate, become a tourist in your hometown.

Even though you’re staying home, you can still dine like you’re in a foreign city. Try cooking a themed menu based on a specific region or travel destination. Or, give your kitchen a rest and treat your taste buds to a cultural and culinary journey from one of the local eateries in your area by ordering to-go. (Added bonus: supporting local businesses.) Even some of the swankier restaurants in cities around the U.S. offer take-out or delivery options.

When the food coma hits, don’t move. Some of the world’s most renowned museums offer free virtual tours for visitors across the globe, and you can explore the world’s treasures without ever leaving the comfort of your couch. Or you (and the kids) can create your own works of art with virtual art classes available online or through social media channels such as Instagram Live.

If you’re more musically inclined, check out YouTube, SoundCloud, Netflix, or performers’ own social media pages for concert specials and upcoming live streams from well-known popular artists. Grab a beer and some glowsticks — you’ve got a (virtual) front-row seat.

Regardless of the reason, sometimes an out-of-town getaway is out of reach for the time being. But just because you’re no longer going the distance with a vacation, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a relaxing and affordable staycation where the world can still be at your fingertips.