Note: All travel is subject to frequently changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state and local advisories before scheduling trips. This post was updated January 15, 2021.

When people hear the word staycation, they often picture the whole family holing up together inside their home for a week and eating pizza in their pajamas (as if that’s not what we’ve all already been doing for the last year or so). If this is your idea of an ideal break, nobody’s here to judge, but allow us to introduce you to another version of the perfect staycation. It combines all the awesomeness of a regular family vacation, but without any of the hassles that sometimes come with travel, especially in the time of COVID. Here are six ways to staycation the right way.

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Do that thing you never get around to doing

Discovering new Farmer's Markets

Exploring new Farmer’s Markets

Everyone has that one thing they’ve been dying to get around to doing in their home town, whether it’s taking the family to a certain museum, park or attraction. Maybe you’ve always been too busy, or it’s a little too pricey for what you can justify for a regular weekend activity. Whatever the case may be, now is the time to do it. For my wife and me, it’s exploring our neighboring farmers markets that we previously didn’t have time to visit before.

Make a new discovery

Even if you don’t live near a large city like Chicago or LA, chances are you don’t know everything there is to do in and around your hometown. Maybe there’s a walking tour that covers local history you weren’t aware of, or perhaps a theater that screens your favorite classic films (if they’re already open again in your area). It could even be a trail or nature preserve just outside of town. All it takes is a little research. Google if you know specifics of what you have in mind, but definitely do a general search, too, and check your area’s local tourism website—you might find a few. surprises! In the end, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Take a bite

Roaming Gnome eating lobster roll

Make your staycation an excuse to try a new restaurant.

While dining restrictions are still in effect in many states, consider a charming spot with outdoor seating or carryout service. And just like with any other kind of vacation, a staycation calls for choosing restaurants unique to where you are. Even if patronizing smaller establishments weren’t already so important, there’s a lot to be said about how the unique foods in your city help define the region. You don’t necessarily need to choose an expensive meal at a fancy restaurant—though it might not be a bad idea! It’s about stepping outside your comfort zone, treating yourself and finding new things to love and appreciate. And if you want to take one for the team, consider finally taking the kids to that corny themed restaurant they’re always bugging you about–after all, it’s time to be a tourist in your town and try something new!

Splurge on a great place to stay

B&B Staycation in Napa Valley

My wife and I discovered a local B&B just outside of Los Angeles.

One of the best parts about taking a staycation is the lack of airfare eating into the budget. Since you won’t be spending the thousands it takes for a pair of round-trip tickets, consider treating your family to a class of hotel, vacation rental or B&B that would normally be above your price range. Stretch your budget even further with the great hotel deals at Going up a tier will usually provide more options to help improve your stay. For instance, how much would the kids love a place with a pool? And how much would you love an onsite spa or tennis courts? Top-notch amenities will definitely put you in vacation mode.

Plan for some genuine relaxation time

Couples massage

Nothing like a couples massage to relax.

Speaking of a little extra money in the budget, how does some spa time sound? Whether there’s one at your hotel or one in town you’ve been dying to give a shot, I highly recommend carving out some time for a treatment—even if you’re not a spa person. My wife never quite understood why people spend the money, but it only took one time for her to start singing a different tune. Just remember the “relax and reset” idea is most important. Maybe you can’t swing that massage and body wrap, but a trip to the botanical gardens or art museum might be just the ticket you needed to start relaxing.

Set aside time for wandering

Exploring your local museum

Ready to explore your own city?

As you go through all of the plans and experiences you’ve set up for yourself, you’re inevitably going to discover even more that you’d like to see and do. Try treating your staycation like it’s your first time visiting a new city. Explore new neighborhoods and nearby towns, wander into stores, get lost in nature and really discover what you have been missing. Whether it’s a couple of hours per day or an entire 24 hours, setting aside some unstructured time to check everything out is definitely something you’ll be glad you did.

Take your adventure virtual

If even a local hotel stay is out of your comfort zone right now, you can still recreate a fantastic staycation right at home. For example, maybe you were dreaming of taking the family to Italy last year. There are plenty of free virtual museum tours (consider this one of the Vatican), engaging city tours (we like this live tour of the coliseum in Rome), and even cooking classes (like this pizza-making class with chefs from Rome) that let you re-create the vibe. Many can be reserved directly through Travelocity. Then, to complete the experience, create a themed playlist or queue up some classic films set in your chosen destination (The Bicycle Thief or Roman Holiday, for example), and you’re ready for takeoff!

Joe Miragliotta

Joe Miragliotta

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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