It’s August and you haven’t taken your summer vacation yet?
No worries — there’s still time for some R&R, even if you think you can’t afford it (nearly a third of workers blame finances for not using their time off).
With a little creativity and the right mindset, you can experience a lot of what you’d travel far and wide to find — without lost luggage, crowded hotels and maxed-out credit cards. Even if you don’t live in one of the best cities for a staycation (or even if you do live in one of the worst) you can still have a great getaway without going away.
Follow these three steps:
- Get in the right mindset. Make it a “real” vacation. Resist the urge to check in at work and don’t invite interruptions by telling co-workers, “I’m not doing anything so call if you need me.” Set your out-of-office message on your email and phone before you leave. Which leads to …
- Limit technology. Take a personal or family pledge to check email briefly only once a day, pocket cell phones and unplug video games. Don’t let your digital devices be crutches for boredom. And that’s why you should …
- Mix planned and unplanned time. Adhering to a strict itinerary may seem too much like, well, work. On the other hand, a totally blank calendar may leave you aimless and bored. Plus, some fun stuff takes a little advance planning. Here are some relatively low- or no-cost ideas to try:
- Visit parks, museums, zoos, aquariums, historic sites or art galleries in your area or within a couple hours’ drive.
- Read the latest best-seller or catch up on movies for free from your local library.
- Treat yourself to a massage or new hairstyle at the spa or salon.
- Going camping — in the back yard.
- Check out that new restaurant or pub you’ve been meaning to try.
- Up your game with a few golf or tennis lessons.
- Learn a new hobby or skill — painting, photography — with a class at a community college.
- Host family or friends for a game or cards night.
- Hit the pool, lake or beach.
- Tackle a home improvement project you’ve been putting off.
- Try a new food or recipe every night.
- Cross something off your bucket list, like sky-diving (yes, a tandem jump is pricey but think of all the money you’re saving on gas and hotels).