Author Topic: Staycation vs Vacation  (Read 3400 times)

Count of San Francisco

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Staycation vs Vacation
« on: April 25, 2018, 12:29:35 PM »
First things first, I NEED vacations and a chunk of time away from work.  But it used to be the case I thought a vacation needed to be a travel to someplace new, some exotic place, or some tourist attraction. 

But lately I feel like I'm getting just as much enjoyment from staycations.  Recently DW and I took a week off from work, and didn't leave town.  Instead each day we just checked out a new museum, some landmark we may have not seen before, new restaurants, shopping etc.  I feel like we had just as much fun/enjoyment as taking an exotic international trip.  Seemed like the key to us was just being able to take some time off work and try out some new experiences, even if they are in our own backyard.

I also think travel itself is becoming a bigger hassle, which may influence my opinion.  Airports are so crowded, flying is not fun, and even the roads seem more crowded if/when we decide to drive.

Of course, I think this works for us because we live in a large metropolitan area with lots of things to do and see.  I used to live in a very small rural town, and a staycation there wouldn't be much of anything. 

Thought I'd get others' thoughts on this.

honeybbq

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2018, 12:32:30 PM »
Being a tourist in your own city can be really, really fun.

I know sometimes driving around I see a coffee shop, restaurant, art gallery, etc. that I've never tried and would like to.  We have free museum days here - usually midweek- that I've never had time for.  It can certainly be cheap and fun and less hassle.

I also live in a big city so there's a never ending list of fun things to do.

Malkynn

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2018, 12:41:28 PM »
Iím not sure what kind of thoughts you are looking for, but yeah, staycations are great, especially if you need to relax and recover from intense work because travel can be exhausting.

mm1970

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2018, 01:24:59 PM »
We've also been doing more of these.

We live in coastal Southern california, so...not a bad place to live.

We have two kids.
Flying is a pain, we do it once a year, tops.
Travel is expensive.
The 12 year old gets carsick (do you know what flaming hot cheetos look like coming back up? Trust me, not pretty.)
Any kind of destination that we like (Legoland, Joshua Tree) involves several hours of driving.  At least 4, up to 6.

I guess we are all sort of homebodies?

After evacuating a couple of times during the fires, we opted to stay put at Christmas and spring break.

It was pretty glorious to just grab a pizza, go get a glass of wine, go to the beach. 

A few comments though:
1.  It can be hard to decompress when you are still in town and answering emails.  We did not untether, and in fact worked 3/5 days we were in town. 
2.  Our Thanksgiving trip, we drove to Arizona.  Camping, Grand Canyon, visiting family.  The distance and the untethering was very very relaxing.  (As an aside, I am stressed and  I don't sleep, and I take sleeping pills.  During the Arizona vacation and for 2 weeks after, no need for them.  Then the fires started...)
3.  We opted for a "fun" day of games and mini-golf at a nearby town, and shouldn't have bothered.  It was too expensive and we all got hungry and cranky.

When it comes right down to it, I like exploring far more than the husband and kids.  I'd honestly go on a summer trip, Thanksgiving or Christmas, and Spring break every year.  Although they are work (camping gear, or cooking at an AirBNB, long drives to AZ or UT, or flying to CO...) they let me decompress in a way that staying in town does not normally do.  (as well anyway).

Anyway, we are probably more on the 1 to 2x a year schedule now.  Every other summer we go to the east coast to visit family for 2 weeks (drive to LAX, fly to city 1, spend a week, figure out how to get to city 2 eight hours away by either train or rental car, but my family is 2 hours from anywhere, spend a week with his family in city 2, fly back to LAX, drive home).  Alternate summers we do "something else".  (Next summer: Europe?  We think?  Haven't been since 2002, kids have never been, husband has family there.)

The 2nd trip is generally within driving distance in CA - San Fran, Yosemite, Mammoth, June Lake, Legoland, Joshua Tree, Palm Springs... though we have ventured as far as UT or AZ - that's tough because it's 2 days driving each way.

To make my staycations fun, I ask myself - what do I like about vacations away?
1.  Breakfast in the hotel.  Namely, free breakfast that I don't have to prepare or do the dishes for.  Also: I can go down while everyone else is sleeping and eat in peace.
To duplicate this at home:  Buy easy things or prep them ahead.  I can't eat wheat, so I might treat myself with some bakery gluten free bread, bagels, or muffins.  Or make up a frittata at the beginning. 

2.  A meal out once a day.  I don't really like this but the family does, so we do it.

3.  The hotel pool.  I haven't really found a way to duplicate this - the YMCA pool is not quite the same.  I'm sure there may be ways to get into local hotel pools (heck, I'd be happy to pay a day-fee!)

4.  Nature.  I like camping and hiking.  So, during staycations we'll go for a hike/ walk.  Instead of camping, we might go to the beach and watch the sunset, so you get that "outdoors" thing and then go home and make cocoa.
I also like to go for walks on vacation to explore, and will do the same at home.

5.  Books.  In order to get extra time to just read, yes sadly I have to let the kids have extra screen time.

6.  Adventure.  Instead of a rafting trip "somewhere else", use that kayaking gift card at the harbor.

7.  Go out for ice cream at least once.

undercover

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2018, 10:00:58 PM »
It depends. The last thing someone who's burnt out from work needs to do is pack an extensive vacation into a 1-2 week period. It just doesn't make sense. If you have a lot of time and can take it slow, getting away is definitely nice. But yes, of course there's plenty to do around wherever you are even if you have to drive 1-2 hours.

I've accumulated 100k Southwest points thru credit cards and have the companion pass and I don't even really have a desire to use it. The plane ticket is the smallest expense when you consider a rental car + lodging + doing whatever it is you went to the place for. I'm thinking about just cashing in for gift cards which is a terrible value but it just gets harder and harder to justify. On the plus side we do have an awesome airport near us which is hardly busy and very easy to get in and out of and goes most everywhere.

PhilB

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2018, 07:01:59 AM »
I like to have the best of both worlds - a staycation somewhere else.

My perfect holiday is to rent a cottage by water then try not to use the car for anything other than transporting us - plus bikes and kayaks - to the cottage.  Chill out and explore the immediate local area rather than spend hours every day travelling to different 'attractions'.  We also take the Wii for mega-karaoke sessions if the weather's bad.

mak1277

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2018, 07:06:33 AM »
A few comments though:
1.  It can be hard to decompress when you are still in town and answering emails.  We did not untether, and in fact worked 3/5 days we were in town. 


This is the key for me.  If you can do a staycation and actually act like you're on vacation, great.  If you end up working or doing household chores, then it's a loss in my mind.

BookLoverL

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2018, 07:09:53 AM »
I like the idea of staycation or of a simple vacation, but I definitely think that either way you should turn off all phones that people who will ask you to work might ring you on, and also not answer any work emails.

mathlete

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2018, 07:59:58 AM »
Right now I'm in travel-travel-travel mode. I'm a bit of a homebody on weekends these days, so I feel like I get plenty of free time in my own city. I can definitely see gravitating towards staycations as I get older though.

Sibley

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2018, 08:21:59 AM »
I prefer staycations. It's a lot of work to organize a trip, and I generally just don't want to bother. Plus, I've got a ton of projects at home that I can happily work on, and it would nice to finish some of them up.

Of course, there's plenty of sit on the couch and be lazy happening too, I promise.

Livingthedream55

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2018, 08:48:15 AM »
Sometimes when I'm home I find it hard not to see the chores or cleaning that needs to be done so sometimes I'll just go away just by myself somewhere less than an hour drive from home (find a modest hotel) and just decompress for a few days. Sleep in, read, splurge on some restaurant meals, stay off emails, explore, take walks, etc. Simple, easy, restorative.

Rosy

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2018, 09:23:24 AM »
Staycation can be fun and relaxing if you do a little planning ahead of time. Where we live it is easy, we just play tourist.
I read somewhere that we don't truly unwind from the stress of a challenging job until we've been off work for three weeks or 21 days. Then we un-tether mentally and accept vacation mode.

I think it is good for us to do some of both - sometimes we simply need rest and a staycation, other times we need revitalization and a real get away from our normal lives.
My next and last long trip is two months in Europe meeting with old friends, playing tourist and hanging out. After that, it will be two-week vacations together in the states until he retires and lots of staycations for Mr. R.

nick663

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2018, 09:49:40 AM »
My problem with "staycations" is that I find it difficult to unplug from day to day life.  I need separation to prevent me from working on projects/chores around the house.

TempusFugit

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2018, 04:30:14 PM »
I've staycationed both of my last week-long vacations, most recently just a couple weeks ago.   

I love the comforts of home and being able to meet friends to play golf in the afternoon (I have some self-employed friends who can escape for a quick 9-hole round at 4:00 on a weekday) and then go out on the town to nice restaurants without the stress of having to get up the next day and go to work.  It's also easier to rationalize spending on fun stuff like nice restaurants if you aren't also buying plane tickets and hotel rooms. 

They key for me is the weather.  I have to do staycationing last minute so I can have confidence that the weather will be nice.  I can then spend the day outside on my bike or sitting on the deck reading and maybe doing a little day drinking :-b   

I do enjoy occasionally going someplace more exotic than my hometown, like NYC, SF, or New Orleans but honestly travel is such a pain in the butt these days.  The stress of having to get to the airport and deal with all the nonsense is a high overhead to pay.   It happened that I had to travel for work a couple of times in quick succession at the end of last year, so that kind of deterred me from planning another trip for vacation.  There's only so much airport and airplane seat nonsense that I can tolerate in any year. 

I also like to think of a staycation as a little FIRE experiment.  Before I pull the RE trigger in a few years, I plan to take at least a couple of 2-3 week vacations, mostly of the staycation variety, just to see if I start to get bored and restless. 

As some have mentioned, the key to a successful staycation is to stay unplugged from work.  Completely unplugged.  No email checking.  My last vacay I made the mistake of joining a conference call on the Monday of my vacation week because I really needed to be on the call, but it messed up the vacation zone transition and it was Thursday before I felt like I was in the relaxation mode.  I find that for me, it takes about 4 days to get into that zone.  Any disruption by work resets that clock. 

redbird

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2018, 11:22:36 PM »
I live in a college town, so honestly there's not too much going on here. There's a surprisingly good arts scene, but that's really it. I don't get as much out of a "staycation" here as I did in the DC area, for example.

I don't mind driving to places for vacations though. It's just the vacations that require flying that I hate. I hate dealing with the TSA/airport nonsense and I hate the hours in a metal tube. The vacation has to be super exciting for me to consider flying. The people who fly to Orlando to go to Disney World, for example... Theme parks can be fun, but I don't get enough out of them to deal with the torture of flying for them. I'd DRIVE to Orlando for Disney, but not fly.

gerardc

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2018, 12:31:29 AM »
As some have mentioned, the key to a successful staycation is to stay unplugged from work.  Completely unplugged.  No email checking.  My last vacay I made the mistake of joining a conference call on the Monday of my vacation week because I really needed to be on the call, but it messed up the vacation zone transition and it was Thursday before I felt like I was in the relaxation mode.  I find that for me, it takes about 4 days to get into that zone.  Any disruption by work resets that clock.

Last time I went on vacation I kept working late on Friday night right before my Saturday morning flight to finish up on stuff and it was horrible. The mental "ripples" (work-related thoughts) kept coming well into early in that week. Next time I'll make sure to slack off on Thursday and Friday (we can all afford to sometimes) before I leave to try and reset that clock a little earlier.

TartanTallulah

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2018, 03:17:20 AM »
I've learned that I need to put some physical distance between me and my workplace or I'll end up working. Earlier this year DH and I had a staycation because I was too exhausted from work to arrange anything involving packing and travel. I went into work on two days that week. I've now booked and planned our remaining vacations this year and will be putting at least a five-hour drive between me and work.

A few weeks ago, two of my colleagues were wrangling because one of them needed to take a day off for a hospital appointment during a week I had booked off in September and the other objected, very reasonably, to being left short-handed. "I could shorten my vacation and solve the problem," I thought. Then caught myself indulging in martyrdom, booked a cottage for a week and car ferry trips both ways, and told my colleague to do what anyone else would do and reschedule the hospital appointment. It's not as if it isn't plenty of notice.

When work is no longer an issue we'll staycation more, because we love where we live and there's no bed quite like your own bed.

jlcnuke

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2018, 06:49:23 AM »
My problem with "staycations" is that I find it difficult to unplug from day to day life.  I need separation to prevent me from working on projects/chores around the house.

+1

I do ~4 week-long staycations each year, and try to use my other 3 weeks of PTO on actual travel. The staycations I call "better than nothing", but I get nowhere close to the same level of relaxation/happiness as I do on an actual vacation because there's always stuff to do that just doesn't get taken care of when working full-time and a week "off" is the ideal time to take care of all that stuff. Weekends are also use to try and fit in some of the funs stuff to do in my area, so there isn't much near home (if anything) that I'd want to do "touristy" left, despite living in a pretty decent sized metro-area.

DreamFIRE

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2018, 07:33:44 AM »

I like staycations or at least traveling within a short drive - maybe a couple hours.  Anytime I've traveled somewhere in the past for visiting, vacation, work, etc., I've looked forward to getting back home.   I have to check emails and be available for work calls because I handle things that no one else can.  One thing that I look forward to in FIRE is not to have that hanging over my head since vacations don't really free me from work.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2018, 07:49:11 AM »
I did a staycation during the summer vacation with my kids a few years ago.  We just did kid friendly stuff as they were quite little (5 and 2 I think) and dragging them around tourist attractions is not my idea of fun.  Went to the pool and beach, went to the kids' museum twice (air conditioned!), went out for ice cream and met other kids in playgrounds.  It was nice and I didn't check work email once as everyone thought I was on an actual vacation.  I didn't lie to my colleagues but I didn't spell it out for them that I was going to stay here the whole time.

For anyone with a martyr complex about work this could be hard though.  My colleagues bitch and moan about me being away as we are a very small department but I stand my ground if I have vacation planned.  I cover for them when they're away and I expect them to do the same for me.

sui generis

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2018, 10:01:25 PM »
I like the concept of staycations, but I don't think they work for me.  I don't have a problem ignoring work (anymore than on a regular vacation), but I just slide into my regular home habits and can't really get in vacation mindset. Means I'm more likely to find myself wandering aimlessly on the internet, while if I was in a cabin on the beach in Tahoe, just a couple hours drive away, I'd be relaxing my way through a big pile of books.  I have a harder time making myself get out to a local walk, because it'll always be there, whereas just a ways away, I need to go then or I might not go at all. 

However, I really appreciate this post because I haven't really thought this through before articulating this right now, and I think my upcoming RE is *really dependent* on getting out of the stale at-home attitude I have on some weekend days.  I need to make myself get out for that walk in the hills, or reserve the free museum pass from my library or window shop the local book and art stores here like I would in some artsy town/city.  I'm not sure if, when I RE, I can try to force myself into an attitude of being on staycation (whenever I am not on actual vacation), but some way to get to that attitude seems important!

gerardc

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2018, 10:29:56 PM »
I like the concept of staycations, but I don't think they work for me.  I don't have a problem ignoring work (anymore than on a regular vacation), but I just slide into my regular home habits and can't really get in vacation mindset. Means I'm more likely to find myself wandering aimlessly on the internet, while if I was in a cabin on the beach in Tahoe, just a couple hours drive away, I'd be relaxing my way through a big pile of books.  I have a harder time making myself get out to a local walk, because it'll always be there, whereas just a ways away, I need to go then or I might not go at all. 

However, I really appreciate this post because I haven't really thought this through before articulating this right now, and I think my upcoming RE is *really dependent* on getting out of the stale at-home attitude I have on some weekend days.  I need to make myself get out for that walk in the hills, or reserve the free museum pass from my library or window shop the local book and art stores here like I would in some artsy town/city.  I'm not sure if, when I RE, I can try to force myself into an attitude of being on staycation (whenever I am not on actual vacation), but some way to get to that attitude seems important!

I'm not sure changing that mindset at home is really possible. You're used to that environment, you're comfortable, so your habits will prevail. It's hard to change habits. The easiest is to start fresh elsewhere, jump into a new world, get some adventure. Travelling the world! Best way to combat inertia, build a new life.

Staying in your old house post-FIRE would be like a spouse who was abused for 20 years finally divorce but stay in the same marital home will all the bad memories. You don't want that.

sui generis

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2018, 10:45:26 PM »
I like the concept of staycations, but I don't think they work for me.  I don't have a problem ignoring work (anymore than on a regular vacation), but I just slide into my regular home habits and can't really get in vacation mindset. Means I'm more likely to find myself wandering aimlessly on the internet, while if I was in a cabin on the beach in Tahoe, just a couple hours drive away, I'd be relaxing my way through a big pile of books.  I have a harder time making myself get out to a local walk, because it'll always be there, whereas just a ways away, I need to go then or I might not go at all. 

However, I really appreciate this post because I haven't really thought this through before articulating this right now, and I think my upcoming RE is *really dependent* on getting out of the stale at-home attitude I have on some weekend days.  I need to make myself get out for that walk in the hills, or reserve the free museum pass from my library or window shop the local book and art stores here like I would in some artsy town/city.  I'm not sure if, when I RE, I can try to force myself into an attitude of being on staycation (whenever I am not on actual vacation), but some way to get to that attitude seems important!

I'm not sure changing that mindset at home is really possible. You're used to that environment, you're comfortable, so your habits will prevail. It's hard to change habits. The easiest is to start fresh elsewhere, jump into a new world, get some adventure. Travelling the world! Best way to combat inertia, build a new life.

Staying in your old house post-FIRE would be like a spouse who was abused for 20 years finally divorce but stay in the same marital home will all the bad memories. You don't want that.

Oh gosh, well, it's not as bad as an abused spouse!  And I hope it's not hopeless, because I kinda have to stay here.  My partner loves his job and won't be retiring. I'll travel a lot, but I like having a home base and I *really* like having him in my life. 

Actually, he did tell me that if I wouldn't/couldn't stay here, he'd figure something out to follow me, because he doesn't love his job more than me.  But I don't feel anywhere near negative enough about home to force that decision on him.  At least not yet.  I'm gonna give it the old college try to take more pleasure in my hometown, like I would a vacation town, and I guess we'll see how it goes!

Malkynn

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2018, 05:57:37 AM »
Itís absolutely possible to change your mindset about pretty much anything.

Iím on staycation right now and I virtually forget that I have a day job. I donít find it hard at all to be in my home and feel completely detached from my normal routine.

Behaviour and habits are rather simple to change if you learn enough about human behaviour, thought patterns, and techniques for managing them. Realizing that all thought patterns and all states of mind are a choice gives you a lot of control over how you experience your life.

Trimatty471

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2018, 10:43:16 PM »
My friends and I plan to book a room for a night or weekend at a nearby hotel.  I am so looking forward to it.  I just want to hang around a pool and a hot tub and maybe order room service.  Nothing extravagant. 

In fact, I plan to book my own room later this year.  No hassle,  no phones or emails, and no stress.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2018, 02:37:33 AM »
You might have a look at this thread:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/i-don't-understand-cabin-ownership/

I find travelling by car to a simple style cabin also gives a relaxing vacation. Travel by air plane is a LOT more stressful than driving in your car for a few hours on a quiet road. But you are still away from your usual place, to get some new scenery. And it might not be so expensive, compared to international travel to a exotic location and staying in hotels.

But I do understand very well what you mean. I am currently in the situation that the month May has a lot of potentially long weekends. We have taken all the sandwiched-between-holiday working days off and have 3 long weekends in a row. We have been travelling away all of these, by car. One weekend to our cabin, one to a familiar canoeing area, and the next one will be later today to the west coast.
All nice and well. But At the moment the nature around our house is also very nice. I want to do a pile of stuff at home and really feel I don't have the time for that. Luxury problem, I know...

Sibley

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2018, 09:50:28 AM »
Well, I'm in the middle of a staycation right now. Did a BUNCH of errands, various appointments. Sat around most of yesterday with one of my kitties (she's not feeling well, had a vet appt this morning for meds to help). Going outside in a few to make my own shaker table from some screen and an old window frame I got for free, then see if the peagravel has dried out enough to put it through the shaker.

The only thing I haven't done yet is sleep in past 7am, but that's WAY better than the usual 5am.

Astreja

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2018, 01:25:23 PM »
I do a bit of both.  I'm doing a staycation for the Victoria Day long weekend coming up, but going on a short trip in June to a conference.

When staying home, I take the opportunity to do in-town projects that have to be done during regular business hours.  Most of my spending involves trying out interesting-looking coffee shops.

When travelling I focus on experiences such as museums or concerts, and go cheap on accommodations.  I generally travel with a small carry-on backpack and one purse, and stay at a hostel.

MrSeven

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Re: Staycation vs Vacation
« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2018, 10:06:21 AM »
I still think there is something to getting out of town... feels like you are leaving work behind and there is a sense of relaxation as you drive away. However, with that said I do think a staycation once in a while is a good thing. We live very close to the Rocky mountains and you forget how many people travel from all over the world to come here. I agree with one of one of the point stated at the beginning of the thread -> if you stay home then you certainly need to unplug!