Monday, March 16, 2009

Staycation Getaway

This past weekend the weather was absolutely beautiful for March. It was around 50 degrees and sunny. The snow is almost all melted and the birds are chirping. I took a really nice long walk with Tim on Saturday and took time to sit in the sun yesterday multiple times. It's amazing how much having the sunshine out can lift your spirits and make life seem less stressful. I imagine that is why many people head down south when they retire. My aunt and uncle just bought a home down in Alabama, and my grandparents used to vacation for a few months either in Florida or Arizona in the winter. I sure wouldn't mind having a getaway like that.

But really, we can have our own getaway right where we reside if we don't have the cash to travel far away or the time to retreat for months on end. I read an article this weekend about "Staycations." It's basically where you stay right where you are and form a vacation around you. You do this by setting aside vacation time and making the environment you are in, like your home, a place that reflects relaxation and vacation like qualities. You turn off your phone, computer, and TV and create some silence. You may buy lots of fresh fruits and veggies, or treats like fresh fish, or food items that you normally wouldn't splurge on as regularly. You may place candles around and plan time for a bath, a spa day to get a manicure, or go shopping at places you've always wanted to go.

One of the best and cheapest ways to vacation on a tight budget is to go to places that are right in the city you live in. You might not realize that there are museums, parks, and attractions right in your own back yard. Take some time to research ahead of time your area like you are a visitor from out of state. You'll be surprised what you find.

Tim and I did a "staycation" for our 2nd anniversary. We planned out a four day weekend that didn't involve booking a hotel. We stayed at our apartment, but went out each day to a new place. One of the days we went to a bunch of little towns along the Wisconsin and Minnesota border. We shopped in a little antique mall, took some pictures along the river, went to a vineyard to taste wine and talked about the future. Another day we found a path that led to a little waterfall we heard about, and ate at a little Mexican restaurant that reminded us where we met and our honeymoon which was in the Mayan Riviera. We also went to an aquarium and did some shopping. One of the nights we made a meal together and another night we got takeout and ate on our living room floor like it was a picnic.

Now this idea of taking a vacation right in your own home isn't free, but much less expensive than booking plane tickets or staying in a hotel. It does require you to have some plans ahead of time so you know what you might do, but also allows you to be a bit more spontaneous and have the option to simple just read a book or take a nap if you choose. How many of us can say we do that on a regular day? If we were to do that in a hotel room that cost $150 or more a night we might feel like we were wasting our money. There just isn't that guilt involved on a "staycation." You can literally do whatever you want to do.

So, next time the sun is or isn't shining to your liking and you are in need of a getaway, just close your eyes and imagine where you would like to be. When you open your eyes, check in your wallet and see how much money you have and decide whether a vacation down south, or a "staycation" is the way to go.

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