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Staycation is an interesting word that is being heard more and more. I can’t remember where I first heard this word but I have been doing Staycations for years. I wonder how long we have to be using it before it makes into Webster’s Dictionary? Anyway I’m digressing! Back to staycations and the wonderfulness of them. Wonderfulness is that a word? Oh well the spell check says nothing wrong with it. Whoops off track again! I think I need a staycation!
Okay onto staycations. For those who don’t know what a staycation is; it is when you don’t go away for a vacation but you stay at home and use your house as your “hotel”. You can turn off the phones and disconnect from the world and either hide out in your own home, or just use it to sleep, shower, change and then leave and spend the day out and about sightseeing or doing activities that you love. You know how some hotels have sayings that basically mean “all the comforts of home” well your staycation is that…all the comforts of home!

Think about where you live…if people were coming in to visit your area what would you tell them to see and do? Have you seen and done these things? Have you wanted to? Treat your staycation planning the same way you would treat any vacation planning.  Staycations, like vacations, can be done on the cheap or can be very elaborate. I know of some people who do some pre-staycation decorating in their house, so it doesn’t seem like the “same ol’ place”. They may put fresh flowers throughout the house, make the house more “spa-like” with a few details changed, and decorate the dining table…even use the formal dining room table for all the meals and maybe a candlelit dinner or two. With just a few tweaks here and there you can change the look and feel of your home to give you that vacation feel. Now if you are getting up each morning and leaving for the day then you may not want to do any of that.

If you want to do staycations on the cheap then look at what is in your area that is free. I lived in the DC Metro area for 14 years and LOVED catching the metro into DC. There was so much to see and do that was free. You have all the monuments, the museums, the art galleries, the zoo, the Capitol; the list goes on and on. There were also some places that didn’t cost much to visit too. Then you had so many places where you could go for a day out. It was amazing how far you could drive in 2-3 hours. We did day trips to West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and DC. There was so much to see and do. If you are into history then you would love this area. You could go to Manassas Battlefield, Gettysburg, Williamsburg, DC, Charlottesville, and so many other places that are full of American History all within a 2-3 drive of Northern Virginia where we were living at the time.

Now we have been living in Los Angeles since June 2010 and I’m still figuring out how to get around! We have taken one day trip so far when we went up to Palmdale and drove through the area around there to see all the poppies and we found a lake and had a wonderful drive. We plan on doing more around the area, but that hasn’t stopped me researching what I can see and do so when we come to a staycation we just need to decide.

If you pull out a map of your state and surrounding states, look at the scale and figure out how far you can drive in 2-3 hours and draw a circle using where you live as the center of the circle. What is inside your circle that you can see and do? Is there a town or city that you want to explore, maybe you are into antique stores or flea markets – do any of these fall within your circle; maybe you like hiking – are there any parks and trails that you haven’t walked yet; maybe you’re a history buff – what historical sites, museums, etc. are in your circle; what events are taking place in your area that you would like to attend? There is so much out there to see and do and not many people are aware of what is within their reach. How well do you know your surrounding area? If I were to knock on your door today and ask you to be my tour guide in your area where would you take me, what would we see and do?

In getting to know my new “town” I have been doing some research on things to see and do. As most people know there is Disneyland and California Adventure, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo,  San Diego Zoo Safari Park, The Getty Center Los Angeles, Griffith Park, LA Zoo, La Brea Tar Pits, and the list goes on and on.

One site I did find during my research which I have since passed along to many people is This site gives you discounted passes to some of the local attraction in select cities. This site can help you save money if you want to visit the parks and attractions it has listed. Another interesting thing I found was by going to SeaWorld San Diego site not only did they have the City Pass for Southern California but they had other packages available too that included San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and Universal Studios Hollywood. By shopping around you can find some great deals to some of the attractions in your area.

What are some of your staycation ideas? One of my favorite winter staycations is to plan a movie fest in my own home. This is where we stock up on some healthy snack/finger foods and make some chili for hubby, soups, etc. and then we curl up and watch movies. We pick a movie or TV collection to watch and usually start around 10am in the morning and take breaks at the end of each movie or DVD. Some of our fests included James Bond, Star Wars, Back to the Future, Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, Star Trek, NCIS, Smallville, Coupling, Twilight Zone, etc. We have even picked themes and watched any movies within that theme. Makes a great staycation when it is raining heavily or snowing outside or you don’t feel like going out.

When was the last time you had a staycation? What is your favorite type of staycation? Let us know, maybe your ideas might help someone who lives nearby or is visiting your area.

Helen Brahms

World globetrotter, Helen Brahms, is your Luxury Travel Concierge. She specializes in creating unique once-in-a-lifetime travel memories and charity fundraising trips. Whether your travel dreams include exotic locations or time with your family, you can have it all. Helen loves to help people cross destinations off their travel bucket list before they take a dirt nap!

Helen is the host of the Have2Travel Radio Show ( and is the author of the book "Congratulations, You're Going On a Cruise! Now What?" and the co-author of the book "Passionistas Talk!: The Best of the Passion Point Interviews (Vol. 1)"


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