One of the cool things about becoming a couple is forming your own traditions. When Mr. E and I started dating, we had Sunday date night of dinner and ice cream at our favorite local shops. There were Tuesday night Beat the Clocks (which is another story for another time). And a few years ago we started Staycation.
The origin of Staycation is simple: we live at the Jersey Shore. A destination where thousands of people pay money to vacation every year. As full-time residents (a.k.a. Locals), we sometimes take our home base location for granted. We may even get cranky at the visitors that come our way. After all, they’re clogging up our roadways, parking spots, beaches, restaurants, and bars. Often the goal is to avoid being in these crowded spots. However, many years ago we realize that if people are coming all this way to our town, we should be taking advantage of it too. And so Staycation began.
The beauty of Staycation is quite simple. No travel expenses. We don’t pay for hotel room. We already have cars and bikes to get around. Thanks to the wonders of Uber and Lyft, going out at night got more enjoyable because Mr E and I didn’t have to play Rock, Paper, Scissors for who would have to be the night’s DD. The money we save allows us to enjoy the nicer restaurants on our Must Visit list, indulge in a few extra cocktails, and do activities that we may avoid because they’re “tourist traps” such as local museums or parasailing.
Even if you don’t live in a beach town, Staycation is something I recommend most couples take once a year. Staycation is really quite simple. It starts with taking a week off from work and live like a tourist in your own home or town. I block my calendar out for the week like any other vacation. Once you’ve picked your week off, there’s a couple of rules to abide by for truly enjoying Staycation.
THE RULES OF STAYCATION
#1: No Daily Responsibilities
Think about all the things you do on a daily basis that don’t happen while on vacation. No doctor appointments, hair cuts, or mundane errands. Daily household chores like laundry or cleaning the house are not happening. All of these things are put on hold for the Staycation week with the exception of one thing — the bed always gets made (I keep threatening one of these years I’m going to hire a housekeeping service to come in while on Staycation to make the bed and do turndown service to pump up our experience).
#2: No Cooking
A huge factor for me is the no cooking of meals. One of the best parts of being on vacation is dining out experiencing new restaurants and foods. And most importantly, NO CLEANUP.
There are a few exceptions to this rule. The first is we always buy food to make lunch for the beach. Sometimes items for a quick breakfast or snack. That’s nothing new as we do that every time we go on vacation. The other exception is the occasional night of grilling. Many times while on a “real” vacation, our hotel has grill access or a kitchenette, so we like to buy local seafood and vegetables to cook in the comfort of our room. Sometimes we like to just enjoy the local fare without dealing with the hassle of going out. And quite frankly other nights you just need a night off from eating out at restaurants. All those meals out can quickly subtract from your wallet while adding to the waistline.
#3: No Alarm Clocks
Take a snooze from your morning wake up call! Enjoy lazy mornings in bed together. When is the last time you did that several days in a row?
#4: No Working
Every year this is by far the hardest role to follow over the week. Let’s face it: when you’re home and have access to your computer, devices, and files, it’s hard to step away because you can still see it. When you’re away on vacation, it’s out of sight, out of mind and you respect the time away more. However, when I see my computer staring at me, I start feeling guilty for not checking in on a few things. And that’s where the real discipline beings.
Wonderful devices like smart phones have made it harder to detach. I can sit on the beach and still do work. I know it’s more beneficial taking time away, but it’s so easy to accessing from anywhere and turn the devices off. So there are definitely times in the day when I had to lock my phone up in a car or my beach bag to unplug. After all, my goal for Staycation week is reading books and magazines on the beach while enjoying the benefits of being on vacation.
Some ways to keep the work to a minimum while on Staycation:
- Activate an out of the office response on email so people are aware you are in fact on vacation
- Alert people in advance you will be on on vacation to limit any contact unless an emergency
- Designate no more than 3 times per day day to check emails and social media
- Scheduling programs and apps for emails and social media are your vacation buddies to keep business moving while you’re mentally away
- SHUT DOWN YOUR COMPUTER! Your battery can use a rest too!
#5: Eat & Drink Like You’re on Vacation
One of the best parts of going on vacation is enjoying local cuisine while indulging in desserts and a couple extra cocktails outside of your normal routine. That’s part of getting away. Take time away from rules and regulations that you set for yourself and enjoy time relaxing. You’re not going to completely ruin yourself or any work that you’ve done if you choose to indulge in a bit, but remember vacation is not permanent. Even though Staycation was an opportunity to enjoy local establishments, next week we are back to our normal routines at the gym, cooking meals, having salads at every dinner, and balancing out our plates. I don’t believe that anyone on vacation should feel upset, angry, or deprived because of fear. Vacations are fun. Food is fun. Enjoy it all, enjoy yourself, and most importantly enjoy each other.
HAVE YOU EVER DONE A STAYCATION?
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE ON YOUR STAYCATION?
HOW DO YOU LIMIT WORK WHILE ON STAYCATION?
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