How to Have a Great Staycation

Thinking you might not be able to get away this year, but not looking forward to staying at home again? I’ve got some ideas for you about how to make your staycation week extra special.

A clean bed
Change all your beds so you can enjoy clean sheets on the first night of your staycation
Prepare for your guests

Clean your house as though you were expecting guests to arrive. Treat yourself as you would others. If friends or family were arriving you’d clean the house from top to bottom, put clean sheets on the bed and provide fresh towels. When you’re the guest why treat yourself any different? We all feel a lot happier in a clean environment and you’ll enjoy your week so much more if you are happy in your accommodation. Nice touches can be to buy some flowers and order a daily or Sunday newspaper.

Box of cakes
Make sure you’ve get plenty of treats in
Enjoy Some Treats

Long leisurely lunches or dinners with a nice bottle of wine are what most of us look forward to when we’re on holiday. Going out for a meal may or may not be an option during your staycation. It might be that you live in an area where lockdown is still in place, or maybe you’re just watching the pennies. There are other ways to treat yourself.

Perhaps you could buy some more ready-prepared food than you normally would do. Some indulgent desserts or even just a pizza and garlic bread. Your budget might not stretch to a three-course meal at a fancy restaurant, but you could have a takeaway or even just fish and chips.

As well as treats for main meals, stock up on other goodies such as biscuits, cakes, crisps and your favourite tipple. Don’t forget breakfast. How about a fry up on a Sunday morning or making some pancakes?

phone showing email
Decide whether you’re going to allow work to interrupt your week or not
Set some rules

The difference between having a staycation and just being at home for the week is that you need to behave as though you were away on holiday. It’s up to you to decide what that means. Agree with the rest of the family what the rules are. They might be no work i.e. work phone off and no checking work email. Remember there’s no need to get up early, not unless you want to and you certainly shouldn’t be doing chores. If you’ve cleaned the house before the staycation you shouldn’t need to anyway.

ordnance survey maps
Get one of these and explore your local area
Plan your Activities

The basic rule when it comes to staycation activities is to explore your local area. You may be surprised with what’s on your doorstep and none of it needs to be expensive. Buy an ordnance survey map, or an A-Z if you live in a city, and either plan a route or just wander. You could get a nature guide out of the library to help you explore the great outdoors or some books about your area.  You might find one about local walks or historical sites that you can visit. Does your local town have a town walk? If so you’ll probably find the details on the internet. If you’ve always wanted to be a photographer why not take some photos when you’re out.

Other ideas for outdoor activities are cycling, hiking, going for a picnic or playing games in the local park such as rounders or football.

Activities at home include watching an episode or two a day of a box set over the week, having a games afternoon or doing some baking. Never get time to read? Choose a novel or two to immerse yourself in for a few days. If you’ve got enough space and own a tent, how about camping out in your garden? This is particularly good if you’ve got young children, who will enjoy the excitement of being outdoors for the night. How about having a stay-at-home spa day? Treat yourself to a facial, manicure or a massage – even if you’re on your own you can massage your feet. Buy a special hair treatments and have a relaxing bubble bath. Treat yourself to homemade afternoon tea, with little sandwiches, cake and even champagne or at least some cava.

I hope that you’ve got some good ideas for how to enjoy your next staycation, whether it’s enforced as a result of lock down or a choice if you’re trying to save money.

If you want some more ideas check out this post by Emma or my post about Having a Holiday on a Budget

Want to learn more about life coaching and how to design your life? Why not check out ‘Grow You’, Natalie Bacon’s life coaching programme (affiliate link).

Having a Holiday on a Budget

suitcase and laptop
We all like our holidays, but they can be expensive

There is a lot of information on the internet about reducing spending on your holiday e.g. house-sitting, accruing credit card points to get flights, but this is not for everyone and it’s not something that I have got around to exploring yet. What I have done though is to try and reduce our spending on our regular holidays. I therefore thought that I would share with you some ideas about how to cut your spending.

Holiday in a cheap area

Our holiday destinations are somewhat random due to the fact that Mr Simple bought a load of ordnance survey maps a few years ago when they had a two for one offer. Many of them remain unused. Recently I have started selecting a few and getting him to choose one. I then arrange a holiday in that area. We find that accommodation in the north of England often tends to cost less than in the south.

house in the trees
Renting a house lets
Self-cater

Stay in a house or flat rather than a hotel or bed and breakfast e.g. with AirBnB. This is usually cheaper per night. It also allows you to cook some of your own meals instead of having to fork out for food every evening. Since trying to cut our household costs I have started shopping at Tesco, whereas before we used Waitrose. As a treat for holidays I do the shopping in Waitrose. In that way, even though we are catering for ourselves some of the meals/snacks/treats are nicer than we usually have.

Stay in small accommodation

Last year we stayed in a one-bedroom cottage. It had one main room downstairs with the lounge and kitchen area. The eating area was a breakfast bar with stools. The bedroom was small with very little clearance between the end of the bed and the wall. Mr Simple had to shuffle around to his side all the time, including the in the middle of the night when he needed a wee. I did offer to swap sides with him, but he said that he wouldn’t be able to sleep if we did that. The size of the cottage made us appreciate our much larger home when we came back from that holiday.

knife chopping herbs
Cooking for yourself is so much cheaper than going out every night
Cook your own meals for the majority of the week

We tend to have a meal at a pub on the way to our holiday accommodation, as it breaks up the journey. It feels less tiring when you’ve had a break. Also, you don’t have to cook a meal when you arrive, as you’ve already had your main meal of the day. We then have one day during the week where we visit a town and have a long lunch. We then stop for food on the way home. Outside of these times we cook meals in the cottage.

Plan your meals

Menu plan thoroughly so that you take as much of the food that you need as you can. You can’t take everything as some things e.g. bread, will go off, but you can take the majority. If you plan well you won’t have to pop out to the local shop. That is likely to be expensive and may involve using petrol, to get items that you have forgotten. Cooking is so much easier when you have a plan, which is also the case when you are at home.

Hiking is a great way to explore the local area and is free
Do free activities

These include walking in the countryside, cycling and birdwatching. If you followed our staycation last March you will know that Mr Simple and I enjoy these activities, which are usually free. If the countryside isn’t your thing then maybe try city/town walking tours or parks. You can usually pick up a leaflet from the local tourist information office. They often take you to interesting parts of the town that you may not discover on your own. When Mr Simple and I are on holiday in France I have often dragged him around the town to work up an appetite for dinner.

Check what is provided

Before you go check with the cottage owners what is available in the accommodation so that you take everything that you need. Be as specific as you can. A couple of years ago I asked if they provided toilet roll, to which the answer was ‘yes’. When we got there they provided only one roll, which obviously didn’t last for the week. Now I ask, ‘Do you provide toilet roll and if so how many?’ They probably think that I am a bit of a pain, but previously we have ended up having to buy more when I had loads in the cupboard at home that I could have taken with us.

If they provide it – use it

Often I take food items with us, only to find that they are provided. We always use these first before using our own ones.

tea and cake
Enjoy your treats back at your holiday cottage
Take plenty of treats

Buy treats to have in the cottage so you’re not tempted to stop at a café for tea and cake on your way home or go to the pub every evening.

Go out for lunch instead of dinner

When you go out for a meal make it lunch rather than dinner. You will find that restaurants do a cheaper lunch menu, usually with slightly smaller portions, but in my book that’s good as I can then manage three courses. This is one of my favourite things – lingering over a long lunch.

So there we are, just a few ideas for keeping more of those pennies in your pocket when you go away. I hope you found something useful and I would be interested to know how you keep your spending under control when you are on holiday.