Out Of Office

8 Creative Staycation Ideas That’ll Feel Like A True Vacation

No matter what, do not think about work.

by Jessica Goodman
Staycation ideas that feel like a vacation.
Lais Borges/Bustle; Stocksy

When travel costs are high and there’s just no time to plan a trip across the world, settling in for a staycation in your apartment can help you get all the benefits of an island jaunt without leaving your few-block radius.

“An important element of a relaxing staycation is the feeling of luxury in a self-care way,” says Beth Diana Smith, CEO and principal designer of Beth Diana Smith Interior Design. “This means asking yourself what makes you feel your best.” Maybe it’s an at-home spa day or an all-afternoon baking marathon. Maybe it means reading a dozen novels that have been on your TBR or catching up on the new rom-com series you see all over TikTok.

No matter how you like to chill out, a few key elements are nonnegotiables: Have as little “thinking about work” time as possible, and do what you want to do, not what you think you should do. Otherwise, you’re good to go. Here, eight ways to have a staycation without leaving home.

Have A Luxe Spa Moment

Turn your bathroom into an oasis by setting up a serious self-care situation. “Sometimes it's as simple as lounging in the bathtub with bubbles, candles, music playing, and a tray with everything you need at your fingertips, like your favorite bath salts and a glass of wine,” says Smith. Grab a bath tray to hold all your goodies, and treat yourself to a new scrub or a face mask. Up the ante by breaking out the good, fluffy towels, a new robe, and some cozy slippers.

Plan A Souped-Up Movie Night

Instead of scrolling through the streamers for hours wondering what to watch, pick a film you’ve been dying to see in advance and set up your watching area to feel like an at-home theater. Smith suggests preparing small bowls of your favorite snacks, a comfy pillow, and a new throw blanket to help make the evening feel different than other at-home marathon-watching sessions. Or, if you have room outside, set up a screen and a projector for outdoor movie night. Lay out blankets and pillows, and prepare all the popcorn.

Give Yourself A Hotel Bed

Fresh bedding — especially sheets — is the quickest way to make yourself feel like you’re having a luxurious visit to a hotel, says Smith. Invest in a linen or cotton percale set that’ll last you well beyond your staycation.

Do Meals Your Way

For some people, cooking an all-day meal with 4,000 steps is the ultimate relaxation activity, but for others, the thought of following a six-page recipe in a cookbook sounds like torture. So follow your food brain when it comes to meals. If ordering takeout for six days straight sounds like the perfect way to kick back — do that. If making elaborate dishes nonstop is your vibe, lean all the way in.

Create A Staycation Kit

“These are the items you want to have on hand at all times,” says Smith. That includes a good book you’re reading, a candle, a speaker, a great snack, and anything else that might make this week feel a little special. Smith advises keeping these items on a tray that you can carry around your home as you go through your staycation activities.

Enjoy Your Outdoor Space In A New Way

If you have a patio, backyard, or balcony, use it in a way that feels different than usual, says Smith. Light a fire, grill a special dinner (portable pizza oven, anyone?), hang up a hammock and some string lights, or simply sit outside and stargaze while listening to your favorite music on a Bluetooth speaker.

Stash Your Work Stuff Out Of Sight

Use storage bins and baskets to hide any reminders of work, says Smith. Think: work phones, laptops, files, or notepads that’ll only make you remember what needs to get done once your staycation is over. Having them out of view will help you stay in relaxation mode.

Prepare In Advance Like You Might For A Getaway Vacation

That means planning ahead and stocking your fridge with your favorite foods or ingredients for a meal you might want to cook, shopping for flowers that’ll spruce up your home, or even buying a craft project you’re looking forward to completing during your time off.

We at Bustle only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.