1 | Book your trip
Take time off. Turn on your auto-reply and turn off your ringer! Just like you would for a normal vacation, request a few days off work. If you’re saving up your precious vacay days to tack on to the end of your maternity leave, look for a long weekend, or simply set aside a regular ol’ Saturday-to-Sunday stretch for nothing but R & R. It’s up to you whether you tell your friends, family and coworkers where you’re going, but you should definitely make it clear that you will be out-of-service for the duration of your “trip.” That’s right: You are to be at no one’s beck and call but your own!
2 | Clean the house
Dust bunnies are not a native species of paradise. One of the best parts about arriving at a hotel is the perfectly fluffed pillows, fresh towels and gleaming furniture. But you don’t have to travel hundreds of miles to find such a mess-free haven. Instead, hire a cleaning service to come to your home a day or so before your staycation begins. They’ll leave your floors spotless, your linens laundered, and your mind at ease.
3 | Pack up
Or don’t. Our favorite aspect of a staycation is that there is no packing involved. There’s no chance of that travel-sized, single-serving bottle of shampoo leaking all over and ruining your silk dress. (Who knew 3 ounces of liquid could wreak so much havoc?) Enjoy access to your entire wardrobe without having to cram it into that tiny carry-on.
4 | Turn up the heat
You may typically keep your thermostat at a sweater-worthy temperature during the winter, but during your luxurious stay, crank it up! Pull out your shorts and tees (or your bikini, if you’re so inclined) and frolic in the warmth. Sure, you’ll see a minor incline in your energy bill, but with the money you’re saving on airfare, a few extra bucks in exchange for a few extra degrees is a small price to pay.
5 | Paint your toenails
Or have your hubby paint them for you. Go ahead and have him give you a massage while he’s at it. You may not be at the number one spa in the country, but you might find the treatment you receive at home to be your personal fave.
6 | Read a trashy novel
Take a break from the extensive library of pre- and postnatal literature you’ve acquired and check out a romance novel or other purely pleasurable read. Let the words transport you to an exotic location, complete with enviable luxuries and frivolous drama.
7 | Order dinner in
Cooking on vacation? No, thank you. Take advantage of delivery and carryout options from local restaurants. And be sure to branch out from your regular pizza and Chinese menus—plenty of upscale restaurants will be happy to prepare a gourmet meal-to-go for you.
8 | Enjoy some in-house entertainment
Chick flicks? Check. Comedies? Check. Dramas? Check. Stock up on loads of movies so you have options regardless of the mood you’re in. If you’re feeling particularly inspired, rent a flick with a tropical setting or a French film with subtitles. (Who doesn’t love a trip to Paris sans a 10-hour flight?)
9 | Act like a tourist
If you’re looking to get out and about (to somewhere other than the office, gym or grocery store), be a tourist in your own town. Check out an exhibit at the local museum, head to a scenic nature trail for a hike, or get tickets to a well-reviewed opera. Locals often get so caught up in their daily activities that they run out of time to enjoy the things that make their city so special—so take advantage of your time off and see what there is to see!
When your staycation has come to an end, there will be no need to worry about your flight being delayed, your luggage being lost, or your house having burned down while you were away. Instead, when it’s time to return to the real world—and not a moment before—read your emails, listen to your voice mails, and let everyone know you’re back in action.