Stay-cations: Take time off, relax, explore even if you aren't really on vacation

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It’s what we call a stay-cation: a vacation—complete with rest […]

womansuitcaseIt’s what we call a stay-cation: a vacation—complete with rest and relaxation—in the comfort of your very own home. Here’s how it works:
Book your trip
Take time off. Turn on your auto-reply and turn off your ringer! Just like you would for a “real” 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 instead (Presidents’ Day is February 16th!), or simply set aside a regular ol’ two-day Saturday to Sunday stretch for nothing but R&R. It’s up to you where you tell your friends, family and co-workers 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!
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 stay-cation begins. They’ll leave your floors spotless, your linens laundered and your mind at ease.
Pack up. Or don’t. Our favorite aspect of a stay-cation is that there is no packing involved. No need for even one travel-sized, single-serving bottle of shampoo to leak all over and ruin your silk dress. (Who knew 3 ounces of liquid could wreak so much havoc?) Bask in the beauty of access to your entire wardrobe without having to cram it into that tiny carry-on.
Enjoy your stay
Turn up the heat. You may normally 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 small incline in your gas 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.
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.
Read a trashy novel. Take a break from your extensive library of baby books and check out a romance novel (or other purely pleasureable read). Escape to an exotic location for a few hours and experience the luxuries of the rich and famous, courtesy of Danielle Steel.
Order in dinner. Cooking on vacation? No, thank you! Take advantage of delivery and carry-out options from local restaurants. And be sure to branch out from your regular pizza and Chinese menus—plenty of more upscale restaurants will be happy to prepare a gourmet meal-to-go for you.
Enjoy some in-house entertainment. Chick flicks? Check. Comedies? Check. Dramas? Check. Rent plenty of movies so you have options regardless of what mood you’re in. If you’re feeling particularly inspired, rent a movie with a tropical setting or a French film with subtitles. (Who doesn’t love a trip to Paris that doesn’t require a 10-hour flight?)
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 that exhibit at the local museum, head to a scenic nature trail for a hike, or get tickets to that raved-about 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 great—so take advantage of your time off and see what there is to see!
Welcome home
When time is up and your stay-cation 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 voicemails, and let everyone know you’re back.

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