The Solopreneur’s Guide to a Fabulous Staycation

According to leading research company Gallup, more than 50% of Americans now plan summer “staycations”- that is, they vacation at home.

For many, it’s a great way to unwind without stressing their budgets or dealing with the hassles that come along with air travel or high gas prices. But a staycation can also be ripe with pitfalls.

Saying you’ll treat it like a “real” vacation and actually doing it are two very different things thanks to proximity… proximity to emails that beckon, proximity to organization projects that have been put on hold for far too long, and proximity to the guest bedroom you’ve been wanting to redecorate like the one you saw on HGTV.

But if you do just a little advance planning and put some smart strategies in place, your staycation can be one of the best vacations you’ve had in a long time.

Start by unplugging from work completely:

* Mark the staycation on your calendar just like you would a regular vacation. Do not plan ANY work-related tasks or appointments for that week. Period.

* Let all of your clients and other contacts that you do business with on a regular basis know you’ll be on vacation. We recommend NOT telling them it’s a staycation. If they ask where you’re going – which many people will – let them know that you’ve decided not to disclose the location until you return so that the paparazzi won’t know where to find you. smiley

* Put an “out of office” message on your email, and record an away message on your office voicemail. Do NOT give out your cell phone number “in case of an emergency.” Trust us. It’s amazing what some people think constitutes as an emergency these days!

* And if you’ll be staycationing with a significant other or a friend, work out a buddy system where you help each other stay in vacation mode. For example, if you’re “buddy” starts stressing about checking voicemails, remind him or her that they’re on vacation and then quickly distract them with a mojito.

The next key is to make sure you don’t unplug from work only to get sucked into a long list of chores around the house. Remember: the idea is to RELAX just like you would on a vacation away from home. The best way to do that is to plan out activities ahead of time that will keep you in a vacation state of mind.

Here are a few to consider:

* Go grocery shopping the last day before you start your staycation. Stock up on a ton of healthy meals and snacks, as well as a few special treats. (S’mores anyone?) You might also want to buy ingredients for a recipe or two you’ve always wanted to try, but simply haven’t had the time. And don’t forget to stop at the liquor store for a few bottles of wine… or a case of Corona. smiley

* Book spa treatments to pamper yourself from head to toe, including a body scrub, facial, manicure, pedicure, deep hair conditioning and, most importantly, a massage. You may also want to find a spa with complimentary extras. My favorite one here in Baltimore has a Tuscan room with a warm jetted pool, a eucalyptus steam room and sauna – all complimentary.

* Plan recreational activities, like scheduling a few tee times or reserving a racquetball court. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, make an appointment for rock climbing, kayaking or even trapeze lessons – the latter of which are cropping up all around the country.

* Select at least one non-related business book to read during the week. If you need some ideas, Oprah’s book club always has great suggestions.

* Make reservations for a night or two out at a favorite restaurant or one you’ve been meaning to try. Or consider signing up for cooking lessons at a local culinary school.

* Load up your iPod with beach-worthy tunes, like Cheeseburger in Paradise, Boys of Summer, Summertime Blues, Surfin’ USA, Vacation, Kokomo, Centerfield, and Born to Run (among many others).

* Do all the things tourists do when they visit your town. Go to museums. Buy tickets to see a show. Take an open-air bus tour. Check out a local concert.

What about you? Are you planning a “real” vacation this year, or will you be staycationing? What are your strategies to ensure you have a fun and relaxing time? Let us know!

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Awesome Cities in the US To Take a Staycation

Rest and recreation doesn’t always have to entail traveling all the way to the other side of the world. While the idea sounds very tempting, there are times that you just need to take a quick break from the hustle and bustle of the city. It doesn’t have to be some place remote either-a brief and temporary change of environment will do the trick.

Have you ever had a staycation? The United States is filled with hundreds of staycation-friendly cities. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites to help you pick the destination where you can spend 3-5 days to reboot, relax, and rejuvenate.

Las Vegas, Nevada. Need we say more? A few nights in the sin city is definitely one of the best ways to have a staycation. They have some of the world’s luxury hotels. If you’re idea of a staycation mostly involves getting a massage, dialing room service for food, or just staying in, then you’re in the right place. If you have something else in mind, though, like trying your luck in the casino, Las Vegas surely won’t disappoint!

Tampa, Florida. For most people, staycations in Tampa mean soaking up the sun and hitting the beach. That’s a good way to spend a few days in the city because the beaches in Tampa are some of the finest the United States has to offer. Not in the mood for swimming or sunbathing? That’s perfectly fine because it just means you have more time to sample Tampa’s amazing restaurants. Most of them are located in Tampa Bay, so if you’re up for some great eats, we recommend that you may the bay your first stop.

Portland, Oregon. If you want the whole package-food, fun, rest and recreation, Portland, Oregon is definitely a good choice. Find culinary gems in the food carts around the city, give your legs a workout and cycle through its bike-friendly road (while you’re at it, breeze through some of the city’s funky neighborhoods), or reconnect with the nature and hike through some of Oregon’s iconic trails. A fair warning if you have future staycation plans in Oregon, though-be ready to fall in love with the city that you might actually want to move in!

Birmingham, Alabama. One of the best reasons why Birmingham is one of the best places to have a staycation in is because it’s so low-key that it’s easy to blend in. For example, you can attend one of the free fitness classes at Railroad Park like a true local. There are also a lot of nooks around the city that could be a perfect spot for you to catch up on your reading list while sipping on a cup of Birmingham coffee.

Which ever of this city you will stay, you’re bound to find a luxury hotel that suits your needs and feels like home. Channel your inner tourist and don’t waste a moment to refreshed and recharged!

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