Planning the Perfect Staycation

Everyone loves a good vacation, right? Time away from work, school, and the pressures of our busy schedules always feels like just the thing we need to help us relax and become reenergized when we start feeling burned-out. But for multiple reasons, a real getaway might not be in the cards. Whether it’s the time, the expense, or some other factor, it isn’t always possible to travel somewhere new and exciting when we feel like we need a break.


That’s where a staycation comes in. You’ve probably heard of it – it’s just like a vacation but without leaving town, you literally stay at your house! Staycations are great for when you can’t quite justify a true vacation, but still want to get away from your daily routine. In general, they’re less expensive and involve much less travel time (if any). Instead of the additional pressures that come with traveling, your time away from work or school can be relaxing and restful from beginning to end.


Now that you’ve hopefully been sold on the idea, here are a few things to consider when planning the perfect staycation:


  1. Where to stay? The most obvious answer is at home, and that’s definitely going to save you the most money! However, trying to relax at home when there are dishes to be done and laundry that needs to be washed can be difficult. One way to avoid this is to do some serious preparation before your staycation – do all essential chores ahead of time to avoid the temptation when you’re trying to relax. Another option is to stay somewhere else, like a local hotel or an AirBnB, to truly get you in the vacation mood.
  2. What to do? At first it may seem like your options are limited if you’re not leaving town, but take a second look. There are sure to be plenty of places in town that you haven’t been – a traveling exhibit at a museum, a new bookstore you’ve been meaning to visit, a local park or garden (if the weather’s nice). A staycation doesn’t mean sticking to the same routine you always do – be a tourist in your own city and do some (local) sightseeing!
  3. What to eat? Sure, you could finish out whatever leftovers you have in your refrigerator. But, if you really want to get into the vacation state of mind, think about trying a new restaurant or ordering takeout from somewhere new. Again, if you’re trying to get away from your normal routine, that should include food, too! If you do cook at home, consider trying a new recipe or two.
  4. How to do it? So you’ve got it all planned out – where you’re going to stay and what you’re going to do and eat – but it still feels like just another weekend at home. There are plenty of thing you can do to help your staycation feel like the kind of vacation you’ve dreamed of. Don’t be afraid to splurge (within reason), for one thing. Also, take a lot of pictures! You’d never go on vacation without pulling your camera out all the time to document it, right? A staycation shouldn’t be any different!


While it may not have quite the excitement that you’d get from traveling somewhere new, a staycation is a great option when you need a break but can’t afford an out-of-town vacation. If you plan it right, your staycation could be just the thing to help you relax in your time away from work or school!

Giving Back: Volunteering In College

Maybe in high school you were required to do a certain number of community service hours in order to get your degree, or a club or organization required volunteering in order to be a member in good standing. But many students, after they’ve gotten their diploma and moved on to college, tend to forget about all that community service they did in high school. In the midst of challenging classes and new and exciting extracurricular activities, it can feel like you don’t have a lot of time for volunteering.


But spending some of your time giving back to your community has a lot of benefits, both for those you’re serving and for you. Below are just a few of the reasons you should consider volunteering in your community, even if it isn’t required by your school or by a club or organization:


  1. A sense of accomplishment. This is probably the benefit you’ve heard about most often, that good feeling you get from helping others. One of the biggest rewards of serving your community is the knowledge that you’ve done something good, whatever your service was.
  2. Boost your resume. This is something that almost all college students are concerned about, and for good reason. Volunteering is a great addition to any resume – it shows commitment, time-management skills, and a dedication to your community, all of which reflect positively on you as a potential employee!
  3. Learn new skills. Depending on what kind of volunteering you’re doing, you may be building skills that can help you in other areas of your life, or even in your career. If you know another language, working with immigrants or refugees in your community is a great way to practice your skills while serving others. Other types of service may help you build computer or interpersonal skills that you can use in the future.
  4. Explore new interests. Again, this depends on the type of service you’re doing, but volunteering can be a great way to explore new career fields or interests that you may have. In addition to the skills you’re building, you’ll also have a be able to visualize yourself in a particular field before you ever get a job!
  5. Network, network, network. You hear it over and over again from your parents, your professors, and the career center. And volunteering is a great way to do it! Not only do you get to know your fellow volunteers, but you also can connect with professionals in the field in which you’re doing your community service. This is especially important if you’re interested in entering the field after college!
  6. Helping others. This is by far the most important reason to volunteer – giving back to your community. Any service is good service in some way, but community service that comes from a genuine desire to help others and to improve your community will have the most benefits for both you and those you’re serving.


It can be hard to carve out time from a busy schedule to find an hour or two a week to volunteer, but it’s definitely worth it!