Your family has tight finances. Your schedule has commitments which prevent a long period of travel. You live in a new area and have lots to explore. One spouse has time off, while the other does not.
No matter what the reasons are, staycations are rising in popularity. During the 15 years I lived in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, my wife and I took several staycations, taking advantage of the deep discounts at fancy resorts and hotels in the area. Those vacations in our own city led to refreshed bodies and deeper connection, as they sustained us through a challenging phase of our marriage.
While there are lots of benefits to a staycation, it does present some unique challenges. If you’ve got a staycation on the calendar or you’re considering one, here are 7 steps you can take to maximize the experience this summer!
Change your mindset from resident to tourist
Since you may be sleeping in your own bed or traveling past familiar landmarks, your mindset will be important. There’s a reason we receive this charge in “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” When your staycation begins, intentionally shift your mindset from resident to tourist. As you navigate your city and the surrounding area, take a different route than you normally would. And, consider switching up your attire. If you usually wear casual clothes, maybe dress up a bit or vice versa!
While it is easier to disconnect when you are hundreds of miles from home, it is possible to go to a different place mentally and emotionally even if you’re not physically far from your home base. Utilize the Do Not Disturb feature on your phones. Delete social media apps and shift to reading a physical book instead of your iPad to reduce online temptations.
Whether you’re staycating with a spouse, family, or close friends, it’s vitally important to align expectations to avoid conflict and disappointment. Will this staycation be quiet or loud? Slow or busy? Lots of talking or lots of silence? Will there be a detailed plan, spontaneous activity, or a list of options for each day? Some conversation on the front end can save a lot of heartache on the back end.
Do what renews you
Time away is about renewal! Too often, we take time off, go away, and then come back more tired than when we left. Instead of doing that, get clear on what renews you and pursue it. What is that for you? Sleep? Watching movies? Hanging out by the pool? Longer workouts in the gym? Reading a great book? Exploring nature? There’s not one right way to vacation or staycation; what’s works for you is what brings renewal!
Connect with God
While it might be harder to begin each day by connecting with God during your regular schedule, a staycation offers freedom from commitments and extended time to just be with God. In his book, , Bruce Wilkerson reflects on , writing this powerful statement, “God doesn’t want us to do more for Him; God wants us to be more with Him.” Whether it’s prayer, catching up on a devotional, journaling, listening to a book by a Christian author, or reading one of Paul’s letters in one sitting, your staycation offers many options to connect with God. At the end of the day, the renewal we want is always and only available through the One who knows us and loves us more than anyone else.
Try new restaurants and activities
Check websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor to discover new (or new to you) restaurants. Write a post on social media to poll friends for their favorite places to eat. Read articles about the top tourist attractions in your city or the best way to vacation in your city on a budget.
Reflect on the year so far
With the year over half-finished, your staycation provides an opportunity to look back in order to live ahead. Reflecting on the lessons you learned and planning for the opportunities ahead could be the boost your inner overachiever needs during a time of rest. Don’t forget to practice gratitude, even if things haven’t gone the way you expected this year. There’s a reason . “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
This summer may not include a drastic change in your scenery. But, you can change your pace and change your perspective by maximizing your staycation. The work and the world will be here when you return. But on the other side of a time of refreshment and renewal, you’ll be better prepared to find where God is working and join Him there.
Scott Savage is a pastor and a writer. He leads Cornerstone Church in Prescott, Arizona. Scott is married to Dani and they are the parents of three “little savages.” He is the creator of the and you can read more of his writing at