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How to make the most of a staycation

Woman on the porch outside her house smiling

Many travelers either can’t travel abroad right now, or don’t feel comfortable doing so yet. The good news is, if you’re opting to stick closer to home this year, a staycation can be its own fun experience—and even, just maybe, a profound new way to see the place where you live. Here are our tips to make the most out of your vacation time at home. 

1. Pretend you're a tourist

Maybe your overly familiar neighborhood or city seems stale at this point. Prep for your staycation by putting on your tourist goggles and seeing things the way an out-of-towner would. Or imagine how you'd guide a newcomer around town and show them the sights. You’ll be amazed how quickly its sightseeing appeal goes up—and how many surprise discoveries you’ll find hiding in plain sight.

How AAA can help: Cruise around town for less with the Shell Fuel Rewards Program, which lets AAA members save at least 5 cents per gallon at participating Shell stations. Learn more and enroll now.

You can also take your tourist experience to the next level by staying at a local hotel. After all, how else will you know what your town's hotels have to offer for visitors? Book with AAA to get the AAA rate and exclusive benefits. Learn more and book locally.

A man and a woman eat takeout on the couch next to their dog

2. Go on a culinary safari

Along similar lines, some of the most satisfying surprise discoveries will come if you venture out in day-tripping distance to find some new places to eat. This’ll likely take you to new neighborhoods, new suburbs, new small towns—and boom, your world’s expanded within shouting distance of your own ZIP code. Plus, you’ll probably find at least a couple new go-to places.

How AAA can help: Restaurant.com is offering $25 eCards for $4 each to AAA members. Learn more and find participating restaurants near you.

3. Catch up on sleep

No, really! Who among us really gets enough sleep during workaday life? Getting a full night of shuteye can feel luxurious in itself, and a staycation’s the perfect opportunity to tap into that rare pleasure.

How AAA can help: Save 10% on a new Hyphen Sleep mattress with a promo code at checkout, in addition to all of their regular benefits, such as a risk-free 100-night trial. Get the promo code and shop Hyphen Sleep mattresses.

4. Get some sun

Many of us seek out sunshine for a vacation, and as it happens—particularly this time of year—that's easy to come by in one’s own backyard. With your eyes closed, your yard and a tropical beach look the same, put on your sunblock, crack out the lawn chairs, and soak up the friendly rays. For an extra dose of vacation feeling, put on a background audio track with beach sounds. 

How AAA can help: Find something to read while you tan with AAA magazines, which cover travel, lifestyle, and automotive topics, as well as provide updates on member benefits and information of concern to motorists. Read now.

If you're looking for even more, Magazine Advantage offers AAA members up to 90% off subscriptions to magazines like People, Southern Living, and more. Learn more and shop now.

A woman applies face cream and cucumber slices to her face

5. Declare a spa day

Make me-time the centerpiece of your staycation. Treat yourself to a home spa session (or 5). Take it from us: You deserve to spend a day on yourself.

How AAA can help: Members get up to $20 in shopping credit and a 30-day free membership when they join Thrive Market. Shop for organic and non-GMO candles, essential oils, sunscreen, bath and beauty products, and more. Learn more and shop now.

6. Pack like it's a real vacation

So maybe you aren’t going to the Virgin Islands or the French Riviera this year. That doesn’t mean you can’t pack like you are. The psychological effect of laying out a wardrobe, choosing a couple of “beach reads,” and assembling other items for your not-quite-getaway can help you get into the vacation mindset.

How AAA can help: Complete the fantasy (and prepare for when it's safe to travel again) with a set of new luggage from Samsonite. AAA members get 20% off their entire purchase.

A father and son use a tablet while lying in a tent indoors

7. Camp out at home

Camping at national and state parks has seen a major resurgence in popularity this year, but you can also pitch a tent at home. It can be a surprisingly all-ages blast to tent out in the backyard—or even your living room. Break out the sleeping bags, lanterns, flashlights, and star guide to enjoy a change of nocturnal scenery that’ll turn your domicile into a super-fun campsite.

How AAA can help: Take your home camping to the next level by renting a motorhome for the weekend from El Monte RV. AAA members get 10% off rental rates.

8. Resist the urge to tackle house & office work

For adults, this is the gnarliest challenge in trying to pull off a staycation. There’s no surefire solution—you just have to keep reminding yourself that this is a rejuvenating, soul-nourishing staycation. Even if there are a million projects to do around the house, and even if your work email’s calling out to you, set those demands aside and concentrate on giving yourself at-home R&R that actually pays off productivity-wise in the long run.

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