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How to Plan a Relaxing Staycation in Four Easy Steps

It was Monday, and I was scrambling to get the kids to Tae Kwon Do after school, rushing back home afterwards to cook a reasonably healthy family meal, and catching up after dinner with remaining tasks like setting up spring landscaping, filling out school permission slips, and all the rest…and that was just the part of my day that came after a full work day.

I felt like I was in a hamster wheel, with the prospect of doing it all again with slight variations the next day. Sound familiar?

What we all needed was a vacation right then and there. But instead, we were staring down the barrel of a four-day weekend with the kids off of school (hello, parent-teacher conference days) and not much planned to keep them occupied.

Enter: the quickly planned staycation (and no, I’d don’t mean the kind where you just stay at home). We plotted our weekend escape in less than 30 minutes, and then the happy anticipation of a short, low-stress break set in.

It was easy – here’s how we did it, and how you can plan your own mini staycation, whether as a couple or a family:

1. Synch your calendars. Chances are, you already know when your next three- or four-day weekend is. See if you can clear those days of obligations, or work around them. For us, we had one item that couldn’t be moved: a kids’ birthday party. We left it on the calendar and just came back home for those couple of hours so our son could go to the party.

2. Decide where to go within about an hour’s drive. Don’t overthink this part and opt for closer rather than farther. This is a great opportunity to be a tourist in your own town and see the sights you never get around to on a regular weekend. We decided to go to Washington, D.C. this time – about 15 minutes from our house.

3. Choose your accommodations. Select a property that offers luxury touches and makes you feel taken care of: this is your opportunity to relax and enjoy! Luxury means different things to different people, but the point is to take a break from the ordinary (and skip things like making the beds). We chose the Fairmont Washington D.C., Georgetown, which I also wanted to check out for travel professional reasons.

luxury travel advisor at hotel
Time to relax and unwind

4. Plan one must-do activity. The key here is not to overschedule: give yourself the space to unwind, sleep in, and enjoy the downtime. Long breakfasts? Yes! That said, it’s nice to have one special tour or activity that you’ll look forward to. We opted for a historic food tour of Georgetown with Urban Adventures DC.

The secret to doing this right is to plan your mini getaway quickly and not overthink it. Pro-tip: if you’re not working with your travel advisor to plan your staycation (you can probably fly solo on this one), book your hotel directly on the hotel’s own website.

That’s it! Now you’re ready to enjoy that needed staycation close to home.

We loved our four days in Georgetown, especially the unplugged, slower moments of reading in bed, walking around town on a Saturday, and visiting the new Egypt exhibit at the Nat Geo Museum. Since we all love good food, we also really enjoyed our dinner at Juniper restaurant (with the Fairmont Georgetown’s delicious signature “Beetini” cocktail, infused with their own rooftop honey), and our insiders’ food tour of Georgetown, where our local guide Montie took us to cool spots like Baked and Wired, Café Leopold, and Dog Tag Bakery. The weekend was short and sweet, and we came back home feeling refreshed.

Travel agent does foodie tour on vacation
International sandwich menu at Sundwich

While you’re on your staycation, take a moment to dream about what you want to experience on your next true vacation. It’s a great opportunity to slow down and think about what your travel goals are for making memories to last a lifetime.

Happy Travels Always,


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Cover photo: Unsplash, used by permission. All other photos copyright Bluetail Travel 2019.

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