Jeff & Stella relax on Ft. Myers Beach.

Jeff & Stella relax on Ft. Myers Beach.

After two weeks in an RV, I’m ready for a staycation closer to the home office.

Yet if the soft market has let slip any hopes of exotic travel this summer, don’t cave to “vacation envy.” Get creative and plan a “stay-cation” of your own.

Urban dictionary defines stay-cation as “A vacation that is spent at one’s home enjoying all that home and one’s home environs have to offer.” Don’t blow your stay-cation catching up on chores, straightening up the garage, fixing the roof or painting the house.  Make sure that you limit the time you spend on email.

The well-planned stay-cation, or stay-at-home vacation, can help de-stress and re-energize the soul, notes FAT Bastard Wines.  Here’re nine tips for planning a killer stay-cation…

1. Make a Plan. Choose the dates, arrange to be away from work and then follow through with the program just as if you were travelling far from home.  Limit the time you will devote to checking emails, discourage colleagues from calling and make sure you’ve met your deadlines and taken care of business before you leave the office.

2. Become a Tourist in Your Own Hometown. Get a guidebook. Go online. Check out the local attractions that bring tourists to your area, just as you would if you were traveling to another city.  Check the dates for concerts, shows, sporting events, traveling exhibits and other special events that will be going on during your vacation and buy tickets.

3. Pamper yourself. Get your house cleaned. But some wine (FAT Bastard would prefer their own, of course, but a six of imported beer works for me), stock up on some fine (or finer than you’d normally buy).  Then, chill.  Bring the maid back at the end of your vacation, too, so you can go back to work without the worry of cleaning up after a week at home.

4.  Plan a Backyard Safari. OK, this can get kinda funky. FAT B sez get out the tent and sleeping bags and enjoy a night under the stars.  Maybe string up a hammock between two trees. Tell ghost stories around the fire pit while you roast hot dogs and make s’mores.  The kids will have a great time and you won’t use a drop of gas getting there (just lighting your fire).

5. Stage Your Own Film Festival. This is a perennial fav in our household. The local grocery store likely has that buck-a-night DVD rental kiosk. Rent all the DVDs of the latest flicks you’ve been wanting to see. Pop some corn. And gather ’round the tube.

6. Pick a Peach. Or strawberries. Or oranges. Or apples. Whatever’s in season. Check out local u-pick farms that offer a day of fun and a way to enjoy fresh produce — for a fraction of the supermarket cost.

7. Delve into a Day Spa . If the pleasures of the spa are your idea of real relaxation, check out the local day spas in your area.  It’s a good bet that they will offer all the pampering and beauty treatments of a destination spa for far less than the cost at a resort.

8. Indulge Your Tastebuds. Host a wine tasting at home and learn about the varietals you’ve always wanted to try.  Good wines that deliver excellent quality can be found at your local supermarket and you can make the tasting special by printing wine tasting mats and scoring sheets found at or  Ask for budget-friendly wines.

9. Look for local discounts. Check out accommodations and attractions in your area and ask about special rates for local residents. Many theme parks and the surrounding hotels offer discounted rates to locals, especially during the off-season and in popular tourist areas.