Don’t have the time or resources (or a pet-sitter) to go on vacation to an exotic locale for a week or two? No worries, plan a stay-at-home vacation – a staycation.

The benefits of taking time off (not just a day here and there) are varied and well documented. It staves off burnout, recharges our battery, ramps up our productivity and promotes creativity.

And you can do all this from the comfort of your own home and neighborhood. Check out the list of staycation activities below, but first you have to create a traditional vacation environment. Get out of your routine, disconnect from work, close the lid on home improvement projects. In other words, don’t do anything during your staycation that you wouldn’t have been able to do if you were away on a traditional getaway.

Museums – This is probably the most obvious choice. Many of us go to museums in town only when hosting visitors. Rediscover art, history and culture just a short ride away. Many museums offer free or discounted admission. I decided to check out free museums in my town during half-day Summer Fridays to force myself to disconnect from work. It opened my eyes to a whole new world.

Parks, zoos, street fairs and festivals – Summer ushers in delightful street fairs and festivals, movies under the stars at local parks and waterfronts, and so much more. Compile a list of activities and plan your week. A couple I know decided to take a week off and do a five-borough tour of New York City, retiring to their home every night. These long-time urban dwellers discovered a city unknown to them.

Sporting events – Going to see a professional team could set a family of five back more than a few dollars. Instead, cheer on your local minor league team.

Water sports – Beaches, waterfronts and pools are within driving range or a train ride from most neighborhoods. Plan a day trip and go jet skiing, sailing or paddle-boarding.

Hiking, cycling and camping – Invite another family or a friend or two to share a night camping out or exploring a new trail to hike or ride.

These are just a few of the many fun stay-at-home vacation options. Be creative, but remember to plan your staycation like a traditional vacation. Getting out of bed and figuring out what to do for that day will result in lost hours researching, missed opportunities and a slippery slope to wiling away hours on Facebook and Twitter.

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