Staycation shouldn't mean just working from home and using your paid time off. Here are some ways to make your staycation really count.

Your vacation time is expiring, but your bank account balance will not support a trip to Hawaii or family jaunt to Europe. This means it is time for a staycation, but do not just make this time to spend working on side projects and sneaking in work here and there through the internet and your smart phone. Here are ways to make the most of your staycation, no matter when or where it takes place.

Group Coupons

By stocking up on the group coupons available through Groupon, Living Social and other local sites you are prepaying and getting great deals on fun new things you can do at home. Just because your staycation is in your hometown, does not mean that you have to do boring activities or ones you have done repeatedly before. Use the bargains you find on these sites to inspire you to try new activities and outings you might not have considered otherwise. From white water rafting on the local river to taking golf lessons at the local range the activities are good for the entire family to try something new together.

Make Your Home a Getaway

When vacationing at home, take some time and money to make your home more of a relaxing place for you and yours. This way you will benefit during your staycation, but also after the time off is over and real life has begun again. Simple ways to make your home more relaxing include putting in ceiling fans, decorating in a more updated style, adding candles or wax warmers to infuse calming scents into the house, or picking out new wonderful pillows to put on your bed. All of these are small ways your home can be changed to make your everyday life more enjoyable and they do not have to be expensive.

Plan to Do Less House Work

Everyday chores make your life work, but they also make your days the exact opposite of a vacation. Do all the laundry you can before your staycation begins. Find a local housekeeper that will come and do the bathrooms and kitchen for you while you are out using one of your group coupons. Wash all the bedding ahead of time and you will get to enjoy the simple bliss of clean sheets while you are taking time off. Completing these simple things ahead of time will make your staycation more like a true vacation and less like the drudgery of everyday life.

Spend Time Outside

No matter the time of year you are planning to stay home and take vacation, concentrate on spending some quality time outside. Society is very technology driven now, meaning often times families will spend days inside working on computers, playing video games or listening to MP3 players while not interacting with one another. When you vacation together the technology tends to be left at the way side, so when you are planning to spend time at home on vacation, swear off the computers and video game consoles. You can watch beloved television shows together if you want, but try to turn the television off as much as possible, too. Take a walk, ride bikes, learn to rollerblade, or walk your dogs to the community dog park and meet other four-legged friends and their owners. Just make sure to remember your sunscreen and head out to explore your world more than you have before.

Minimize the Need to Cook

Prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them, or stock up on your family’s favorite breakfast baked goods to save you time in the kitchen. Just because the family is taking a staycation, does not mean mom needs to be working hard in the kitchen the entire time. Make sure that the person who usually does the meal preparation is allowed to vacation as well by helping prepare meals ahead of time, or coming up with ideas of how to simplify meals and streamline mealtime during your staycation. Take this time to explore new restaurants in your area, too. You may end up finding a hidden culinary gem in your own backyard that you had never tried before while on your vacation at home.

Turn Off Work Cellphones and Computers

Vacation is time to eschew work, not just work less than you do normally. If you have two cell phones, one for work and one for personal use, turn the work cell phone off until your staycation is over. If you use a computer or email address specifically for work, avoid them like the plague. Take the time to detach from your professional responsibilities if possible, because that is what this time is truly meant for. When you get the itch to check your work email or phone, grab your kids and go for a walk instead, or turn on an old episode of your favorite family show. If you work from home, this is more challenging, so go into the staycation with the right mindset to allow you to enjoy your time off without stressing about deadlines, due dates or performance issues.