For many of us, in recent memory, staying home is the new going out. It’s a similar story for vacationers – some of us are opting to avoid the hassle of long lines at the airport, rising gas prices, and bloated hotel room rates. If you’re looking to avoid traditional vacation expenses and splurge on a getaway at home, we’re here to help.
There’s a lot to be said for enjoying what your hometown has to offer, whether you live in a bustling city or a charming small town. The trick is to put as much planning into your staycation as you would any other vacation. Make a staycation bucket list and make sure you focus on doing the things that make you feel rested and refreshed outside of daily life.
We’ve put together some great tips on how to make your hometown an exceptional vacation destination.
Before you embark on the best week your town has even seen, get your home ready. You don’t want household chores getting in the way of enjoying your time off. Do a good tidy, a thorough clean, and get organized before your official vacation starts. If you feel like you’ve saved enough money on leaving out a flight or extra gas, consider hiring a cleaner for a deluxe staycation feel.
Our pick: Bed Bath and Beyond storage solutions
Pro tip: Link your Scene+TM account with Scene+ Rakuten ®^ to earn points from Canadian retailers like Bed Bath and Beyond.
Whether your staycation is a solo endeavour, or your family and friends are joining you, make sure you book a few nice meals during your staycation. A vacation is the perfect time to discover a new restaurant, along with indulging in comfort food. Whether you find the fanciest fine dining available or you choose casual eats, choose something that makes your heart – and stomach – happy.
Our pick: Montana’s BBQ & Bar
Pro tip: When dining at Montana’s®°, Harvey’s®°, East Side Mario’s®°, and other Scene+ participating restaurants, don’t forget to show your Scene+ membership card and pay with an eligible Scotiabank credit or debit card to earn (or redeem) points.
A new trend in the momsphere is taking a “momcation,” which involves staying at a local hotel for a night or two, alone. You don’t need to be a parent to do this, though. Anyone who needs some solitary time should consider getting a hotel room or renting an Airbnb in another part of town to make your vacation feel special.
And, if you live in Ontario, the province sweetened the deal with a 2022 tax credit for Ontarians who travel within their home province. This move followed similar programs in New Brunswick and British Columbia in 2021. Check your local province’s policy on travelling locally to see if there’s a similar program your part of the country.
Our pick: Book with Scene+ Travel, Powered by Expedia1 for hotel deals to earn 3 points for every $1 spent on hotel stays and car rentals
Pro tip: Some hotels offer a “resident rate” for those travelling within their home province or city. To see if your chosen hotel offers one, check their website or give the hotel a call. You can also check if your hotel offers a corporate or government rate for your employer – you could save up to 50% using these rates.
Start with a quick search of your city’s tourist attractions and go from there. Chances are, if you're from Toronto, you’re not a regular at the CN Tower. There are probably a ton of things you haven’t tried where you live, whether it’s a fun museum or an activity like a cooking class. Take the plunge and revel in the most touristy of local destinations. Check your social media feeds for new shops, bookstores, restaurants, bars, and clubs you may not have heard about yet.
A day trip is a great way to explore a nearby place you’ve never been and provides a change of scenery. There are lots of options, especially in Canada. Go to a national park to experience the great outdoors, for instance. Don’t forget to check each attraction to see if there are local discounts. Sometimes local libraries will even lend out free passes to local museums.
Our pick: Tripadvisor.com has lots of suggestions of top-rated things to do in every city
Pro tip: The Parks Canada website can help you find a nearby national park
Sometimes the most indulgent thing about a vacation is not having to lift a finger or go anywhere. Pamper yourself with an at-home massage, or order takeout from a restaurant you’ve never tried (don’t forget dessert!).
Our pick: Swiss Chalet delivers to locations across Canada
Pro tip: Use an eligible Scotiabank credit or debit card to pay for your meal at Swiss Chalet®° restaurants to earn Scene+ points faster
Whether you’re going full staycation mode and doing a budget-friendly stay in your own home, or you’re exploring a nearby Airbnb, you’re going to want to have some of these essentials on hand. Stocking up on self-care items like travel candles, soft loungewear, and a face mask or two will help you relax. If you’re staying in a hotel, don’t forget essentials like your tablet or laptop to watch Netflix, device charger, headphones, earplugs, and toiletries. If your hotel has facilities like a gym or swimming pool, it’s always a good idea to have the proper shoes and a bathing suit on hand. And, of course, don’t forget to bring a book!
Our pick: Use your Scene+ points to snag a tablet in the Scene+ Apple and Best Buy catalogues2 to stream your favourite shows from anywhere
Pro tip: If you’re staying at a hotel, ask about their spa packages. Chances are you can find a deal if you book during the spa’s off hours.
Last but not least
If you are planning something special during your staycation, try to book as far in advance as possible. Hotels are often cheaper if you book way ahead of time. And popular restaurants might be fully booked if you wait until the day before to make a reservation. The same goes for theatre and concert tickets. Of course, if you do chance it, check out same day or standby tickets to the theatre for a great deal.