You deserve a break. Really, you do. Unfortunately, taking a vacation is often easier said than done. There’s the planning, the budgeting, the packing—oh lord, the packing. Thankfully, taking a staycation is all the glory of taking a much-needed break without the aforementioned gross parts. (Be honest: nobody likes having to figure out how to fit their shampoos and lotions into airport security-friendly bottles.)
It’s no secret that Americans aren’t very good at taking their allotted vacation days. A 2017 survey by Glassdoor found that U.S. employees are only using about half of their paid time off. So many vacation days just left to shrivel up, unused. However, using those vacation days is good for us both physically and mentally. I know that sounds like an excuse you’d give your boss but science backs it up.
“It puts you in a different frame of mind, gets you out of your standard patterns and can give you time with family,” Susan Krauss Whitbourne, an adjunct professor of gerontology (the study of aging) at the University of Massachusetts Boston, told TIME.
There is certainly a time and place for a full-blown vacation. (The place is Hawaii and the time is whenever someone wants to give me an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.) But for that other 50 percent of our vacation days that are just sitting there, a staycation is more than worth your time.
Here are eight reasons you should consider making your next vacation a staycation.
1. You Can Save That Sweet, Sweet Money
According to Mic, people spend an average of $581 on a four-night domestic vacation. That number shoots way up when you’re talking about international travel, with people spending an average of $271 per day. Travel and lodging tend to be where people spend a significant portion of their vacation budget. With a staycation, you can spend all that cash on food, drinks, entertainment, and also more food.
2. It’s An Excuse To Go To All Your Favorite Places Around Town
One of the best parts about staying with friends when you travel is getting to visit all their favorite local spots. Well, in the case of a staycation, you are your friend and you get to pick all those favorite places. Treat yourself a morning at your favorite brunch spot. Spend the afternoon perusing that shop with all the best homegoods. (Who doesn’t want to spend an afternoon sniffing candles?) Have your favorite cocktail at your favorite bar. A staycation is basically a chance to pamper yourself in all your favorite favorites.
3. It’s An Excuse To Go Try New Places Around Town
Is there a new restaurant that’s a bit out of your usual going-out price range? A museum exhibit your dying to see but is admittedly a little pricey? A staycation is the perfect excuse to splurge a little on a night or day out, especially when you consider the money you’re saving by staying in town. The whole “be a tourist in your own town” sounds lofty and unrealistic, but I’ll bet there are a handful of places within reaching distance of your home that have made you say, “Oh, I really want to try that out.” A staycation is the exact time for trying.
4. No. Packing.
This should be reason number one to do a staycation. There is nothing quite so frustrating as realizing you forgot to pack that thing you told yourself not to forget. (It’s the phone charger. It’s always the phone charger.) Staycations, as the name suggests, require much less packing. Or, more likely, literally no packing. No need to shove your life into a suitcase because all your belongings are already exactly where they need to be.
5. You Can Avoid Stress And Anxiety Associated With Travel
There’s a lot to think about when you’re taking a trip: figuring out flights, finding the best place to stay, deciding how to budget your limited amount of time. For especially anxious travellers, finding ways to minimize travel stress is a crucial part of taking a vacation. With a staycation, you’re eliminating a lot of the stress built into planning a vacation. In fact, maybe the best part of a staycation is that you only have to plan as much as you want. And you know what requires zero planning but is arguably as rejuvenating as taking a vacation: spending a day binging Netflix, ordering in food, and sipping on wine.
6. You’re Not Spending Half Your PTO In An Airport
Figuring in travel time is always a bummer part of planning a vacation. Staycations, as you may have assumed, require extremely minimal travel time. You literally just have to calculate how long it’ll take you to get from your bedroom to your couch. And even the most airport-friendly travellers among us (myself included) would gladly forgo traversing TSA if given the opportunity.
7. You Don’t Have To Plan Ahead
Nothing is better than realizing you have an unusually free Friday or, even better, a meeting-free Monday. Depending on how flexible your workplace is, you can have an impromptu three-day-long staycation a lot easier than you could a spontaneous trip to Bora Bora. (Unless that’s where you already live. In which case, every day would basically be a staycation.)
This is especially helpful for those of us whose vacation days don’t roll over. If you’ve got a day or two you need to use or lose, use them on a staycation.
8. Your Pet Can Come With You
I lied. This is should be reason number one to have a staycation.