The week-long vacation to a popular tourist destination or exotic locale has been an American tradition for generations. However, shorter vacations that are closer to home, often referred to as “staycations,” have become more and more popular lately. Shorter getaways allow for more flexibility, which is important when people have demanding jobs and hectic home lives.Creating Staycation Perfection How far you're willing to drive for a short staycation will vary from person to person, but one good rule of thumb is to pick a place you can get to by mid-afternoon. So, if you plan to hit the road by 8 a.m., you should look for a destination that is no more than 350 miles away, which you could reach by 2 p.m. That gives you several hours of daylight plus the evening to start your getaway, so it will feel like a full day of vacation. If you want to start driving a little bit later, pick a place that's closer to home. There are several advantages to taking a short vacation getaway. First, driving is less expensive than flying. And the savings are not just from the cost of an airline ticket. If you drive, you also don't need to rent a car when you get to your destination. Plus, if you're staying at a resort where you have a full kitchen, you can actually pack food from home into a large cooler, which you don't need to go to the grocery store when you get there. By preparing your own food, instead of going to restaurants, you'll save a lot of money. Brief getaways to nearby destinations are also safer in this age of the pandemic. Even spending six hours cooped up with your family in a car is much safer than spending an hour cooped up in an airplane with strangers. To plan the perfect staycation getaway, keep these tips in mind. Keep the length of your staycation short, but not too short You want this getaway to feel like a true break from your day-to-day routine and if you only stay one or two nights, it will feel like you have to leave before you really even got started. At the same time, a full vacation that lasts 7 to 10 days is much harder to fit into a busy schedule, which means you may find yourself putting it off until the timing is perfect... which it never is. Three to four nights seems to be the ideal length of time for this type of trip. It's long enough that you'll feel like you got a chance to settle in and have a few consecutive days during which you weren't driving all day. It will give you a chance to find a good balance between fun activities and relaxation. Plus, at this length of stay, you might be able to do it more frequently than a full vacation. Stay at a resort that has plenty of activities Recently, we posted a blog comparing the benefits of staying at a vacation ownership resort to staying at a hotel. One of those benefits is that they are often located on large properties where there is a lot to see and do. These are the kinds of places where you can spend a lot of time at the resort because you're having so much fun there! Take the time to get out of your condo and explore the grounds. For example, at Summer Bay Orlando by Exploria Resorts, you could spend several days enjoying water sports because the resort sits on a 64-acre natural lake – where you can zip around on a wave runner or take a more leisurely ride on a kayak or jon boat – and features the Buccaneer Bay Adventure Park, as well as several large swimming pools. So, take a little time to just walk around the property and explore! Enjoy making and eating fun dinners in your condo Having a fully equipped kitchen opens up a lot of creative possibilities. For example, try going online and finding recipes unique to the area where you're staying, then prepare them for everyone right there in your kitchen. Here are a few ideas to get you started. If you're staying in the Poconos, look up the recipe for Pennsylvania Dutch Corn Pie, which can be served as a delicious appetizer. In Gatlinburg, there are plenty of recipes online for Smoky Mountain Brunswick Stew, which could be your main course. And for a true Florida dessert, Key Lime Pie is relatively easy to make and absolutely delicious! You'll all have a lot of fun making these recipes, and even if it turns out to be completely inedible, you'll end up with a great story and everyone will have a good laugh as you're enjoying a dinner of pizza and wings delivered to your door. Be adventurous As amazing and comfortable as your condo may be, take at least one day to get out and explore the area outside the resort. Look for interesting places that are within an hour's drive of your resort. Try going online and searching for the name of your destination followed by “off the beaten path activities.” You'll be amazed at what you find. Look for outdoor activities that you've never tried. If the weather is nice, find a local park where you can go on a long hike or go horseback riding. Ziplining is another popular activity available in many destinations. In the winter, try downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, or ice skating. At Exploria Resorts, we offer the perfect venue for your staycation getaway, with resorts in Orlando, Daytona Beach, and New Smyrna Beach in Florida; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania; and more! For more ideas or to plan your getaway, visit us here!