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The Boston Globe

20 ways to make your Boston staycation feel like a vacation

If you’ve ever come home from a trip and thought, I need a vacation, then you know that traveling can sometimes be less than relaxing. And that’s where a staycation — a vacation without travel — can help. Staycations may have gained popularity during the recession and slow recovery, but there are reasons other than financial to consider a few days off at home: Your flight won’t be canceled; you don’t need a phrase book; and you can’t leave your toothbrush behind. So save some stress, and some cash, by enjoying a vacation close to home. Here’s how.
 
1. MAKE PLANS
Don’t just wing it. Choose, then read up on day-trip destinations and make an itinerary for the weekend or week. To make it feel special for kids, take a drive before you “check in” at home.

2. KEEP EVERYDAY LIFE OUT
It’s a simple formula: Treat your time off at home like a vacation and it will feel like a vacation. Ban housework, set an out-of-office alert on your personal e-mail account, even stop your mail for the week. If you don’t create some separation, your staycation can end up feeling like a really long chore-laden Saturday afternoon.

3. SET A BUDGET — THEN SPEND IT
Spend a little more than usual, budgeting for meals, entertainment, and souvenirs. Look at it this way: 79 percent of vacationers surveyed by Newton-based TripAdvisor said they planned to spend $3,000 on vacations in 2012. So go ahead and buy that “I [shamrock] Boston” T-shirt. You’ll still be $2,990 ahead...