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6 genius hacks for your best staycation ever

If a year of hanging around the house has you desperate for a change of scenery, but air and international travel still remain firmly on the back burner, then a staycation is just the thing to create vacay vibes while still observing public health and safety recommendations.

To be clear, we don’t mean “staycation” in the sense of firing up the backyard BBQ, tiki torches, and a coconut candle in hopes of replicating Hawaiian nights. (Trust us, even when we tried this charade and squinted hard, we couldn't fool ourselves with this one.) Instead, we’re talking about really getting away by booking a stay at a private property or hotel within easy driving distance.

To start, features more than 2.5 million private properties to choose from, in addition to countless hotels and resorts. With every type of accommodation available — from beach houses to cottages, cabins to ryokans, mansions to tree houses — finding an unexpected locale just miles away is much easier than you think. Ahead, see our best tips for booking a staycation so rewarding, it rivals the otherworldly feel of international travel. Plus, save on your trip with earned Honey Gold and 20% off stays through 5/31.

Get away without the crowds

Aren’t sure how to approach a family getaway in 2021? Think like a celebrity who is an expert at minimizing interactions with the public: Book a private space that both minimizes exposure and maximizes vacation feels. Filter searches for guest houses, B&Bs, vacation homes, homestays, and resorts then select an option with your own freestanding dwelling, private entrances and exits, and pool or jacuzzi. While on your trip, consider using food delivery and in-home massage services to round out your private retreat. The result: all the restorative benefits of a vacation without the exposure.

Live that estate life

If your experience with estate living is limited to reality TV, simulate your own Real Housewives, Calabasasian, or even Jersey Shore experience by splashing out on a nearby mansion for a couple of nights. Luxurious estates don’t just offer resort living without the crowds (think: pools, hot tubs, mini bowling alleys, and tennis courts, on-site bars, and infrared saunas), they can also be surprisingly affordable when booking for families or pods of eight or more. Try searching your county on booking sites, then narrow your choices to “villas” and see how the other half lives (and selfies) without breaking the bank.

Change your plans with no penalty

 If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that life has a way of upending even the most basic of plans — even if they’re as simple as staying in a hotel an hour up the road. That’s why reserving accommodations with a generous cancelation policy is key. Look for options that allow free cancellation or no prepayment as part of the reservation policy. This little bit of insurance will help save hundreds of dollars in the event that work obligations or a last-minute COVID-19 test changes everything. 

Turn travel into gift cards

Big travel purchases — like long-term stays in hotels or multi-night staycations at luxury properties — can mean big rewards when using big travel sites. For instance, when making reservations via, you can earn Honey Gold. In turn, Honey Gold can be redeemed in gift cards for retailers (like Nordstrom and Sephora); charitable giving organizations (such as CharityChoice); and even restaurants to visit while on your staycation (including Chipotle).

Staycation with Fido

With the US Department of Transportation tightening rules on air travel with pets, counting your four-legged friends in on vacation plans just got trickier — unless your plan is a staycation, of course. When booking, narrow your search on travel sites to “pet friendly.” The move won’t just help you save on pet-sitting costs, it will up the fun factor on your getaway, too. Because let’s face it, road trips, afternoon walks, and nighttime snuggles just aren’t the same without the family pet along for the ride.

Escape like you’ve never escaped before

You don’t have to fly to Costa Rica for a magical treehouse stay or the English countryside for a cottagecore experience that would turn influencers moss-green with envy. As it turns out, some of the most unique accommodations are right here in the USA (and likely, very near your own stomping grounds) — you just have to know where to look. For instance, stays in a renovated train station, at an aurora borealis viewing deck, a Versailles-like castle in the heart of Kentucky, even a jail-themed hotel (in a renovated prison, no less) are all available in the USA, something that allows us to live out our most far-flung fantasies without having to pack a passport.

Don't have Honey yet? Download it for free! You must be 18+ years old to be a Honey member or user. Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication. This blog is not endorsed by, directly affiliated with, maintained, authorized, or sponsored by any third-party brand. All product and company names are the registered trademarks of their original owners.