How to Roll Your Vacation Budget into Staycation Upgrades

A backyard with fireplace, outdoor furniture and beverage cart.AVN / Shutterstock Photo Lab

Canceled vacations aren’t fun, but they sometimes have a silver lining: saving money. If you miss this feeling of escape, you may want to spend your saved vacation budget on home improvements for a stay!

The good news about stays is that they cost less than a decent vacation. Even if you buy new things for your home, you still don’t spend a lot of money on air tickets, accommodation, and expensive entertainment. In addition, investing in your home has the long-term benefit of making your home a more fun and relaxing space for years to come.

Wondering how to turn your home into a vacation paradise? We have ideas!

Why you still need a vacation during lockdown

First, let’s argue for socially distant vacations.

If you were to cancel a vacation, you may have decided to forgo your vacation entirely, as you cannot jet-set anywhere. While you’re stuck at home, you might wonder why not just spend your vacation working instead?

However, the truth is that you still need breaks and time off even if you can’t go on a traditional vacation. Downtime can actually improve productivity, unlock creative breakthroughs and make yourself healthier and happier in general. You may not be able to leave your home, but free time is not a waste of time.

With the current stressful situation, your mind and body will likely benefit even more from a break from work. Of course, not everyone is able to take time off or afford extra days off. But if you can swing it, go ahead and treat yourself to a vacation. Even if it’s only a long weekend, you will come back from the refreshed break.

Now let’s see how to use your current vacation budget to improve your stay and some free options in case this vacation budget does not exist.

14 Home Improvements to Spend Your Vacation Budget

A beautiful house with garden furniture, beautiful landscaping and whirlpool.Artazum / Shutterstock

The right improvements for your stay will depend on the design of your home, your budget and what you enjoy doing with your time. But we think there is something here for everyone, from one-step purchases to whole room revisions.

Because summer is fast approaching, we are focusing on exterior upgrades first, but don’t worry, we will complete the list with interior upgrades.


Whether you are camping in the backyard or not, a foyer is a great upgrade from staycation. The hearths offer a range of experiences: the cooking of manners is simple and relaxed while sipping homemade cocktails around a fire is chic and high. Many outdoor fireplaces are surprisingly inexpensive and easy to install!

Garden furniture

If you have outdoor space, even just a balcony or patio, you can probably use outdoor furniture.

From a set of all season chairs to a hammock or porch swing, some new furniture can transform outdoor spaces into additional rooms in your home. If you can, also try to create an outdoor dining area, which will turn regular meals into outdoor vacation meals.

Picnic supplies

Outdoor furniture can be expensive. If you don’t quite have the budget or space for this upgrade, a few nice picnic supplies make a great stand-in.

Chances are you can pack a picnic at home with things you already have. But for the experience to be special, try to get a nice picnic basket and a merry outdoor blanket. Bring cheese, wine, sandwiches or whatever you want, enter your yard or garden and pretend you are in a Parisian park with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Grilling equipment

You don’t need an Airbnb near the beach to cook outside! A configuration of grills at home allows you to fully enjoy the beautiful days and outdoor meals.

Fancy grills can get very expensive, but you can get a portable basic grill for well under $ 50. No matter what you end up cooking, check out our grilling tips for excellent results.

Camping gear

If you have a yard, even a small one, you certainly have room for a tent. A few essential elements of the campsite will allow you to “get away” from your own backyard – with the undeniable advantage of running water just a few steps away.

A tent, a sleeping bag and a flashlight is a good start, but you can also do it all with a camping stove and cooking tools to maximize your time outdoors. Buy high-quality equipment so that you can use it in the future for “real” camping trips.


Do you know what a good transition from the ideas of outdoor summer life to year-round fun is? A whirlpool. Sure, hot tubs seem like a thing in hot weather, as most of us associate them with summer vacation in warm places, but ask anyone with a snowy climate and they’ll tell you that getting into a hot tub while it’s snowing is amazing.

A good hot tub isn’t cheap (but definitely cheaper than a week’s high-end vacation!) And it definitely requires more planning than just buying a fireplace and putting it in your garden or buying new chairs. for your terrace. But it’s hard to beat soaking in a hot tub with a cocktail to recreate that “I’m on vacation” feeling.

Improve your lighting

Think about your last vacation. What did the hotel, the swimming pool, the hotel restaurant and all the rest of the property have in common? Good lighting.

Whether you choose a romantic bistro for your outdoor dining area, string bistro lights or you want to give your home a soft and subtle ambient light to relax in the evening using smart lights, changing the lighting in and around your home is a very high-impact upgrade.

Best bedding

A bed fitted with high quality sheets and soft pillows.WHYFRAME / Shutterstock

Consider sleeping in a hotel, and probably the first thing that comes to mind is luxury bedding. Now is the time to invest in equally comfortable home bedding while you perfect the art of sleeping.

The white sheets still have that hotel vibe, but you can also get soft, sheets with a large number of threads in any color. Don’t forget a chic duvet cover and a few new fluffy pillows! A mattress topper can also give your old mattress a new look.

Ceiling fan

Ceiling fans may seem practical and boring, but the ceiling fan on a hot day can really bring tropical vibes to your stay. With so many models of fans, you can easily find one that improves your interior design.

Screen holder

Letting a cool breeze in through a soft screen door could make you think that the azure Mediterranean is just outside your door.

What’s wrong with soft screen doors? Unlike rigid metal doors and sliding panels (which require installation and / or existing hardware), a flexible screen door is an additional accessory that you can adapt to a sliding glass door opening of regular or sliding width. Here is an example, but you can find them in a variety of sizes.

Spa treats

If you only upgrade one room in your home before a stay, the bathroom is a great choice. It’s small, so refreshing it seems manageable. And with the door closed, the outside world disappears for a while – including the people you’re quarantined with – for a relaxing getaway, like a spa.

A recently cleaned bathroom may already look like a spa, but you can boost the mood with new decor, candles, and green plants (even artificial). Another shower curtain will really make a bathroom feel improved. For a spa atmosphere, opt for white or soft colors in your decor.

Finally, add personal care items like an exfoliant body brush or a fancy mask to complete your home spa experience!

Dining room improvements

We think that dinners are going to be a huge post-pandemic trend, as everyone will want to show off their newly organized homes and cooking skills. However, you don’t have to wait for parties to be allowed before upgrading your dining room.

Good news tableware set and some pretty glasses can upgrade meals at home and will be useful for those future dinners. A centerpiece or a tablecloth gives any old dining table a new look. Put a little more care and attention into the presentation of meals at home and you will start to feel holiday vibes.

The essentials of the cocktail

For many people, a vacation is not complete without cocktails. Now you can make your own staycation cocktails, which is actually more fun than you think!

A set of basic bar tools lets you prepare cocktails in seconds, and you can search all imaginable drink recipes online. But if you try to stay out of your phone during your free time, hang on mixology book for recipes instead.

Fresh paint

If you want something more like a DIY project, painting a room or two is a great way to make your home a getaway. The cool color will make your eyes see familiar spaces in a new way.

You can choose a timeless or trendy color– it is up to you – but be sure to plan a dwell time without a project to benefit from the results once the painting is finished.

Free stay ideas

Family watching a film projected on the wall of their living room.Evgeny Atamaneko / Shutterstock

Not everyone has the money to buy new things for their home right now, but a tight budget doesn’t mean you have to give up on a vacation. Give your free time a feeling of escape with these free upgrades!

Configure another sleeping or dining area

There are strong links between sense of novelty and the feeling of happiness, which can explain why the holidays can make us happier. New views and experiences tend to give us positive feelings.

You can take advantage of this new feature simply by creating a new space to eat or sleep in your home. Take blankets and pillows in your bedroom and have a comfortable sleep retreat in another part of the house. Transform a low coffee table into an alternative dining space using pillows on the floor as cushions. Doing something ordinary, like eating or sleeping, in a different place can make your home cool and interesting.

Create a restaurant experience

You probably already have what you need to recreate a home dining experience! You can create a theme “menu” using what’s already in your fridge or freezer. Then put the table down, turn off the lights and choose a playlist. For more details on how to make restaurant quality home meals, see this post.

Improve your movie nights

You can watch almost everything at home, but people still like going to the movies because it’s an experience. Fortunately, you can also recreate a theatrical experience at home for a discreet stay activity.

Pull the curtains or temporarily hang blankets over your windows to darken the room if it lights up. Take out your softest blankets to make your furniture more comfortable. Prepare some snacks and drinks, so as not to get up to go down to the fridge in the middle of the film.

Use candles, string lights or any other low light source you have to provide barely present lighting. Finally, clean the room a little and hide the clutter, so that nothing distracts you from what is on the screen. You may not have an advanced cinema system, but these upgrades will help make personal movies an immersive experience.

Rearrange your furniture

You can make your home look totally different without buying anything new, just by reorganizing it. This gives you a dose of this addictive novelty, which makes your stay more exciting. Plus, the reorganization process can be fun in itself, helping you see your home in a new creative light.

Staying at home for the long term isn’t what most people would choose, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking for ways to have fun. These upgrades give you a reason to take the time to recharge and de-stress. And even after the travel restrictions are lifted, you may have to choose to repeat the experience of staying in your newly renovated home!

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