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Did you suddenly look up to find that it’s August?

It’s funny that not too long ago, many women were eager to greet the summer with a fresh stack of summer reads they hoped would accompany them on a beachside hammock. Now, as the air starts to cool and hint at autumn and the onslaught of back-to-school commercials pipe through the television, the middle of August beckons with an even more disheartening revelation: you haven’t had a summer vacation.

Summer’s the easy season, a time for sunny adventures in an exotic locale or a road trip with girlfriends. But at a reported average of $1,180 per person, a relaxing vacation can come with unwarranted financial stress. Did an unexpected car repair eat into you vacation savings? Don’t think you can scrape together airfare before Labor Day hits? Were you caught in a harried work schedule during June and July? Though your cruise ship dreams may have fallen short this summer, you haven’t missed the boat. You don’t always have to vacate to have a vacation; a staycation (a period of time where you relax at home) in your neck of the woods might be what you need to recharge, regroup, and recalibrate your senses. Here are some hints for finding some R & R right where you are:

– If you inform your boss that there’s no cell phone service on the high seas or of the exorbitant cell phone roaming fees in Rome, he shouldn’t expect you to be available via text or e-mail. And you shouldn’t be – you’re on vacation. The same rule applies to a staycation. Just as you’d do miles away from the office, unplug from the responsibilities of work. Let your boss know you’ll be unavailable. Resist the urge to check e-mail or to swing by your nearby office one afternoon to “check in.” A simple “I’ll respond to e-mail messages upon my return” should suffice for your automatic out-of-office reply to senders, no matter how close you are to home.

Be A Tourist in Your Town – Been meaning to check out the observatory deck on the local skyscraper? Never had the time to eat at the famous hole-in-the-wall on the outskirts of town? A staycation is the perfect opportunity to explore your city with fresh eyes. Why not grab a tourist guide and appreciate the sights you may have taken for granted as resident? Walk at a tourist’s pace downtown, look up at the height of the buildings, take pictures at all the landmarks. Instead of stomping across the bridge, stop to marvel at the gleam of the river below you. Pack a picnic for the rolling meadows or go for a hike on the trail that’s only a few miles away from you that thousands may travel long distances just to see.

Take a Spa Weekend at a Local Hotel – Scour travel websites to find deals on spa getaway packages at a nearby inn. Pack a small bag and stay the night to make the luxury last. Check out the services offered by local massage and cosmetology schools, too. You can find professional-quality treatments and rubdowns for prices that won’t dent your pocketbook.

Camp Out in Your Own Backyard
– Erect a tent and fire up the grill for some s’mores . Enjoying the great outdoors in your own backyard makes for a great late-summer’s night retreat with friends or a romantic romp with your honey.

Pamper Yourself and Your Place – Hire a cleaning crew to handle your weekend chores. Have them freshen your sheets, fluff your pillows, and light candles on the tables before they leave. The collection of take-out menus stacked in the kitchen drawer? Put them to good use this weekend and have your meals prepared and brought to your front door. Bring the spa to you, too: many spas offer mobile massage services that will come to your home.

The idea is to find space where, at once, you can decompress and make new discoveries without taking a major hit in your wallet. Stay in town and take it easy.

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