I’m all for going away. I love getting a break from campus life, and a little room to breathe. But what if that’s not possible? It’s not always practical to leave your school stomping grounds, and for whatever the reason—cost, distance, timing, you can still make the best of your time at school. Why not try relaxing and taking a little “staycation” right on your very own campus?

So how do you staycation? What does that even mean? It’s means taking a break, and having fun right where you are—no beach or resorts necessary—and all without ever leaving your college campus!

The options are endless when trying to plan a mini getaway for you and your friends all without really going anywhere. Try to spice up your regular routine and add a little fun.

It’s Friday night, everyone is out and you and the roommates are staying in. This would be the perfect opportunity for a movie marathon! What are your favorites? Chick flicks? Scary Sagas? Action Adventures? Warm up your Netflix account, dust off your pile of DVDs and grab your snuggie! To really get the night going, dare I suggest picking a pint or two of your favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? This can be a girl’s night, guy’s night, bring your friend and your neighbor night, whoever, wherever, bring out the inner film critic in you and settle in for a night of movie madness.

Another great option to spice up your school stay? Have a themed night in your living room or closest dorm lounge. Why not try a pizza party, a Mexican fiesta, heck why not throw a friendly luau and hula with your friends? When you’re cramped on campus it’s all about stretching your imagination and getting the best of situations you may already be in—i.e. home on a Friday, studying in a lounge, roaming around the quad! Look up fun recipes, have an arts and crafts party to make “decorations”, go all out! It’s not like there are hundreds of your college peers watching from afar—they aren’t even on campus. This is your time to get creative.

So you’re not into costumes and umbrella drinks? No Problem! You can always get up and go out! Your school probably offers a variety of late night programming or activities. Check the schedule, find their website, or visit your programming office to get more information. If none of those work, become a local tourist in your neighborhood or city! Have you seen all the sites? Tried a few different dining favorites, or local gems? Look up the city’s visitor center—often times there will be tons of free or discounted coupons for entry into city attractions, museums, shows, etc. Another great resource if you’re looking to be surprised and to try something new is UrbanSpoon. Using this app you can find hidden restaurants and yummy places to try all just by shaking your phone! Go out on a whim and let your phone, budget or mood pick a place for you! Grab some friends and pretend you are on a real vacation trying the cuisine for the first time!

The thrill of vacations is often centered on the feeling of adventure, and trying something new. While that is all fine and dandy, sometimes the best vacations can be focused instead on “catching up” and rejuvenating.  College students need sleep and time to rest. Definitely do a few, fun, and “out of the box” type of activities but also remember to take time for yourself and catch up on things that are important to you. Sleep is a big one for most students, but what about reading? When is the last time you sat down with a good book and actually read the words instead of just pretending to highlight them? Take this break time to unwind and prepare for the rest of the semester. Spring Break is here, but that means finals and the end of the semester are just around the corner. Try a few low maintenance activities like baking, or a little service in your community (walks, cleanups, soup kitchens, etc.).

The thrill of vacations can be about whatever you choose, but the joys of a “staycation” are endless! Think big and small and cater your break to fit your needs and fill any voids! Just remember to take everything with a grain of salt, your friends may be away—maybe on a beach—but they have to come home eventually and catch up on reality, you on the other hand can be snuggled up with a good book, a cupcake, watching reruns and relaxing.

-Ring Queen

I’m reading A People’s History of the United States: 1492-present