how to make real life like a vacation

How to Make Every Day Feel Like a Vacation


Towards the end of our holiday, just as the going-home blues were starting to set in, Terry and I got to talking about the things we could do back home, to try to make ourselves feel like we were still on vacation.

Of course, some things are completely out with your control in that respect: work and weather being the main ones. And I’m not about to start slathering myself with sunscreen, or wandering around in a bathing suit either, for that matter, because I just don’t think that would go down well in the village, somehow. Being at home is never going to feel exactly like a vacation, obviously, but we realised there are some elements of a holiday that you CAN carry over into your “real” life: the little things you do while you’re away that make you feel happier, or more relaxed, but which often get forgotten about once you’re back in your normal routine. Here are a few of the ideas we came up with…

how to make every day feel like a vacation

Go for a walk without a destination

When was the last time you went out for a walk just to explore, and without a particular destination in mind? Terry and I walk all the time on vacation, but hardly ever when we’re at home, which means there are some foreign cities that I know better than my own village: weird!  There’s a lot to be said for exploring an area on foot, though, and even if it’s a place you’re familiar with, there’s always something new to spark the imagination, and make you feel like you’re on an adventure – and you gotta love an adventure, right?

Get lost

When we’re in the car, we tend to just drive from A to B, always taking the quickest, most direct route, even although it’s a road we’ve travelled a hundred times before. Sometimes you don’t really have a choice with this one, but if you do have a bit of extra time, try taking a different route, or turning down that street you drive past every day but have never travelled. Sure, you might get a bit lost, but that’s half the fun, isn’t it? (Unless you get REALLY lost, and find yourself stuck down a well or something. That probably WOULDN’T be much fun…)

Go out just for coffee

At home, it wouldn’t occur to me to go out just to grab a cup of coffee, or sit in a cafe for an hour or so: I’d feel like I was wasting time, or that there was something else I should be doing instead. (Also, MONEY.) Sometimes, though, the thing I should be doing is taking the time to look around me and just exist for a little while, without the pressure to do anything. It’s really easy to let work and other commitments get in the way of that, but unless there’s something really pressing to take care of, it can be nice to just sit and watch the world go by, like you do on vacation. Speaking of which…

Read a book

I love reading, but it’s another luxury that tends to get reserved for holidays these days. Seriously, the last time I read an entire book in one sitting, I was on a plane, which is kind of tragic considering how much I enjoy it. I don’t expect to read entire books in the middle of a working week- I mean, I WISH –  but I’m sure I can find the odd twenty minutes here and there for something. And, ooh, I’ve just thought – I could get one of those miniature bottles of wine to drink while I was doing it! And a bag of pretzels! And someone to sit in front of me and recline their seat, so I can’t move! Er, OK, maybe not the last one…

Be a tourist

A lot of people don’t like being seen to do “touristy” things – especially not in their own city. For some reason, there’s a bit of a stigma attached to “being a tourist”, which I’ve never really understood, because what could be better than getting out and seeing the world around you? We have no problem doing “touristy” things when we’re abroad, but we don’t often do them at home, which is a shame, because all of those days out I’ve written about  have left me feeling so much happier and relaxed afterwards: exactly like I’ve had a mini-vacation, in fact. The great thing about being a tourist in your own city is that you can see things in the off-season, when they’re less crowded (and often less expensive, too): and even if they’re not, nothing will make you feel like you’re on vacation quite like surrounding yourself with people who actually are.

Make breakfast an event

Most of the time I don’t even EAT breakfast, let alone linger over it: I get up and head straight to my desk, where I’ll start checking emails etc while I drink the first coffee of the day. I’m probably not going to start creating elaborate breakfasts every morning, but even just taking my coffee outside, and away from the computer, would make for a better start to the day.

Have a day without any plans

One of the things I love most about being on holiday is that feeling when you wake up in the morning and know there’s absolutely nowhere you have to be, and nothing you have to do: the day is completely yours, to do whatever you like with. I can’t do that at home every day,  but even when I DO find myself with a free day, I’ll normally end up working, catching up with chores, or doing something equally dull-but-necessary. Those things ARE necessary, and I’m not saying they should be ignored completely, but every so often it can be good to forget all of that stuff and do whatever you fancy – within reason, obviously…

Give your home the hotel treatment

I’d love for my home to feel like a boutique hotel, but until I win the lottery, I’m going to have to make do with some new towels, the highest-quality bedsheets I can afford, and maybe a few nice products to use in the shower. Oh, and if I can just persuade Terry to leave a chocolate on my pillow every night, that would be pretty sweet, too…

Any other ideas?


  • When I first moved to Wales, every weekend felt a bit like a holiday because of the change of scenery and the fact that everything was new. Now, even after being there for 6 months, it still feels a bit like this and we go out for coffee every sunday, just to chill out and have a chat without any distractions. It’s one of my favourite times of the week and I can’t believe we didn’t do it when we lived in Scotland.

    November 5, 2015
  • What an absolutely lovely idea! Saving this post for my next stint of holiday blues 🙂 x
    Sophie Cliff

    November 5, 2015
  • I moved to California 20+ years ago and realize that it should feel a bit more like vacation here. Yet I have to always remind myself to do that…

    Years ago, I had neighbors from Denmark, and they had the best 1.5 years here and made every day count (despite the fact that the husband actually worked many more hours here than in Denmark). Yet they played tennis every evening, went swimming, really explored the area and just didn’t take the sunshine and great surroundings for granted. They are always in my mind when life starts feeling too much like work and no play.

    I think making every day a bit more of a vacation has a lot to do with your mindset and what you focus on. If you are too hyper-focused on work and all the problems, you don’t see the beauty all around you. It’s so important to take some time to enjoy each day. For me, that’s right now a daily walk, and I actually try to explore as much as possible while I’m on my walks. I also love to read and have to make more time for reading!!!

    November 5, 2015
  • Breakfast is a proper treat on weekends – usually during the week I’m out the door very early, and don’t eat breakfast until I get to my office. On weekends though, it’s a proper event, and my husband and I cook together, usually some new fancy way of doing a breakfast staple (Like eggs in clouds, have you tried it?!). I also believe in being a tourist in your own neighbourhood, so I try and get out to see local museums and things.

    Lots of inspiring ideas here, but I have to admit I’m looking at breaks abroad for next year already…

    November 5, 2015
  • Mademoiselle Amber, I am completely agree with you… Actually, all these things are part of my routine… I walk every single day to my office, which is about 40min from home and also swim twice a week.. the list is quite long, so I won’t mention all. I learned long ago that a sane and balanced life is to enjoy the simple things in life and give quality time to the number one and to our loved ones. BTW feeling happy today… the sun shines in my little town…and just had my favourite cake “Embroisie” Hurrah!!!

    November 5, 2015
  • anya


    I can say that my life has been better since i hired a cleaner and bought a dishwasher. I know it sounds stupid but i like very much to be clutter free and my husband is the type to leave a half empty bag of groceries on the kitchen floor for two weeks if i do not take measures. So yes, it was tiring and we both felt that we spend half of week-ends cleaning. Now we look forward to coming home friday evening to a spotless home . Dishes are much easier and i can manage them during the week etc. And we freed that saturday mornings for walks in the parc instead of vacuuming.
    It is not *That* expensive, we budgeted for it( i would rather cook a few meals at home) ( cause i can run to the market in the evenings/mornings) take a few less cabs and generally be more chill.
    Walking in the nature is seriously great. I personally prefer the walk in the nature towards that cute and cozy coffeshop where i can take a coffe and a treat 🙂

    November 5, 2015
  • genevieve


    What a great, practical set of suggestions!

    November 5, 2015
  • Hana


    Oh, this post really hit home. I especially agree on how important it is to just go for a coffee without feeling you should be doing something more productive – most times, when I “forbid” myself to just exist, I only end up reading stuff online or watching Netflix instead anyway! Really great tips, it just shows how travelling makes you see everything in perspective.

    November 5, 2015
  • Deanna Debrecht


    I totally agree about taking your coffee outside in the morning – one of my favorite ways to start the day is by sitting on my front porch with my coffee and my dog, enjoying the view of the lake across the street from my house! Even if I only sit there for 20 minutes before getting ready for work, it totally changes my day!

    November 6, 2015
  • Definitely with you on the make your home like a hotel!Obviously it’s unrealistic for the whole house to have that feel, so at our house we’ve chosen the bedroom and bathroom as the rooms to try and maintain that feeling, meaning keeping the decor very minimalist and tidy, and stocking up on luxury candles, toiletries and always making sure towels are neatly folded and the bed is made – it works!

    November 6, 2015
  • Wow ! really so good post and better writing.. it’s can feel a person every day happy !!

    November 9, 2015