The Art of the Staycation
When it comes time to take a vacation, your options may be quite limited during the COVID-19 pandemic. As stay-at-home orders across the country try slowing the spread of the virus, many non-essential businesses are closed to visitors. In these times, it may seem difficult to plan and execute a thrill-filled family vacation.
Thankfully, your well-deserved vacation doesn’t have to be so glum. While you may not have unfettered access to luxurious beaches or big cities, you still have access to imagination, family and a wealth of staycation ideas!
That’s right: staycation — a vacation you take without hopping on a plane, taking the train or enduring a long car ride. It may seem like a silly waste of vacation days, but it’s actually a great way to get caught up, relax and get a fresh perspective on your life.
Not to mention staycations are far more affordable than venturing out of town. And avoiding airport security lines and weekend traffic? That’s just an added bonus.
Intrigued? Go for it and make the most of your staycation with these fun-filled activities.
Staycation Ideas at Home
By definition, staycationing means taking a vacation without ever leaving your home and, conveniently, the easiest way to practice social distancing. Here are some ways you can enjoy your time off and treat yourself without ever leaving your property:
Plan an at-home camp out
Pop a tent in your backyard and set the scene with all the camping essentials — think s’mores supplies, an acoustic guitar for fireside singalongs and a deck of cards. Plus, if bad weather shows up, you’ve got an easy retreat into the comfort of your home.
Binge watch on your favorite streaming service
Plan a themed movie night and pick films that’ll bring you hours of entertainment. And don’t forget to stock up on your favorite theater snacks! Rent or stream films with similar themes, actors or directors and have an all-day — and maybe even all-night — movie marathon.
Want to make binging your favorite show even more fun? Do it on a weekday. You’re on a well-earned vacation, after all!
Plan a tour of a virtual museum
World-renowned museums, hosting some of the finest art in the world, offer free virtual tours online. Museums like the Guggenheim, the Louvre and the Smithsonian have beautiful works on display — at your fingertips, on your own time — all from the comfort of your couch.
Reconnect with friends through video chats
Take this time to ring someone far away to chat. No agenda, just time to catch up and escape from the normal distractions that usually sidetrack or prevent the conversation. They’ll be glad you took the time to call.
Treat yourself to simpler pleasures
In our ever-busy lives, it can be hard to find time just for ourselves. But when you’re on your dream staycation, the time is all yours to do with as you please! Go ahead and take that bubble bath, learn a new hobby or read the book that’s been collecting dust on your shelf. Even plan a no-equipment home workout! It’s the perfect time to disconnect and focus on yourself.
Order in from your favorite local restaurant
Leave the cooking to the professionals for an evening and order in a luxury or guilty-pleasure meal. Even if your favorite restaurant won’t deliver your prime rib dinner, there are plenty of small businesses pairing up with meal delivery services that can get your food to you in a snap.
Local Vacation Spots in Your Town or City
When you’re on a staycation, you don’t have to avoid your front door and stick to your couch. Enjoying the city or town you live in gives you a chance to enjoy some of its best offerings — things you probably see every day but simply haven’t taken the time to enjoy. Here’s what to do:
Celebrate your favorite small businesses
Despite many non-essential services being required or opting to stay closed to reduce the spread of COVID-19, there are several businesses that remain open to curbside and delivery service.
Try a new restaurant, shop online, picnic at a new park or visit a museum you’ve never been to. Expand your horizons, and you’ll enjoy something that might’ve been in front of your face the entire time! Plus, spending money in your hometown is great for your local small business economy.
Book a room at a local hotel
Odds are your town or a city nearby has a luxury hotel, but since your house is just minutes away, you’ve probably never thought to say there. Why not spring for a fancy room with great views and room service? We all deserved to be pampered from time to time. Pair your hotel stay with a night on the town and you’ll feel like you’re in the big city! Be sure to contact the hotel and familiarize yourself with booking details. Each hotel will have health and safety precautions to be aware of.
Enjoy nature and plan time for some sun
Whether you live in an apartment with a patio or a countryside home with an expansive yard, we can all find little ways to soak up some sun and breathe in fresh air. Simply set out a lawn chair or go on a hike to local landmarks. You don’t need to head to the mountains or camp at a national park to enjoy nature’s beauty — you’d be surprised at just how refreshing it is to enjoy your surroundings.
Now that you’ve got your staycation planned, use these tips to avoid distractions, enjoy the time off and make the most of your well-deserved break from the real world:
Disconnect from social media and the internet
Even if you don’t completely power your phone down, at least put it on silent and avoid looking at it every couple of minutes. Put away your laptop, tablet and other connected electronics too. It feels good to disconnect and get rid of the constant checking of text messages, social media and weather updates.
Don’t check your work or personal email
You’re on your personal vacation! Whatever your coworker, Aunt Mary or neighbor Bob are sending you can wait until you’re back on the clock.
Avoid some chores for a little while
Put off doing the dishes; leave the lawn alone. Seriously, any of those tedious at-home chores can wait! Take this time to relax and enjoy your family.
Leave the stressful activities where they belong — far away from your holiday.
No matter how you choose to spend your hard-earned days off, remember to skip the rigorous itinerary and allow yourself the chance to unwind and reboot. It’s possible to be conscious of health and safety while having a blast, getting creative and relaxing. There’s something truly powerful about slowing down to appreciate your life just as it is, no bells and whistles. And the savings come with perks, too.
Stay safe, healthy and happy staycationing!