Show of hands: Who could really use a vacation right about now? After months of being cooped up inside, struggling to adjust to our “new normal” and missing our old habits and freedoms, the chance to get away and take a break from reality sounds like heaven right now.
But as much as some factions may insist otherwise, the world largely still isn’t safe for traveling, and for at least the next month or so, health officials and experts are still urging us to stay home as much as possible. We’re not in the home stretch yet, but we could all use an escape. It sounds like now is the perfect time for a staycation.
While a staycation would usually mean going away to a local hotel, resort, or rental to get away from your house for a bit, that’s not an option, so we’re going to turn your home into your own private hotel, where you can enjoy and luxuriate in all the fun and relaxing activities you normally would on a vacation. Here are some tips on how to plan and enjoy your own staycation!
Take a Few Days Off Work
Many people are working from home now, which blurs the line between work and downtime. But you wouldn’t be filing reports or answering work emails on an actual vacation, would you? No, you’d have taken a few days off, put up your out-of-office email reply, turned off notifications, and actually disconnected from work. So do the same here. Request the time you want off of work, keep that work laptop closed, and don’t do any work.
Disconnect and Disengage
Especially right now, we need breaks from real life. On vacation, we generally refrain from doing our average, everyday things like watching the news or being online all the time. So you should do the same for your staycation; if you watch TV or check your phone, don’t look at news websites or start scrolling through Twitter or Facebook. Let your friends and family know you’re taking a few days to yourself (or with your family and/or partner) for a special staycation and that you’ll check in with them later. Turn off notifications for news and emails. Actually disconnecting from the world and the Internet will ease stress and anxiety and allow you to better relax.
No Chores Allowed!
I know you’re at home and you may be tempted to think, “Oh, I have some downtime, I should work on that project” or “Just let me put the dishwasher away really quick.” No. Drop the vacuum, duster, or whatever, and step away from the chores. You are on a staycation, and that means no chores, no responsibilities. To keep chores off your mind, do a deep clean a few days ahead of your staycation so that your “home-tel” is clean and pristine and you won’t be distracted from your activities and relaxation. I know that doing a deep clean is no one’s idea of fun, but if anything, it may even boost the anticipation of the days you’ll have off to enjoy a clean, clutter-free space. Also, go to the grocery store to stock up beforehand, and treat yourself to all your favorite goodies and treats.
Let Go of Your Schedule
Another benefit of vacation is the general lack of a schedule; unless you have reservations for meals or activities, your time is your own. So turn off those alarm clocks and allow yourself to sleep in, get up when you want, and just go about the day at your leisure. Try not to look at your phone, watch, or clocks too much to check the time; you have nowhere to be and nothing to do. It’s vacation; you get to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Although establishing an ordinary routine at home over the past few months has helped many people adjust to the sudden change in their work and living routine, here’s the opportunity to throw that schedule out the window for a few days.
Plan Some Fun Activities
One of the best parts of vacation? Trying something new and seeing the local sights! Exploring your destination by going on tours, visiting museums or important sites, and trying regional activities are all ways to add educational and immersive fun to a trip. Granted, since we can’t leave the house, options are more limited for staycation activities, but, as the proliferation of virtual tours and activities over the past few months has proved, there are still plenty of ways to explore without going outside. Buy some VR or 3-D glasses and go on a tour of a museum you’ve never been to. Pretend you’re taking a cooking class and learn a new dish by following along with an instructional cooking video. Wish that you were at the beach drinking your weight in Mai Tais? Make a Mai Tai, put on your swimsuit or casual clothes, lay down on a towel on your balcony, backyard, or even just sunny spot in the living room (we’re all making do with what we have), put on some ocean sounds, close your eyes, and just chill. Get creative and try new things, there are all kinds of ways to have fun vacation-style activities while at home.
Do Some Fun Decorating
Adding some new decorations or design touches to help your home feel more like a hotel or getaway will also help it feel more like a vacation than just being stuck hanging out at home. And you can go as big or as little as you like. If you wish you were on vacation at a particular destination, maybe buy some themed decorations and turn your home into a tropical hideaway or romantic European city. If you just want a few nice touches here and there, maybe string up some twinkly lights for a more magical atmosphere. A temporary redecoration will definitely help set the mood for your staycation.
Have a Spa Day
Who among us doesn’t love treating ourselves to some luxurious spa and wellness experiences while on vacation? Whether it’s getting a nice massage, a facial scrub, or relaxing in a hot tub, it’s nice to spend a day or two pampering ourselves. Plan a spa day for your staycation: take a long, hot bath with some calming music. If you are sheltering-in-place with a partner, give each other massages and foot rubs. Do some meditation and yoga. Indulge yourself for a day and really take care of your body. Oh, and make cucumber water to really up the spa vibes.
Another one of the best parts of going on vacation is definitely the food. You get to go out to exciting new restaurants, try new dishes, and experience a new cuisine or foodie scene. The chance to expand your culinary horizons — and not have to make it yourself or do dishes — are some of the true joys of traveling. And the same should ring true for staycations. Even if you’ve been trying to be frugal and/or safe and not order so much take-out or delivery right now, this is the chance to treat yourself. Order-in meals from your favorite restaurants or take a chance on that restaurant down the block you’ve been meaning to try forever and order something new and unexpected. Many restaurants around the States also offer to-go booze, so you can get the complete package.
If You Prefer Cooking, Make Your Faves or Try New Recipes
Alternatively, if you enjoy doing your own cooking while on camping trips or whatnot, then do that! Plan a backyard barbecue with all your favorites, find some new fancy recipes to try out in the kitchen, or just do some of your favorite tried-and-true staples for easy, no-stress meals that won’t detract from your staycation time. Some restaurants are even are doing meal-prep kits for people to take home, so you can simply enjoy the meal without much fuss.
Buy a Local Souvenir
Just because we’re not going further than our front doors doesn’t mean we can’t still buy some gifts to help us remember this special occasion. Treat yourself by ordering a staycation souvenir from a store in your area; maybe there’s an item of clothing from a local boutique that you’ve been eyeing, a print from an area photographer that you’d love for your living room, or some home goods from a nearby store that would be perfect for your kitchen. Get them! Recreate the souvenir shopping experience by bringing something new into your home to remind you of your COVID-19 staycation, and it will help support small, local businesses during this time.
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