INSIDE: Traveling right now is the pits. There are typically too many restrictions to really enjoy yourself. Try these quarantine staycation ideas so you can still create some family memories.
Even though the pandemic has stalled most travel for what feels like forever, you can still plan and “go” on relaxing and fun family vacations. Yes, your downtime together will look a little bit different this year, but you and your family can create wonderful memories on a quarantine staycation.
A quarantine staycation is a vacation close to home instead of flying across the country. Rather than heading somewhere else, you bring the vacation to your home (even as close as your backyard), and you can explore sights and attractions that are close by.
How to Embrace the Idea of a Quarantine Staycation (Even If You’re Bummed About It)
I get it: You’d probably rather travel than stay home. You’re thinking, “what is a vacation if we can’t go anywhere?”
So the trick to planning an amazing quarantine staycation is not to focus on the fact that you can’t jet off somewhere or take a multi-day road trip … and instead really identify the aspects of a vacation that make you most happy.
Is it spending time with people you love?
Is it learning about new cultures and trying new foods?
Is it being in nature, enjoying the fresh air, and unplugging for a while?
Once you know what you’re looking for, you can come up with ways to have those experiences closer to home.
Planning Ahead for Your Staycation Is Key
Don’t wander into your staycation with no plan or else your vacation time could end up looking a lot like a regular old day.
If you normally travel to the beach for vacation, then plan a tropical staycation with beach chairs and virgin (or not!) margaritas. Borrow or buy the supplies you need to make it happen. If you’re craving a spa day, then plan to spend your time in a fluffy robe and hit up the drugstore for stuff to do homemade facials and manicures. The goal is to have some loose structure so you treat your staycation as a vacation instead of reverting to your every-day tasks.
Just as you would prepare to go away on a vacation, you should prepare for your staycation. This means clearing your schedule, cleaning the house and paying your bills before your vacation starts. If you’re planning to bbq or camp in the backyard, then “pack up” all of the supplies you need to make it happen. The goal is to remove all of the regular, every-day burdens so you can focus on relaxing and having fun.
Creative Quarantine Staycation Ideas
There are a ton of themes you can use to plan a creative staycation. Again, think about the regular vacations you like to take and then put them into a staycation format. Here are a few relaxing staycation ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
If your favorite part of traveling is enjoying new foods, then bring the culinary experience home. What kind of new foods do you want to explore? Do you want to dig into Italian cuisine, experience the tastes of Thailand, or mix it up with a new culinary destination at every meal? Enjoy a weekend of cooking or relax and order in. Set your table according to your culinary theme and take the time to really savor the meals. Play some traditional music from the region as you eat for extra ambiance.
Film Festival Staycation
Looking to relax, unwind, and be entertained? Why not plan a film festival staycation. Grab your coziest blanket, your favorite snack, and make a list of the movies you’ve been too busy to watch. Create a “film festival schedule” and spend a weekend vegging out in front of the TV.
The same thing works for those streaming series everyone else has seen — plan to watch the whole show during your staycation.
If you were planning to go on a yoga retreat, turn your home into a yoga retreat instead. Create your own backyard oasis, grab your yoga mat and stream a yoga class online. Wear your comfiest yoga clothes (maybe treat yourself to some new ones) and make a concerted effort to totally unplug. Get some luxurious scented candles to help you relax into your practice.
Staycation Ideas for Kids
If you’re looking for fun things to do to keep your kids happy and busy during spring break or summer vacation, here are some fun ideas (and they’re probably cheaper than sending them camp for a week)!
If you love to be outside with your kids, plan a fun camping staycation. You can book a site at a local campground or you can bring the campsite to your backyard. Prepare some firewood and plan to roast hot dogs and marshmallows over the campfire. Pitch a tent in the backyard and tell ghost stories under the stars. The best parts about camping at home are less packing, less time in a cramped car, and the ability to order take-out from your favorite local restaurant if that campfire hotdog isn’t your thing.
If you and your family enjoy an active vacation filled with hiking, biking, or adventure sports, then plan to do the same thing — just a little closer to home. Before your staycation starts, choose some hiking trails, prepare your backpack and plan to do a few day trips to a local, state, or national park. Buy some fun snacks to enjoy when you reach the top of the mountain. Bring your camera and act like a tourist.
Pro tip: National parks and many state parks charge entrance fees. If you think you’ll visit another park in the next year, it’s often cheaper to buy the annual pass.
Bring the beach to you. Depending on the weather, you can fill up a kiddie pool, lay out your beach towel, and enjoy a good book in the sun. You can entertain your kids with some fun beach activities like badminton, flying a kite, or doing a backyard scavenger hunt. If it’s too cold to go outside, bring the fun inside. Visit a local aquarium, or take a virtual tour of one. Wear your favorite beach attire inside, grab a tropical drink (complete with tiny umbrella), and put on your favorite beach movie to bring some ambiance to your space. Don’t forget the sunscreen — even if it’s just for that iconic smell.
Benefits of a Quarantine Staycation
While a staycation might not be what you had in mind, it can be a lot of fun. Spend some time coming up with your favorite staycation ideas and then make it happen.
Also, focus on the positives! There are some serious benefits to staying close to home. Going for a local hike or camping in your backyard is a whole lot cheaper than flying somewhere. Not to mention that there’s a lot less packing and no possibility of jet lag.
Try to embrace where you are and use your staycation time to enjoy the things that make you and your family most happy.
–By Jessica Martel