Slow the pace. You spend so much time rushing from one thing to the next, so your goal with a staycation should be to do the opposite of that. Allow yourself to be unproductive. The number one rule of an at-home vacation is to unplug. Treat this like a real vacation and put on your out of office, turn off your email and meeting reminder notifications on your phone and shut down your laptop. Notify your key points of contact that you’ll be on vacation and unavailable during your time off (except for emergencies, of course). Steer clear of the social media black hole. Social media is an excellent distraction from everyday life, but vacation is a time to be present and truly enjoy what you are experiencing, rather than just tweeting time away. Turn off all your notifications and enjoy NOT being attached to your phone. That quick Instagram check will probably lead to an email review.
Throw Out Your Everyday Routine
This is especially fun for young kids. Make eggs for dinner, or eat dessert for lunch. Wear pajamas all day. Just as I coached you NOT to work from home in PJ’s and slippers, now is the time for them. Camp out in the living room or backyard. Stay up late. Get creative. This is still a vacation even if you’re at home, so let loose and have some fun. Daily habits are triggered by consistently encountering the same cues. If you consciously alter those cues, you’ll be less likely to slip into your usual workday routine. When you think about vacation time, you think about relaxing – a good book and a lounge chair – or a fun activity with the family. Set these things up in advance, like you would plan a schedule for a sightseeing trip. Bring the “resort” feel into your home with added decorations or shuffling around the furniture. Empower your family, including the kids, to choose an activity for the day. Whether it be a bike ride or a Monopoly marathon, just go with it. While you try to “plan” your vacation at home, remember to be spontaneous. Save at least one day with no plan and just see what happens.
Resist The Urge To Do Chores
Don’t use your time off to get ready to go back to work. The best way to avoid the chores is to do them before your “vacation” starts. Since you may want to “stage” your home to be a vacation destination, consider doing a deep clean, finish the laundry and pay the bills before your staycation gets started.
However, if there is a large home project that you never seem to have enough time to tackle, now might be the time. If that project will make a significant impact on your life or significantly improve the home that you’re spending so much time in right now, then maybe now is the time to redecorate your living room or clean out the garage. Hence, a car actually fits into it. A major purge of clutter can be just as rewarding as a vacation away.
Just because you’re home doesn’t mean you can’t get some great pictures. When was the last time you took pictures of your family together at home? As long as you’re having fun, preserve those memories. Now that we’ve set the ground rules of a staycation, here are some ideas of things to do with your days off at home.
Places To Go:
Visit a Faraway Place From Your Home
Pick a country or location that you would like to visit and do some research. Try to dress in the locals’ traditional dress and find recipes to cook traditional food. Read about the history of one of the sites that you would have gone to see. Find a game to play that is native to that culture.
Take a Walk
See your neighborhood; smell the flowers, notice the building architecture. Look around like you’re sightseeing in a foreign country. You’ll be surprised to discover things that you’ve never seen before. I know that I actively take walks before my workday starts and after my workday ends to enjoy the weather and relax. It is a beautiful way to catch some sunshine and get your steps in!
Take a Lazy Day Trip and Drive Around
This is a great way to have an activity, but no destination or timeline. Sightsee in your town or drive around another city and try to get lost, then use your GPS to find your way home.
Ditch the Car and Grab a Bike
If you usually spend all your time rushing around in traffic, there’s no better antidote than lazily peddling along the street or a trail. Think about fun things to do that don’t involve crowds, such as boating or kayaking, horseback riding, or hiking.
Any Good Vacation Always Includes Good Food:
Find a Drive-In Restaurant
No, I don’t mean your local fast food drive-thru, I mean an old fashioned drive-in restaurant where you order your food with a waiter/waitress from your car window, and your food is brought out to your car in the parking lot. Yes, they do still exist and are a great option during a pandemic. Even if the nearest one is a 2-hour drive, make it a road trip. You can find a list of some of the best drive-in restaurants in the U.S. here>>
Support Local Businesses By Ordering Out
Most restaurants are open for taking out, and now is the time to patronize our local businesses. With the money you saved on travel expenses, maybe you can treat yourself to some nice dinners from restaurants in your home town that you’ve never tried before.
Be Your Own Chef
Stay at home and make yourself some epic food. Why not be like the French and make meal prep and eating an all-day affair? Maybe your staycation finally gives you the time to tackle that exotic recipe you’ve wanted to try out. Whether you have a deck, backyard, or front stoop, or maybe you have to walk to a park, enjoy each bite of food with a breath of fresh air. How often do you allow yourself to just “be” when you’re eating?
Arrange a Lavish Picnic in Your Local Park
As long as there is room for proper social distancing, find that park that you might drive by every day. It sure looks different when you’re laying in the grass and enjoying some wine and cheese without a care in the world.
Things to do:
Learn Something New or Start a New Hobby
Learn how to play chess, speak Spanish, grow orchids, taste wine, or cook Korean food. Scout websites for online events and classes or how-to videos.
Binge Listen to New Music.
Ask your friends for their current favorite music or artists or try a different genre and listen to some jazz or classic rock. Pull up playlists on streaming services and just relax and listen.
Camp in Your Backyard
This doesn’t just have to be for the kids. Sleep out under the stars in your backyard. You don’t need to be far from home to enjoy the simplicity and calm of “getting back to nature.” Plus, having nonscary flush toilets and hot showers just steps away is a big plus.
Redesign your Bedroom or Another Room in Your Home
Maybe pick a new paint color or piece of furniture to order. Or if you just want to make some tweaks, just move things around to try different configurations. Since the stay at home order was put into place for New Jersey, I have taken some time to renovate my apartment by adding a fresh coat of paint to the kitchen walls and ceilings, as well as incorporate new paintings onto the walls of my bedroom and living room. I have also invested in a Sharp Plasmacluster Ion Air Purifier with True Hepa Filtration for my bedroom to help make the air I breathe inside my home cleaner and fresher. I have been so concerned with the air quality in my home now that I have been spending more time indoors, and my air purifier helps to elevate so many concerns I have. It is truly amazing what this machine can do to the air quality inside a room.
Karaoke in Your Living Room
Sing your heart out. Be honest, you already sing or dance when no one is around, so make it part of the plan. How about a dance contest with the family. Who has the best or worst dance moves?
Set Up a Frisbee Golf Course in Your Backyard
It’s hard to be bothered by the stresses of the world when you’re immersed in engineering the perfect frisbee golf experience in your yard. If you’re not good at frisbee, (or can’t find the frisbee in the basement), how about an obstacle course or treasure hunt. A well thought out treasure hunt can keep the family busy for hours answering questions and searching for clues.
Don’t want to set up your own treasure hunt? Try geocaching and take advantage of someone else doing all the setup work for you. It’s a lot of fun, and there’s more out there than you might think around your neighborhood. I recently started Geocaching just a few months ago, and it has become one of my favorite pastimes when I am going for a walk around my neighborhood or am hiking with my family. I never knew how many geocaches were hidden all around hiking trails I regularly visit until I started downloading geocaching maps online. Learn more here >>
Write Handwritten Notes or Postcards to Friends and Family
Now that all our communications are in email, text, on social media, or a live streaming site like Teams or Zoom, getting a letter in the mail takes us all back to our childhood (well at least some of us!). There’s just something different and unique about a handwritten letter.
Play Board Games
Forget Candy Crush (or whatever the latest online games are); it’s time to go analog. I mean real board games – like the cardboard type with dice to roll and game pieces to move around. Think Monopoly, Clue, Scrabble, Checkers, Backgammon, Connect Four, you get the idea. A good puzzle can keep the family together and busy for hours. They’re in the closet, the basement, or that bin in the garage – you know you have them! Be a kid again and see how creative you can be. This is even more analog than a board game. How about a coloring book? There are plenty of new coloring books out there with intricate designs and detailed pictures. Test your creative and artistic talents.
Start a new exercise program. If you’ve been putting off getting started on that healthy new lifestyle or you’re putting on the COVID-19 (pounds), now is the time. You don’t need equipment or a gym (even if they’ve opened back up), take a long power walk, do some jumping jacks or start stretching.
Read Without Distraction
How long has that book been sitting on your night table? Allow yourself to get lost in a good book or two. Reading will allow you to ignore the world for hours at a time. It can be a much-needed staycation.
Wake Up to See the Sunrise
Yes, you can go back to bed afterward! Set a reminder to watch the sunset or just sit outside during the night and listen to the sounds, count the stars, maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of a shooting star.
Just a simple hammock and some rope or hooks in your backyard can give you hours of tranquil relaxation. If I were to pick one piece of gear that best symbolizes a staycation, this might be it. Add a calming playlist of beach sounds, and you’re on your way to real relaxation.
Of course, when all else fails, binge watch either a show that you’ve been trying to finish, or pick something completely new that your family will enjoy together. Grab the popcorn and watch like it’s an 8-hour movie.