The Ultimate Guide To A Summer Staycation

Vacations are pretty great, but figuring out how to have a staycation can be just as rewarding – plus less stressful and more affordable! If you’re among those who have canceled their summer travel plans due to the coronavirus outbreak, consider these alternative ideas for a staycation at home instead. Whether you have a significant other to hole up with, a family and kids who want an adventure, or some time to really treat yourself solo, these staycation ideas will leave you feeling recharged, refreshed, and ready to dive back into your usual grind.

You don’t need to get away to have a great getaway. Clearly, your couch can never compete with a Greek beach cabana, but in these unprecedented times, we have to get creative and make the best of what we’ve got. Our guide to a summer staycation will have you creating amazing memories you could frame or put in a photo book!

How To Make A Staycation Feel Like A Vacation

custom mason jar, wine glass, and cutting board on a table

Approach your staycation the same way you would plan a vacation. Mark those dates off your calendar. Avoid making any other commitments during this time, except for quality time with your family and fun activities. Once you’ve set the date, start searching for inspiration! To get you started writing up a staycation itinerary, we’ve compiled a list of unique experiences and interesting activities that you can do at home. Here are some more tips on how to plan and enjoy your staycation:

Take A Few Days Off Work

Many people now are working from home, which blurs the line between work and downtime. If you wouldn’t be filing reports or answering work emails on an actual vacation, then the same applies for a staycation! Put up your out-of-office email reply, turn off notifications, and disconnect from work. Whatever it is that refreshes you, devote part of your staycation to it.

Commit To Unplugging

dad and son playing in the kitchen

If you truly want to relax, then it’s best to treat this as a typical vacation and leave the realities of life behind. Turn off all your devices and limit the TV binge-watching — this is your chance to focus on quality time with no interruptions and enjoy not having anything looming on the to-do list. Make your very best effort to embrace the present moment. Time will suddenly start to slow down and you can relish your staycation to unwind.

No Chores Allowed

While many of you may be tempted to clean during your downtime – drop the vacuum, duster, or whatever responsibilities you have in mind and step away from the chores. To keep chores off your mind, do a deep clean a few days ahead of your staycation so that your home is organized and pristine. Having a clutter-free home beforehand will help prevent getting distracted from your activities and relaxation.

DIY Change Of Scenery

custom pillows on a hammock in the summer

Give your eyes a break from the day-to-day monotony by switching up your surroundings. Adding some new home decor and design touches will help make your home feel more like a hotel or getaway. If you wish you were on a vacation at a particular destination, consider hanging up wall art of a tropical hideaway or a romantic European city. If you just want a few nice touches here and there, put up some twinkly lights for a more magical atmosphere. A temporary redecoration will definitely help set the mood for your staycation.

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Order Take Out

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 new cuisine or the foodie scene. The same should ring true for staycations! This is your chance to treat yourself and order as many take out meals from your favorite restaurants or try something new.

Romantic Staycation Ideas For Couples

These romantic staycation ideas for couples are perfect for Valentine’s Day, an anniversary celebration, or a fun day trip with your partner. Adventurous couples who like the outdoors may enjoy things like hiking, bike riding, or stargazing. And then of course there is always the foodie route of cooking together or wine and cheese tasting. All of these staycation ideas can be done in one’s own town!

Date Night, Every Night

couple dancing in the kitchen

A staycation is the perfect time to get all dressed up for a date night, every night. Try cooking up a famous dish from a different country for each dinner. Habitually, cooking dinner feels like a chore, but this staycation twist is an entertaining opportunity to show off your skills or a fun-loving way and to dance around the kitchen together. Let your imagination take the reins when you set the table and dress the part to match the country. Time to put on some music and cook up a storm!

Do A DIY Project Together

There’s nothing quite like that triumphant feeling when completing a piece of work together. DIY projects jump the ranks when it comes to staycation ideas as the challenge explores your relationship while having fun along the way. Strengthen your collaboration skills while creating a special souvenir. Whether it’s a custom collage to decorate your hallway, ceramic coasters, or arty pot plants, the memories will pop up with a smile every time it catches your eye as you pass by.

Have A Magical Spa Day

Who doesn’t love treating yourself to some luxurious spa and wellness experiences while on vacation? Whether it’s giving each other massages and foot rubs or indulging in a facial scrub, spend a day or two pampering each other for prime relaxation. Take a bath, light some candles, and create the perfect setting for a deluxe staycation. To make it even more memorable, throw on some new face masks, have a good laugh, and end the day off by celebrating with a glass of bubbly.

Take A Day Trip

No need to book an overnight stay. Hop in the car or on a train for a one-day getaway to somewhere nearby. Even a quick drive to a nearby town or an unfamiliar suburb of your own city can make a fun adventure. Don’t forget to make a rockin’ transit playlist to hype up the ride.

Stargaze At A Beautiful Park

couple having a date night outside watching a movie and drinking wine

Bring your sweetheart for a romantic night under the stars. If you have a cozy blanket, a thermos of hot cocoa, and a special someone to share those first two things with, you already have the makings of a dreamy stargazing date. Whether you’re in an open field or a local park, the stars above are waiting to be your own personal mood lighting.

Get Competitive With Board games

If you’re the kind of couple who loves to keep the fire alive by competing against each other, put away the electronics and spend some quality time going off the grid. Have a relaxed evening with a series of card games and puzzles or opt for something more thrilling for those who like to embrace a challenge. Board games have been top listed for things to do on staycations since the beginning of time. While you exchange straight faces and grins, add some classy hors d’oeuvre appetizers to keep the bluffing going.

Kid-Friendly Staycation Ideas For Families

If you want to know how to make the most of a staycation with your family, consider the following ideas that will have your kids laughing all “staycation’ long – all without leaving your home.

Declare Water-Game Day

kids playing outside with water guns

Buy or borrow a kiddie pool, turn on the sprinkler, unravel the hose, and grab as many spray bottles, buckets, tubs, and water pistols as possible. Have everyone in an all-day uniform of swimsuit, bare feet, and, of course, waterproof sunscreen. All parents have to do is provide the props and initial ideas for games and then the kids will take over and create their own fun.

Take A Camping Trip In Your Own Backyard

Pitch a tent, pack drinks in personalized thermoses, and snacks in Ziploc bags. Bring sleeping bags or blankets, flashlights, and mosquito repellent for everyone. And brace yourself with enough ghost stories to keep little ones up thrillingly past their bedtimes. Don’t forget to make s’mores and sing camp songs while creating fun family memories.

Host Your Own Film Festival

family having a movie night outside

Try hosting your own film festival from your couch. Have everyone pick a movie, whether it’s their favorite or something new, and take turns binging through the list. Consider screening a series like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or Star Wars, or pick a theme like road-trip movies or biggest tearjerkers and choose films to fit. Opt for foreign films to soak up new cultures and prep your family for the day when you all can finally visit in person.

Plan Family Games

Of course, you can gather all your board games and puzzles for cozy family time, but you can also get creative with more structured and active ideas such as an obstacle course, water balloons, or building forts in the yard. You might even organize the troops under your own roof for an extended Olympics-style set of competitions. It’s no Splash Mountain, but these games for kids will get in some fun and levity in an environment of healthy competition

Set Up Science Camp

Try a staycation that includes an element of learning. Facilitate STEM instruction in a playful way by creating an at-home science camp filled with exciting chemistry projects that make learning fun. Scour Pinterest for DIY projects like glittery slime or rainbow-hued bath bombs for a school break that keeps their brains engaged until normalcy returns.

Take Turns Hosting A Cooking Night

If you’re a family of travelers who love to eat your way around new locales, transform your kitchen into a dining destination. Have each family member try out some new recipes and have fun creating an exotic dinner right in the comfort of your own home. If you’re really feeling creative, pick a culture or cuisine and turn it into a multi-course affair, complete with beverages, dessert, and decor.

Unique Solo Staycation Ideas

Without some kind of structure, it’s easy to fall back into your average weekend routine: browsing on your phone, checking social media, and binge-watching series for several days non-stop. Take on some of our solo staycation ideas that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready for whatever there is to come.

Indulge In What Makes You Happy

woman lounging reading a book and drinking wine

Read a book, listen to a podcast, do some yoga, or learn a new hobby – do whatever makes you happy. In a rise-and-grind-lifestyle, a staycation is a perfect opportunity to take a step back and revive your health. While having some alone time is crucial, it’s also important to stay productive in the time being. Being alone on your staycation doesn’t mean you need to be lonely. Stay connected with loved ones via video call, or simply send a text of a funny meme. Have virtual dinner dates with your friends or family – it takes a single button to make a call.

Virtual Reality Tourism

Traveling the world from the comfort of your home? It doesn’t get much better than this. Virtual reality (VR) lets you sit back and relax on your couch while skipping the lines to explore your favorite attractions. Pick a country and spend the day learning about it. Dress in their traditional clothing and cook or find a restaurant that serves that city’s specialty dish. There is an array of apps to download according to your traveling preference.

Rearrange A Room

photos hanging on a wall

If you’re unsure about what to do on your holiday from home, take on a significant project that will keep you productive. Renovate a room by picking a new color palette and theme. Paint the walls yourself and spice up the interior that fits the “revitalized you” after your staycation. A project like this keeps you focused while having fun. So put on some music, karaoke to your favorite songs and let the artsy side of life take over!

Take A Long Drive By Yourself

Blast your favorite tunes and drive off into the sunset. There’s something so relaxing and thrilling about driving alone, with the windows down and the music up.

Become A Tourist In Your Own Town

Check local tourism websites and brainstorm new destinations and activities — be that a special hike, art exhibit, or sporting event. Venture to a museum or bookstore that you have been meaning to visit. Bay Area-dwellers, have you been to Chinatown lately? Chicagoans, when’s the last time you were at the top of the Willis Tower? Plan a fun staycation a few towns or neighborhoods over. Then bike their trails, learn about the local history, eat in their restaurants, and pop into their shops.

Have A Yoga Retreat In Your Own Living Room

Carving out a private enclave for meditation doesn’t have to be tough, whether you’re living in a studio-sized condo or a spacious estate with a dozen spare rooms you’ve never used. All you need is a yoga mat or towels and the right instructional video – check out online teachers and YouTube channels. You could also bring a little bit of the outdoors in and help purify the air inside your house with some aloe vera and ferns.

Wrapping Up

There is simplicity, charm, and peace in a staycation. Knowing you can skip the reservations, the planning ahead, and just allow yourself to relax and breathe. Some of our favorite staycation activities cost no money at all, while others are definitely cheaper than a plane ticket or hotel stay – all of them require just a little bit of creativity! Best of all, they’ll fit into a day or even a few hours, think at-home spa days and movie nights, so you can string a few of our ideas together for a longer at-home vacay or take a personal day to spend it on yourself. There are plenty of fun activities you can do at home, from indoor activities to backyard adventures, like a scavenger hunt.

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