Staycation has taken on new meaning in the time of COVID-19, social distancing and stay-at-home orders. And with the office relocated next to the bed, the need to establish a healthy work-life balance has never been so urgent or tricky to achieve. Sure, parts of the world are slowly reopening, but we’re still a long way from back to normal. If the Zoom fatigue feature of work-from-home life has you ready for a break, use that vacation time and get back to center with some self-care.
Although sporting events, concerts and county fairs are canceled, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy a rejuvenating, budget-friendly staycation. Maybe your jam is being active outdoors or relaxing and doing as little as possible, or some blend of activity and slacktivity (what looks to others like slacking but you’re doing exactly what you want to be doing: nothing).
Even if you’re on a tight budget, homebound by the pandemic or can’t go on a traditional vacation, you can still treat yourself to an Instagram-worthy staycation. Whether you’re decompressing solo, with a partner or with the whole family, many of these ideas are adaptable and customizable to suit your sitch.
Prepare yourself and your space for a great staycation
If you work from home like a lot of people, enjoying your stay-at-home getaway without checking in at the office can be challenging. Do your future staycationing self a favor and make it a hassle to act on the impulse to check work email or just bang out a few easy tasks to scratch from the to-do list you’re supposed to be ignoring.
- Log out of your work email.
- Close Slack, Zoom, Outlook and Teams.
- Shut down the work computer and hide it.
- Rinse and repeat with your work phone if you need to, turning off the notifications you don’t need.
Plan ahead to keep your summer staycation a work-free zone.
And for the times you don’t intend to cook, put together a meal plan so you’re not half-past-hangry by the time you realize you’re not sure what to eat for dinner.
Get your food ahead of time or order as you go. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a treasure trove of snacks and quick meals on-hand. Who doesn’t love to indulge in mac and cheese from time to time? Every researcher we consulted agrees that the perfect time to restock the cooler is always now. That’s just good science.
Okay, besides eating and drinking, what are some fun things to do on a staycation?
Check out 10 of the best staycation ideas for singles, couples and families
1. Treat yourself to a DIY spa day
Get your robe on. Take the time to pamper yourself with your favorite spa day rituals, whether that’s a long fragrant soak in a hot bath, face masks or a mani-pedi.
2. Try new foods
Since you’ll have the luxury of time, you can get the ingredients (heard rumors that food delivery is convenient) and prepare it yourself. Or, you know, order takeout from the Somalian restaurant you’ve wanted to try since forever.
3. Take a day trip
Maybe you’re not ready for stores and restaurants, but you want to get out of the house. Go to a park or other outside destination where social distancing is a breeze. Or simply take some road trips while gas prices are still reasonable. You may want to plan your driving distance and duration in anticipation of the inevitable pit stop for gas or to use the restroom. Prepare yourself. Pack some gloves, masks and hand sanitizer.
4. Go backyard camping (staycation glamping)
Pitch a tent. String some lights. Pour a glass of wine. Roast some hot dogs and make s’mores over the grill. Don’t forget the bug spray. And before you get too carried away, check the forecast. It just wouldn’t be COVID-camping if the bathroom and your own bed weren’t 20 feet away. You know exactly where to find the hottest glamping location this summer: the sweet serenity of your own backyard.
5. Attend your own private film festival at home
So many ways to go with this: theme, marathon, series binge. The only thing low-budget will be the price of admission (unless you dig B Movies). Just don’t forget the popcorn, Whoppers, Milk Duds, Mike & Ikes, Hot Tamales, Dots, Good & Plenty and a new toothbrush.
6. Unleash your inner artist and be creative
Paint. Write. Make crafts. Scrapbook (is that still a thing?). Or—hear me out—look through the zettabytes of videos and pictures you’ve taken over the years that have been gathering dust on a hard drive or in the cloud. Maybe organize them if you’re feeling spicy. Create your own multimedia stories to share. Instagram awaits!
7. Bike, hike, walk
Maybe you’ve always wanted to be one of those amazing people who hike the Appalachian trail for fun. Maybe hit some trails on your bike, or, if you prefer, you can take a hike. The goal, of course, is to get outside and be active. Take some trail mix or an energy bar and some water. And don’t forget your sunscreen! Take a few minutes to learn more about the best sunscreen ingredients and find the one for you. Then go. Explore. Get your steps in and then chill, feeling zero guilt as you eat your hard-earned ice cream. Okay, that’s kind of a two-fer. You’re welcome.
8. Go on a virtual tour
Good Housekeeping has a huge list of the best virtual tours of great cities, museums and other venues that have gone virtual due to the coronavirus impact on travel and tourism.
9. Game night!
Board games, card games, video games, inside games, outside games, mind games, body games. Oh, my!
10. Sophisticate your palate with a wine or beer tasting
Assuming you’re old enough to drink legally, of course—21+ only, please and thank you. Even better if you can have the alcohol delivered to you. This is likely the only flight you’ll be experiencing any time soon. At least on this vacay. Have you wondered what the craft beer fuss is all about? Curious about the difference between an IPA, an amber and a stout? If beer isn’t your speed, try wine, bourbon, or another variety of liquor or spiked beverage. Just remember to drink responsibly.