Summer of Staycation

[ 0 ] July 9, 2020 |

Get your home ready

Indoor

What is it about vacation that makes us sleep so well? Part of it may be the total lack of responsibility, but you can get that well-rested feeling of luxury without ever leaving the home.

  • Get cozy in new bedding. There’s nothing better than slipping into fresh, crisp hotel sheets. Keep that feeling alive at home by investing in some high thread count sheets.
  • Block out the world. One of the best things about vacation is the feeling that you control the hours of your day. Not ready to start your day at the crack of dawn? Draw the shades! (Just be sure to use this feature sparingly, when you get back from staycation you may find yourself dozing right through the workday!)
  • Move those distractions. While it might seem like a good idea to set up a TV, workout gear, and home office equipment in your bedroom, these things can detract from the relaxing sanctuary you’re trying to create. Find these distractions a new place in your home, and leave your bedroom a relaxation station.
  • Keep travel memories alive. Whether it’s a sound machine to bring in soothing ocean waves, or chocolates that made your hotel room so sweet, bring some of the little luxuries home, to bring a vacation memory to your staycation life.

Outdoor

Just because you can’t relax poolside doesn’t mean you can’t live your best vacation dreams. Even without a swim-up bar, there are several ways to evoke that fun feeling right in your backyard:

  • Treat yourself & seat yourself. Show your patio some love with updated furniture. Use a favorite vacation (or a pinterest board) as shopping inspiration, and remember, you don’t have to break the bank! Simple memories might be all you need.
  • Just add water (or fire). Depending on the vacation you’re hoping to revive, a water feature or fire pit (or both!) can be simple backyard additions. A fire pit is an outdoor feature for every season. You’ll be able to enjoy summertime s’mores and warm winter cocktails by the fire.

Fun “staycation” ideas

Get Artsy

  • Binge on art

Wander through 160 art galleries … from your phone? Art fairs may be out of commission this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still see the works. Art collectors and casual aficionados alike can browse – and buy – to their hearts’ delight at virtual art fairs from around the globe.

  • Become an opera fan

If you’ve never been to the opera, now’s your chance to experience some of the best in the repertoire from the comfort of home. Many companies are now streaming free opera performances and other related content, including behind-the-scenes interviews and lectures about the shows – evening gowns optional.

  • Rock out, but inside

While summer concert season won’t be the same, you can still catch many of your favorite bands performing in new ways. Check out livestreams, previously unreleased footage and even old relic shows from all kinds of musical acts. Pick up an outdoor projector and watch (and dance!) from your backyard for a true concert experience.

  • Tap into your inner artist

Even if your artistic abilities stop at drawing stick figures, there’s always room to learn something new. Order some pads, pencils and paints and channel your inner Van Gogh!

  • Bring art to life

Find your favorite art scene or portrait, scour your house for props and re-create the image as closely as possible while snapping pics on your phone. Create a side-by-side comparison of the original and your modern version – and prepare to laugh!

  • Write a children’s book

Let your imagination run wild and channel your inner child in a welcome respite from adult realities. Take a stab at developing your characters and plot by yourself, or incorporate some ideas crowdsourced from your kids, family or friends.

  • Learn to edit videos

Whether you’re starting as a newbie with free software like iMovie or looking to advance your skills with higher-end software like Adobe Premiere Pro, now is a great time to beef up your video editing capabilities. Whether you want to create sizzle reels from your recent vacations, help out with your kid’s sports team highlight video or bring video production into your job, being able to swiftly edit videos on a computer can be a very useful skill.

  • Create a custom photo book to share

Love scrapbooking or photography? Consider making a photo album with all your favorite photos. Whether it’s an album of a favorite trip or a memorable birthday party, whatever you create will definitely put a smile on the faces of the ones you love.

Staycation Fun

  • Be a tourist in your own town

The quintessential notion of a staycation is to take a vacation in your local city. Grab a guidebook, stroll the landmarks and pick a restaurant you’ve never tried before (for sit-down or takeout). Many apps like Tripscout and GeoTourist offer audio walking tours that you can download to guide you through your city. Learn some historical fun facts and see your own town through a fresh lens.

  • Plan your next vacation

Part of the fun of a trip is the anticipation leading up to it. Create that spark of excitement by researching where you’ll stay and what you’ll do on a future trip. Make an itinerary, scour Yelp for the best restaurants (and drool over the menu), and find the off-the-beaten path spots you’ll explore.

  • Relive your best trips

Grab your photo albums (or even your old projectors) and get ready for a fun trip down memory lane. Go through the photos and souvenirs from some of your favorite trips. Look back through your guidebooks and recall the museums you visited, the foods you ate and the adventures you had. If it’s been many years since you visited the city, check out Google Earth to see how much the landscape has changed or whether your favorite restaurant still exists.

  • Teach your kids things they won’t learn in school

Involve your kids in tonight’s recipe prep, show them how to do laundry or even teach them how to change a tire. Even small kids can learn how to do basic tasks at home that will serve them well for years to come.

  • Create a scavenger hunt

Whether you leave simple clues around your house or launch a full-scale quest around your city, a scavenger hunt can be a great distraction for young and old. Check out a variety of apps and websites that can help you craft your hunt for kids, families and adults alike.

  • Make handmade greeting cards for loved ones and express your appreciation

The best gifts are those that come from the heart. Consider making some handmade cards for your friends and family. In the cards, write your favorite memories, why you value the person in your life and thanks for how they’ve helped you. This is also a fun activity to do with your kids.

  • Connect with long-distance family and friends

Make a list of all of those people you meant to visit in the past few years and take some time to schedule virtual catch-ups with them. You could do a video chat, phone call or even send them some snail mail. It’ll bring everyone involved a little bit of joy.

  • Connect with friends who’ve fallen off your radar

Once you’ve connected with long-distance friends you haven’t visited lately, move on to long-ago friendships you haven’t maintained. Maybe it was the best man at your wedding or a bridesmaid you lost touch with. Remember that one friend from that one thing a long time ago? Find them on social media and set up a time to reconnect. Bonus points if you can line up multiple sessions a day to really make your staycation feel special as you catch up with those you’ve lost touch with.

  • Involve the family in a home improvement project

If you have home improvement projects you’ve been putting off, consider whether any are good candidates for DIY-ing with the family. Depending on their ages, your kids may enjoy helping remove wallpaper, painting a room, building some raised planters or rearranging the furniture. You could even get them involved in the design process, choosing colors and accessories if you need to redecorate a space.

  • Create a chalk obstacle course

If you have a driveway or sidewalk and some chalk, you’ve got the makings of an epic 2D obstacle course. Sure, you can include hopscotch — but you can also include twisty arrows, circles to stop in and complete an activity (like jumping jacks) or a straight-line “balance beam.” Involve the kids in making courses for each other for some mental and physical stimulation.

Step up your “Self”

  • Exercise in the middle of your day

You may be used to working out in the morning or evening, which makes a lot of sense when you’re at an office or other location during the day. But one of the best features of being at home can be the ability to break up your day with personal tasks like fitness. Even a 20-minute bike ride, long walk or jog around the neighborhood can kill two birds with one stone, giving yourself a mental break while improving your physical well-being.

  • Do virtual athletic activities

Not being able to go to the gym can be a huge bummer for those who love to work out, but there are plenty of virtual activities you can do. Grab an exercise mat to practice yoga, Pilates and other at-home workouts. In addition, you can order a stationary bike or an at-home Pilates bar to level-up your routine.

  • Take up gardening

Gardening can be a really relaxing activity. Those who have a backyard can order some seeds online and create a space outdoors to plant a garden. If you live in an apartment, consider growing an herb garden indoors. The space doesn’t need to be large; it just needs to get sunlight. A windowsill can be a great choice. You can even buy some pretty planters online that match the overall decor of your home.

  • Have a backyard campout

Bust out the tent and sleeping bags and head right outside your back door. Build a fire, roast some s’mores and tell stories with a flashlight. Enjoy a little rest and relaxation in whatever backyard space you have. Bonus points for leaving the electronics inside for the whole night. Check out the Sky Map app to plot out constellations you can barely see with the naked eye. Stargaze to your heart’s content, and enjoy a night of natural lights instead of man-made.

  • Build an ‘American Ninja Warrior’-style obstacle course

Depending on your handiness with the tools, you can build an obstacle course in your backyard. All you need to do is search “Ninja Warrior” for plenty of inspiring contraptions. This could be especially fun if you have kids. Just remember: Safety first!

  • Reconnect with an old hobby — or learn a new one

If you have an old hobby that you’ve stopped pursuing, why not use this time to pick it back up again? Some fun hobbies to get back into can include sewing, knitting, playing an instrument painting, creative writing, baking, brushing up on a foreign language on Duolingo, gardening and so much more. Now is also a great time to get into a new hobby that you could practice indoors. Watercolor painting, yoga, meditation, reading and learning a new language are great hobbies to keep you entertained.

  • Create a to-do list of ONLY fun things

To-do lists are usually full of errands and other things that don’t scream fun. But why not make a to-do list of ONLY fun things? Whether that’s an at-home mani-pedi, bubble bath, yoga practice or reading a new book, write it down on your list. Then spend an entire day completing tasks on your new fun to-do list.

Go Online

  • Buy a new video game, then master it

Whether you like role-playing games, strategy games or sports video games, there’s something for everyone out there. Who cares if you haven’t played in years? Dust off that old system (or splurge for a new one) and find a game to master. Many of today’s newer games have complex campaigns that can take months to complete, so you’ll have plenty to keep you busy — plus there are interactive multiplayer modes for online gaming if you need some social interaction.

  • Attend virtual game night with friends

Love board game nights? Zoom makes it possible to play some virtual games together with friends. If you like strategy and playing in teams, Werewolf is a perfect app game to play with friends. GooseChase is a fun scavenger hunt that divides a group into two teams. The teams have to complete silly missions, and whoever completes the most missions in an hour wins.

  • Try an online escape room

Whether you’ve tried IRL escape rooms in the past or just heard of them, their online equivalents offer a cheaper way to enjoy the experience while maintaining social distance. Never heard of escape rooms? They are essentially puzzles that you and a team of friends must solve in a certain amount of time. Some find it stressful, some find it fun, some find it both.

  • Build your own website

Whether you have a small business or just a hobby, building a website to promote it can be faster and easier than you might think. Plenty of services online will let you create a cookie-cutter website in minutes, or you can build one from scratch if you have the technical chops.

  • Learn a computer language

Why bother with French when you can learn a language that could get you a raise? Learning a programming language may be easier than you think (especially if the payoff is immediate). Ask around at work for which languages could help in your role, then search for free tutorials online. As with all languages, you’ll pick it up a lot faster if you actually have to use it every day. Try to give yourself a project that you can only complete with programming, then stumble your way through the process until you learn enough to be a master.

  • Go ‘dark’ for a day

Yes, this may be the opposite of tech … but you might be surprised how good it feels to keep all your phones, tablets, TVs, etc., off for a full day. What happens next? Who knows — but you’ll survive, and you might even come out refreshed to tackle the next day.

Anyone can Cook

  • Make handmade ice cream

Learn the art of making ice cream using only a few ingredients, and it will taste that much sweeter — no machine required (but by all means, use it if you have it). Check out online tutorials and recipes and enjoy delicious ice cream treats on demand.

  • Dust off that dormant kitchen appliance

Got a Crock-Pot, Instant Pot, steamer, waffle iron or Dutch oven that you never use? Load up on recipes and give that long-forgotten kitchen helper some love. Find recipes from books you already have, or crowdsource from your friends and family.

  • Check out Pinterest for food recipes

Pinterest is a great visual search engine, which makes it much easier to know what the dish you want to cook will ultimately look like. If you’re running out of ideas on what to cook or just want to learn how to cook a new dish, refresh your recipe book with the unending supply of dishes on Pinterest!

  • ‘No cooking’ day

Vacations often include a lot of eating out, exploring new restaurants and taking a break from doing the dishes. There’s no reason your staycation can’t include restaurant food, too. Close the kitchen one day, and instead plan a day where you can splurge on ordering food. It could be for one fancy meal, like a to-go setup from a high-end restaurant that now does takeout orders. Or it could be an entire day: Get brunch (pancakes to go!), an afternoon snack (ice cream has always been takeout, really) and dinner from a local favorite.

  • Take on an ambitious recipe

With your new shelter-in-place routine, you might be able to finally conquer some of those time-consuming recipes you’ve always wanted to try. Think homemade bagels, carnitas, pho or ramen. The more prep time, the better. Plus, while you’re waiting for the dough to rise or the meat to marinate, you can get back to binge-watching, puzzling, reading or any of these other staycation ideas.

  • Collect and share family recipes

If your family’s recipes are kept on pieces of paper or in the minds of a few grandparents, do a service for future generations and collect them digitally. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Send an email requesting family recipes.
  2. Collect them into a single document.
  3. Share the final results in an easy-to-keep format, like a PDF (or even a hard-copy book if you’re ambitious).
  • Master the BBQ

Even if you already consider yourself a grill master, there’s always more to learn. Whether you want to try your hand at something new or perfect that meat you’re already good at, you won’t be sorry you invested some time in upping your BBQ game. Pick a new dish, a new meat, a new rub or a new style and get to work. With so many online resources available, getting that perfectly cooked burger or juicy chicken to come off your grill is a delicious way to spend a staycation.

Give Back

  • Do some volunteer work

Volunteering is an enriching experience, and it can be especially rewarding now when so many people are in need of help. Most organizations (like food banks, pet shelters, etc.) have websites with information about how to sign up to volunteer, and you can always call for details.

Keep in mind: “Volunteering” isn’t restricted to working with an existing organization. Doing something like helping your elderly neighbors buy groceries can be a huge, meaningful help.

  • Do mass reviews for your Amazon purchases

When was the last time you left a positive review for that product you bought that you actually really like? Even if you bought it on Amazon, a lot of those sellers are smaller businesses — and we all know how much people rely on positive reviews when shopping. So show some love as you scroll through your purchase history, and leave positive reviews for the items you truly enjoy.

  • Support your favorite businesses by buying online

Small local businesses have been hammered by the pandemic, as many relied on in-person sales. Lots of these outlets have quickly pivoted to online sales this year, offering unique bundles, pickup options and other perks that some online giants cannot. From board games to handcrafts, many products you want and need can be found at stores that you can support in your community.

  • Complete random acts of kindness (on a budget)

For a fun and helpful challenge, set a budget and a timeline to do some unexpected nice things for your friends or loved ones. Shop online for something affordable to brighten their day, bake something they’ll love (and deliver it secretly), compile a playlist of their favorite music, write about your best memories together, etc.

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