Prior to 2020, staycations — aka staying home for vacation — proved to be an excellent alternative to dropping tons of your hard-earned cash on a travel-oriented trip. And, don’t get us wrong, staycations are still fantastic at-home options for budget-friendly R&R. But thanks to travel restrictions resulting from the novel coronavirus pandemic, staycations have never seemed more relevant for budget travelers and beyond.
Of course, COVID-19 won’t be out here ruining our travel plans forever (it can’t… right?!). However, now that we know what it’s like to deal with a global health crisis, it’s not a bad idea to plan ahead so we’re better at it in the event we have to live through an extended quarantine again. That means finding fun and affordable ways to enjoy vacationing from the comfort (and safety) of home.
So, sit tight and save your money. The following staycation ideas don’t require cracking open your financial nest egg for family fun.
Staycation Ideas for Couples
Take a Hike
With apps like AllTrails, it’s easy to find local hikes you and your partner can tackle together during your downtime. Whether you’re ready to climb a mountain or just want to go chasin’ waterfalls, you’re sure to find a path that suits you. And since spending time exercising in the great outdoors will get your endorphins going, your hiking heyday could bring you and your boo even closer.
Try a Tasting Tour
Got a local brewery you’ve been dying to try? Want to splurge on a fancy-schmancy bottle of vino? Make sure you have your preferred ride-sharing app handy and arrange to do a little “tasting tour” of local libations. You might find a new favorite — in which case, you can buy extra for your next at-home date night.
“Attend” a Film Festival
There’s something inherently romantic about sitting in the dark, staring up at a giant screen together. If you have a few days off with your partner, go to the movies. As in, yes, every day. Pretend you’re at a high-brow film festival where you’re screening the latest releases. The great thing about the movies is you don’t have to go far for them to transport you to the far reaches of the world (and sometimes even beyond).
Enjoy a Spa Day
You deserve to be pampered, right? Grab your plus one and make a day of it at your local spa. You can almost always find some sort of special or deal. Or, if you’d prefer not to leave home, you could recreate the spa experience by giving each other massages.
Go on a Road Trip
If you’ve ever been on a road trip with your significant other, you know it can be a bonding experience. Windows down, radio cranked up, the world flying by in blurs of blue and green… road trips are so life-affirming. Why wouldn’t you want to share that with your loved one? Make the experience even more special by creating a custom playlist through Spotify or Apple Music and have a handy list of roadside attractions ready to go.
Staycation Ideas for Families
Hit Your Local Parks
If your family is looking for something fun and interesting to do for a few days, pull out your local parks guide. You can likely hit several parks each day of your “staycation” — which, bonus, will help your little ones burn some serious energy. Check with your town’s parks and recreation department to see if they offer an annual pass for extra savings.
Be a Tourist in Your Own Town
Why go on vacation to explore another town or state when you can staycation in your own? After all, when was the last time you truly spent time getting to know your local surroundings? Get your kids pumped by pulling out a map and having them help you pick places you all want to visit together. A few ideas: watch a play at the local theatre, go to the opera (or other music hall performance), visit an aquarium, soak up history at the local museum, etc.
Host a Family-Friendly Movie Marathon
Break out the popcorn and Twizzlers, because it’s movie time! There’s no better way to spend staycation for a bunch of movie buffs than to binge-watch new titles. And thanks to streaming services with on-demand and still-in-theater options, you’ll have no shorter of choices. Let each family member pick a movie to watch during your cinematic staycation, and then you can all discuss each pick after the final credits roll.
Sign Up for an Art Class
Sometimes the best vacations are the ones that push you outside of your comfort zone. So, if the idea of signing up for a family art class seems daunting, that may be even more reason to do it. Sure, you can do the same old things you always do. But how cool would it be to discover you have a budding Picasso in your own home? At the very least, it’s something different to do.
Throw a Tournament
Don’t just dust off one board game; dust them all off! Kick your family’s competitive nature into high-drive by creating an official board game tournament chart, complete with brackets. Decide whether you’re going to do single or double (or even triple??) elimination, and set a prize for the grand champion. If you really want to make things interesting, you could even get a sports tourney going during your board game downtime. When else are you going to use that badminton set?
Staycation Ideas During Quarantine
While we’re hoping we don’t have to quarantine again anytime in the near future, it’s a possibility. But if you’re lucky enough to live near some wide-open spaces or a national forest, you may be able to get out of the house for a socially distanced camping trip. Don’t forget stuff to make s’mores!
Do a DIY Yoga Retreat
There’s no time like quarantine time to center yourself. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced yogi, you should find no shortage of classes online. Find a quiet spot, roll out your yoga mat, and spend the next few days harnessing your inner chi.
Learn Something New
We’re pretty fortunate to live in the digital age where, at any given time, there are roughly a bazillion books, guides, lessons, and seminars available at the click of a keyboard button. Dream of being a thespian? Take a drama class taught by a real-like actor. Fancy yourself a home chef? Learn to flambé like Bobby Flay. Think of something you’d like to be able to do, then Google until you’re enrolled in at least one course.
Interview Your Loved Ones
Grab a recorder (or, you know, your smartphone) and step into the shoes of an investigative reporter or celebrity profiler. You might be tempted to read the biography of a famous figure or meet a stranger, but have you ever thought about the stories closer to home? With just a few phone calls to loved ones, you could have the makings of a best-seller — without ever having to crack open a book. C’mon, you know your grandma has some secrets to tell!
Plan Your Next Vacay
Let’s not sugarcoat it; being stuck at home can be tough for extroverts, especially those of us who love to travel. So, if you wind up quarantined again, use the time to plan out your next great vacation. Research destinations. Make a list of tourist stops. Look up where the locals go. By the time you’re given the green light to hop a flight, you’ll have the most organized itinerary ever.