You work all year for that one- or two-week break. It's out there winking at you from the horizon, telling you to hang in for another day – or 30. Vacation is coming. Or maybe not.
The COVID pandemic laid waste to vacation plans since 2020 - and it's still a factor. You're probably desperate for a getaway by now. You can thumb your nose at the virus and head for the nearest airport, or you can create peace, respite and some fun right at home.
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Make It a Vacation
A staycation is literally what it sounds like – a vacation where you stay at home. The trick is to make it a true vacation.
Make it clear to employers and coworkers that you won't be available during this time. It might seem extreme to turn your phone off, but consider at least changing the ringer and alert from those that ding at you every day. The different sounds can remind you that you don't have to respond because you're on vacation.
Consider also: How to Financially Plan for a Vacation
Planning Ahead Is Important
You wouldn't run off to the airport without booking a flight and a room. A great staycation requires planning, too. Create a wish list of the things you like to do - or would like to do - in your spare time. Get any supplies and make any necessary reservations in advance so you're good-to-go with no last-minute surprises. The Credit Counseling Society provides an interactive tool, just four easy questions, to give you some staycation ideas if nothing jumps readily to mind.
Make it clear to employers and coworkers that you won't be available during this time. It might seem extreme to turn your phone off, but consider at least changing the ringer and alert from those that ding at you every day. The different sound can remind you that you don't have to respond.
A staycation is also a time to try your hand at something new like drawing or something old like reading.
Consider also: Glamping vs. Roughing it
The Great Outdoors
You're in luck if you live at least reasonably close to public lands that you can reach on an easy day trip. Check out the National Park Service's Plan Your Visit page for ideas from biking and e-biking to hiking and fishing and much more. Start at Find a Park and take it from there.
Zoos and Nature Centers are not just for kids. Visit the nearest zoo if something smaller or less structured is more your style. Many Nature Centers have evening hikes to stargaze or bird watching and flower walks. Either are good ways to relax outdoors and have some casual social interaction.
Camping could also be something different. You can camp in your own backyard if you're far enough from city lights and do a little stargazing on your own. Or, skip the tent and identify constellations using one of the many available smartphone apps.
While you're at it, see if there is rafting or tubing - a much gentler version in which you meander down a river - in your area. You'll be out in the fresh air with either activity, although rafting won't necessarily lend itself to contemplation.
Consider also: Gear You'll Love When Hitting the Hiking Trails
Indoor activities hold a lot of promise, too. You may have had more than enough of movies and shows, but if you haven't, find a series or movie that's new to you. Silence the phone, grab some snacks and enjoy.
A staycation is also a time to try your hand at something new like drawing or something old like reading. Whatever you decide, treat your commitment to that activity as seriously as you would an appointment at work. There are plenty of video introductions to whatever you'd like to try. Browse the bestseller lists for some books that sound good, then have them ready when you are.
If you love to cook, take this time to make the meals you wish you had time to make. Not so into cooking? Order food from your favorite restaurants during the week. You can also order pizza from Italy or restaurants across the nation.
The good news here is that if you're not feeling like doing anything for a day - you don't need to. And, no one will be knocking on your door to see when you're leaving the room so they can straighten up. Since this vacation won't cost as much as if you jetted off to someplace else you can have fun now and dedicate your savings to another vacation when life returns to normal.
- National Park Foundation: NPF Kids
- Credit Counseling Society: Affordable Staycation Ideas
- Logan County Health District: Family Activities to Do During COVID-19
- Nationwide: How to Plan the Perfect Staycation
- Credit.org: Staycation Ideas During the Pandemic
- DoSomething.org: No Travel, No Problem: How to Plan a COVID-19 Staycation
- National Park Foundation: Every Kid Outdoors
- National Park Foundation: Junior Ranger Radio