Summer vacation usually involves embarking on a flight or road trip to a favorite—sometimes far-flung—destination to “get away from it all” and experience entirely different cultures, activities, and scenery. This summer, however, with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic complicating travel, many families are staying a little closer to home by substituting a “staycation” for the traditional family getaway.
Why choose a staycation?
A staycation is just what it sounds like—a vacation in the comfort of your own home. While that might seem like a contradiction in terms on the surface, vacationing at home offers a myriad of benefits that you simply can’t enjoy when traveling. Families who staycation don’t have to pack a thing (or backtrack when they’ve forgotten something); worry about lost luggage; wait in interminably long traffic jams or airport security lines; fret about the cleanliness of their bed linens, bedbugs, or other people’s germs in the bathroom; endure the stress of driving in unfamiliar territory; or lose any of their precious vacation time traveling to and from their destination.
You still have to plan
Though staycationing requires minimal preparation, you don’t want to leave things completely to chance, either. You need to make a solid plan. Start by actually scheduling your staycation on the calendar just as you would a traditional vacation. Decide what activities you and your family would like to include, and create an itinerary for each day.
Let co-workers and clients know that you’ll be on vacation and unavailable during that time. Make sure any unavoidable chores—such as mowing the lawn and paying the monthly bills—are finished ahead of your “departure” date so you can start relaxing and enjoying family time as soon as the alarm clock sounds that first morning.
Don’t sabotage your staycation
One potential drawback to vacationing at home is that it’s very easy to get pulled off course by the “siren song” of any career or household projects that might await you. The home office phone rings, your emails start to pile up, you notice that cabinet door that needs fixing, and suddenly your relaxing staycation is just another work week. But remember, this is supposed to be a time to recreate and recharge your batteries with family—not an excuse to tackle additional chores.
To avoid this pitfall, turn off your computer and shut down your home office. Make sure your outgoing voice and email messages indicate that you’re on vacation. Hang a “closed” or “gone fishing” sign on your office door to help you resist the temptation to check on that “one little thing.” If you absolutely must check emails (or you just can’t bear the thought of coming back to 1,000 messages), schedule a specific time, perhaps midway through your staycation, to do so. As far as chores around the house are concerned, unless there’s an emergency, ignore them until your staycation is over.
Kick back in your own back yard
The Toledo area offers enough recreational activities and daytrip opportunities to keep a family occupied and entertained for an entire staycation. However, due to the current pandemic, it’s uncertain as of this writing what will or will not be open to the general public this summer. No worries, though. You can do a lot of relaxing and recreating right in your own home or yard.
Plan a backyard barbecue, complete with a badminton, croquet, or lawn darts tournament. If you have a swimming pool or hot tub, by all means take full advantage of it. At night, gather around a blazing fire pit to share conversation, roast marshmallows, and make s’mores. Schedule family pizza and movie nights. Do a little stargazing and see who can identify the most constellations. Or, just take some time to lounge around the yard and garden that you’ve worked so hard to create but seldom have time to enjoy.
And, don’t forget to treat yourself and your family to a few indulgences. By staycationing, you’re saving significantly on the cost of gas and lodging, so it’s okay to pamper yourself a bit in other ways. Enjoy some of the fine dining our area has to offer via delivery, carryout, or curbside pickup. Or maybe do a little online shopping (preferably at locally owned stores) for some nice staycation “souvenirs.”
The list of possibilities goes on and on. Remember, your family staycation can be whatever you want to make of it. Just because you’re staying home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the same benefits that you would on a conventional vacation. With a little prior planning and creativity, you can still go back to work rejuvenated and re-energized.