It’s a summer like no other. The weather is warmer and the kids are out of school. Seems like the normal time to take a vacation, right?
In our current COVID19 world, nothing is normal.
Some states have spikes in cases. Others require a two-week quarantine upon arrival. Currently, foreign countries ban entry of people from the United States. All of this makes finding a destination for a vacation challenging. If you overcome those initial issues, you still have to decide if the risks involved with travel are worth it.
With all of these factors, a vacation this summer seems impossible. Don’t give up hope! There is still fun to be had!
You can plan to a dream vacation from the comforts of your own home. Here are just a few things you can do to create a wonderful ‘staycation’ experience for your family.
Just as you would do on a destination vacation, you want to enjoy the time with your family and not be distracted by the day-to-day regularities of home. For that reason, set some ground rules, including NO:
- Doing chores (cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc…)
- Social media, internet or video games
- Watching TV
- Making plans with others not on the staycation
- While it will be tempting to reply to just one email or clean up this one mess, protect the time with those you’re with and enjoy your ‘time away.’
You don’t have to travel to a major city that might be considered an ‘arts mecca’ to experience outstanding culture. Consider:
A staycation gives you the perfect time to visit museums from around the world! Tour places like the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam, Netherlands), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, New York), the Louvre (Paris, France), the Dr. Pepper Museum (Waco, Texas), Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC) or the Walt Disney Family Museum (Los Angeles, California) without boarding a plane! Since you’re saving money on a plane ticket, be kind and donate to the museums you view.
If you don’t necessarily like looking at paintings, why not create your own? Several chains offer classes in painting your own work of art. While most have locations to host these events, many now offer kits and instructions online to help you avoid crowded spaces. You can look into these options: Color Me Mine, Painting with a Twist, and Pinot’s Palette.
You don’t have to trek all the way to Broadway to see amazing theater. Several streaming services offer Broadway shows to view. If you want to watch what inspired the movie, the Broadway production of “Into the Woods” is available to purchase. Some Broadway shows inspire movies. Other times, movies inspire Broadway shows. Netflix hosts the Broadway version of “Shrek.” “Newsies” and “Hamilton” stream through Disney+. Watch a Broadway show from the comfort of your sofa.
With just a quick search, you could find a wide variety of concerts available to stream to your TV. Garth Brooks, Barbra Streisand, Ben Platt, Taylor Swift, ZZ Top, Justin Timberlake, and Bruce Springsteen are just a few artists that have concerts posted to Netflix. Amazon Prime offers concert performances from the Eagles, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, Usher, Beyoncé, Britney Spears among many others. Want more of the “live” element? Check out sites like StageIt and AXSTV that stream live performances from many well-known artists. An evening of music could be the high note of your staycation (see what I did there?)
Park It Right There.
Other sites of your town you may have never visited include a variety of parks. Check locally to see if you have any of the following:
Most cities have exceptional parks that offer play areas for kids, hiking and biking trails and perfect spots for picnics. Pick up pre-made ‘to go’ meals from your favorite restaurant or gourmet market and have a lovely picnic while enjoying Mother Nature. This option offers plenty of options for social distancing and outdoor air. Bring masks and hand sanitzer for extra safety.
Even though a zoo and/or an aquarium may be nearby and even currently open, you may feel safer with your family not encountering the crowd of visitors there. Take the family on a wild safari or a deep-sea adventure without leaving your home. Many zoos, like the Houston Zoo and the world-famous San Diego Zoo, offer streaming live cams of their inhabitants. Aquariums like the Aquarium of the Pacific and the National Aquarium offer the same.
Dine Out and In (at the same time)
With the money saved on choosing a staycation, now’s the chance to have someone else do the cooking! You know that really nice restaurant you drive by and think “maybe someday?” Well, today’s the day! Order delivery from Seamless or Grubhub or a quick pick up directly from the restaurant. Can’t decide on one place? Have a progressive dinner! Have each family member choose one place to pick up an appetizer, another for the entrée, and a third for dessert. Everyone can eat at their favorite restaurant in the same night!
Venture to the Outback(yard)
With some creative thinking and a little preparation, there’s a whole world available right in your own backyard.
No need to venture deep into the forest for a camping adventure. Bring out your sleeping bags, pop up a tent, and get ready for a night under the stars. Build a fire or use a grill for dinner and (more importantly) s’mores. Be sure to have playing cards, games and ghost stories ready. Best part: indoor plumbing easily available!
If there’s not a water park nearby or that just doesn’t float your boat, don’t discount inflatable pools. You don’t even have to have a large one if you have a small backyard. Have personalized pools and buy each family member their own wading pool. And, have a slip and slide contest with a prize for who slides the furthers and longest.
It may not be as challenging as the one on American Ninja Warrior, but you can create own obstacle course to name your family’s own Ninja Warrior. For extra fun, have a trophy or prize. For ideas, you can visit this site to create a fun course.
If there’s not a traditional drive-in nearby, create one in your own backyard. Spend some time in the afternoon making your own cars out of cardboard boxes and have them frame your comfortable launch chair. Projection systems are more affordable than ever before. Simply hang up a white sheet on the side of the house or between trees, vote on a family favorite or select a movie new to your family and hit play. Remember the popcorn!
Speaking of movies, with all the summer blockbusters now easily streaming immediately, have one night of your staycation be centered around a ‘movie premiere.’ Get dressed up. Order an inexpensive red carpet from a party supply store. Take pictures like paparazzi. Plan a premiere party at your home to be held after the viewing with snacks focused on the movie.
Travel the World.
Have each member of your family choose anywhere in the world they’d like to go. For each day of your staycation, go there without leaving your home. Decorate the den or living room like that location. Visit virtual online tours of the popular touristy spots. Have every meal be the cuisine from that destination. Dress like the locals. Watch a movie based there.
This year is going to be one we all remember. Create a staycation that provides wonderful memories of quality time with your family! You’ll be surprised how the world can come to you!