By Tash Haynes
2020 has thrown a lot of curveballs, but the one that has had the biggest impact on me has been not being able to get out and travel. The thing my family misses most since our “new normal” has begun, is our ability to go, explore and see the world. Travel is a huge part of our value system as a family. It’s what educates us and keeps us connected to purpose and our small role in this big big world. It’s also what teaches us most about the people and places we hear about and encounter from day to day.
We have so seen so much purpose in travel that we are known to generally hop on a plane every 4-6 weeks and have made it a habit to go international once a year. As you can imagine, being in the house for the last 9 months had us itching to get out.
With the onset of Covid-19 around the world, our travel options have become limited and any time we decide to step out, there’s a bit of calculated risk involved. The concept of “staycation” has started to buzz around and we are hearing it come up more and more these days, as families look for alternatives to country-hopping and air travel. If done right, a staycation can be really fun and the perfect temporary solution to the travel bug.
Because I am seven-months pregnant and considered high-risk (depending on who you talk to), cross-country or international adventures aren’t the most ideal, but one thing I had initially failed to consider was a staycation. Staycations are incredible and can be ideal for times like these because they allow you to get away and experience a vacation without traveling too far, while also keeping you safe. Another advantage is that they boost the local economy, helping businesses and industries, that depend on tourism and have taken a huge hit, to thrive.
What is a Staycation?
A staycation is very simply a vacation at home, within a country, province, state or city. It usually involves a quick drive – 30 minutes to a few hours – and very rarely involves a plane unless you live in a place that is large enough that it requires air travel to get around. It’s a vacation spent at home, visiting local attractions and restaurants, participating in leisure activities that can be completed within a day or a couple, depending on the magnitude.
It is common that when you are from a place, you tend to take it for granted. There are restaurants you haven’t tried, cities you have neglected and roads you haven’t traveled. A staycation allows you to get out and explore and experience different places and activities that we might tend to overlook as travel options when we are choosing to leave for vacation vs. staying.
You Know You’re Ready For A Staycation if…
- You know you need a staycation if you are tired of staying at home and are ready to get out and explore.
- You’re burnt out and everything is triggering you.
- You are ready for a change of pace and need an escape from your real life.
- You want to go on vacation but don’t want to blow your budget.
- You need to fully unwind, disconnect and relax.
- A worldwide pandemic restricts you from going anywhere else. 😉
Deciding on Staycation
When deciding on a staycation, it might be tough to know where to begin but I tend to like to start with a few simple questions:
How long do you want to be away? What are the number of days you can reasonably be away from your home in your hometown? Do you just need one night away or several days to refresh? Once you decide on the duration, it’s time to decide on the purpose for the staycation.
Is the staycation for relaxation? Do you just want a change of scenery? Or do you need to work on a special time-intensive project? You just want to dream big dreams? Or do you simply want to make new memories with someone special or your family?
Now that we have zero’d in on how much time we can commit and set our intentions for our trip, the next MOST important question is budget. How much can we realistically invest in this staycation or how much do we want to spend? Is this a one-off or is this a replacement for a vacation that was going to be had away from home? Thinking about the budget will help you determine just how long you can be gone and what you can do while you are away.
Now that we know what we can reasonably invest, the next thing to consider is proximity from home. How far are you willing to travel? Are you willing to drive the distance or will you fly, train or rent an RV/vehicle to get there. Staycations can happen in the heart of your city, right outside or a few hours away – it’s all up to you! It’s best to choose whatever causes the least amount of stress but helps to bring you closer to your ultimate staycation goal.
Finally, the last thing to consider is who will be going on this dream-worthy staycation. Is it a solo jaunt? Will you be bringing your spouse for a little kid-free fun or will it be a family trip. Deciding who will travel with you, will help determine food choices/locations, activities and lodging.
Planning A Staycation That Feels Like a Vacation
Reflect on Past Vacations
When planning a staycation that feels like a vacation it is important to think through vacations of the past and pull out the special moments that made that vacation fun. Was it the food? The attractions? The lodging? Once you figure out what those things are it is important to infuse those details into your staycation. For example: my family loves lots of water time on vacation and really unique dining experiences. So whenever I choose a vacation idea, I make sure that it is water-centered: pool, ocean, water attraction and has a restaurant that is award-winning or serves up a family-friendly unique fare. I know that a lot of our special memories are around water and gathering around a table so by including those two elements, I can guarantee off the bat that everyone will be happy and that it will feel special and exciting for them.
Consider Your Lodging Preference
Do you like to dine in or out? Do you want your space to feel like a home away from home or can your family handle being in one room? Do you like being outdoors and sleeping under a tent? Staycations are amazing when considering lodging accommodations because in most cases every type of housing preference can be found and if you are “vacationing” close to home, you might have more of a relationship with those available options.
Set intentions and goals for your trip: how do you want to feel when you get there? How do you want to feel when you return? If the goal is relaxation, how do you get there? If it’s to get work done – how are you going to stay inspired? If it’s making memories, how do you and your family do that best? Set your ideas in motion and create the itinerary to reflect your goals.
Get The Kids Involved
Want to make your staycation memorable and special for your little ones? Get them involved! Whether it’s allowing them to pick out the restaurant one night, or having them come up with entertainment ideas. Give your children age-appropriate special roles in the process or let them make/guide decisions and watch their faces light up with excitement. This will also help them to remember specific details of the trip if they have a special role to play in it.
Benefits of Staycation
There are many benefits to a staycation and here are a few of mine. When you stay local, you get to invest in and support the local economy. Sowing into small shops and regional offers means supporting the local economy, which ultimately means supporting businesses and services that support you and that is of critical importance at this time. You get to see, eat and explore places that maybe you have thought about but never gotten around to. It’s a fun and exciting way to finally jump all in and check off your list.
In addition to the above reasons, you get the opportunity to build relationships with local vendors, restaurant owners, hotels and outdoor environments and become familiar with parts of your city/nearby locations that you may not have known about. You’ll find out that there is something for everyone. Every budget works for staycations, making travel options available to the masses.
To check out an example of my own staycation, visit my blog here and check out this post about my staycation in Seattle.
I hope this post is a resource that helps you get up, get out and take advantage of the amazing places around you and to explore in spite of what might seem like a limited ability to travel. Still, there’s so much to see, take in and experience!
About the Author
Tash Haynes AKA @itstashhaynes runs a blog called courageandwisdom.com. In her articles, she doesn’t only focus on mommyhood and traveling with her family, but also talks about entrepreneurship. Aside from her passion for writing, she is also a photographer and runs her photography business together with her husband.
Tash believes deeply in the idea of community and is an advocate for empowering others by sharing our stories so that we all grow and find commonality.