Considering a Spring Staycation? Your Options Are Endless
Just in time for spring break, we have inclement winter weather in some parts of the country and a pandemic, the coronavirus. Add in some financial jitters as the stock market maddeningly yoyos, and you have a perfect recipe for taking a vacation at home — a staycation.
Some people will boldly board planes and maintain their long-made plans. In my family, my sister and niece are spending this week in El Salvador, and my brother-in-law and nephew will travel from Chicago to Utah next week. At least they’re not taking a cruise, but I digress.
There’s a lot we don’t know about this virus, but it’s not a stretch to say that being trapped on a plane for hours with people of uncertain health is not a recipe to keep yourself safe from catching it. In fact, it’s being suggested that many nonessential activities — from vacation travel to elective surgeries like cosmetic procedures— be postponed until the situation has stabilized.
When it comes to travel, if you choose to cancel your plans, the initial emotion that will be felt by you and your family is certainly disappointment. Younger children will certainly not be able to comprehend why they can’t go see Mickey Mouse; perhaps you say the beloved rodent is under the weather. However, given today’s technology and connectivity, a staycation can actually be a great time of family bonding.
Staycation Ideas — At Home
So instead of spending five days on a sunny Florida beach, you find yourself hunkered down in your home with some very disappointed — and maybe even angry — children. You could certainly echo their mood, since you were looking forward to getting away, too, but a better tact is to let the kids know that just because they aren’t going anywhere, that doesn’t mean they’re not going to have fun. (Yes, that statement may result in some eye rolls.)
You may start by noting that normal “house rules” won’t be applicable during your staycation. No bedtimes will be enforced and everyone can sleep until they wake up. If you have teens, you may not see them until noon! Chores will be put on hold and no one will be scolded for not making their bed.
Now what to do with all those hours in a day? You might start with a little old-school fun, perhaps choosing teams and hauling out board games like Monopoly and Life, or Chutes and Ladders and Candyland for the younger set. Or Jenga. Got a backgammon or cribbage set, checkers or chess board? Teach your kids these games — or just break out a deck of cards to play Crazy 8s or even poker. You can designate a couple hours a day solely for games that don’t require electricity or connectivity.
Of course, you’re not living in the Stone Age. Tell the kids they can play video games for as long as they want. They can even text their friends — you’re not a monster! Their screen time can give you some well-deserved free time to relax, doing something you usually don’t have time for, like reading, taking a long soak in the tub or even napping.
And let’s not forget about binging. Spring for Netflix if you don’t already have it, and let each family member pick a show to binge. Forget Democracy here, no consensus is necessary; everyone should have a turn — anyone who doesn’t want to watch doesn’t have to. This is supposed to be about having fun.
Speaking of fun, how about organizing a scavenger hunt, or maybe a spa day? And of course there’s always arts and crafts, something that’s a wonderful alternative if you have young children. When’s the last time you looked at family scrapbooks or videos? Just remember what’s not allowed during this time: anything you wouldn’t be doing if you were out of town. (That means no homework for kids and no checking your work email.)
One thing we haven’t mentioned yet is food. It doesn’t really seem fair for someone on vacation to have to cook — so make sure no one has to. If you were out of town, you’d be eating all your meals out; even though you’re home — your meals can be delivered to you. You can have just about anything brought to your door these days; by the end of the week, you will be well-acquainted with Postmates, Uber Eats, Grubhub or whatever delivery service you prefer.
Another option when it comes to food, if someone in your household actually enjoys cooking, is to give them the chance to “go wild” by attempting new dishes or maybe doing some binge baking. Remember, most grocery stores also deliver.
Staycation Ideas — In Town
If you canceled your travel plans primarily due to bad weather, you may need to stay close to if not at home. But if you just didn’t feel comfortable traveling due to concerns about coronavirus, you may feel safe enough to do some exploring in your own city. Put your tourist hat on and think about what you would do if you were a visitor.
You may find some activities aren’t available, depending on what’s happening locally, virus-wise, but you will likely have many options to choose from. Just be smart when it comes to protecting your health — frequently wash your hands with soap and water; don’t touch your face; and perhaps have a good supply of disinfecting wipes or lotion on hand.
You may actually be surprised at how much fun you can have with your family on a staycation. You just have to remain positive and be creative. You won’t be able to return to work or school with a tan, but you’ll surely have some great memories, which are priceless.
Do you have any ideas for staycations you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them.