A staycation has always been a great option for taking some time off and unwinding without having to get on a plane or break the bank. The concept has now become more prevalent, with stay-at-home orders in place in many states. It is increasingly hard to feel like being at home is a relaxing escape, because so often now home is work, and home is restaurant, and home is school. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take some time off and relax. There are still ways to give yourself a break at home; here are 20 great ideas.
1. Absolutely no phones allowed. Put that phone away. Do not look at apps. Do not look at social media. Do not look at your news alerts. Set up an “out of office” response on your work email, and do not check it. You are on vacation. Say it to yourself. I am not here. I am on vacation.
2. Set up your space in advance. If you can, make sure your home is set up for maximum relaxation before the first morning of your vacation. Clean up. Clean out your fridge. Do your laundry. Clean your bathroom. Change the sheets on your bed. Don’t leave yourself chores to do on vacation. And maybe make your space a bit odd and festive. Why not hang up some Christmas lights?
3. Spa day. Your first stop on your vacation should absolutely be a spa day. You are ragged. You are worn down. Take some time to do whatever types of personal maintenance you indulge in when you have the time. Do your nails, steam your face, blow out your hair. Do not allow yourself to sit around and feel gross. This is not regular gross time — this is vacation time.
4. Spend more time than usual in your robe. And speaking of spa day, I think you should practice spending more time than usual in your robe. Too often we rush from the shower to our clothes, barely letting our skin dry before stuffing it, moist and warm, into fabric. Not on vacation. After your shower, put on your moisturizer, and then put on your robe. Wear it for as long as you want. An hour, maybe. Take some time to pick out your outfit. Brush your hair, or whatever. Have a cup of tea. If you don’t have a robe, maybe you can just spend time in your towel. Tie it in one of these knots.
5. Play vacation music. What kind of music reminds you of your favorite non-staycation vacation? Something Parisian? Maybe some reggae? Ditch your everyday stuff and put that on instead.
6. Go for a hike. I’m not suggesting a creative indoor activity. I’m just saying, if you can get to a hiking spot around you and it’s still open, why not go for a hike? You can pretend you’re hiking literally anywhere in the world. Ah, I love to travel!
7. Fill pitchers with water and cut fruit. Probably the most luxurious thing I’ve ever encountered on vacation were enormous pitchers of water with watermelon chunks, or orange slices, in them around the pool at a hotel in Miami. Very refreshing. You never flavor your water with fruit at home — this must be a vacation.
8. Prepare something that reminds you of a favorite vacation destination. Love the beignets at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans? Maybe order some beignet mix. Love the lobster rolls in Nova Scotia? Maybe make some of those. Love a piña colada delivered to your beach chair? Maybe deliver one to yourself, at home.
9. Read a vacation book. You might be tempted to try to tackle some sort of difficult work of nonfiction, or some sort of difficult work of fiction, on your staycation, because now you finally have the time. I would suggest not doing that. Pick up something light and breeze through it. It’s time for your brain to take a break. It works hard for you all the time, and it needs some rest.
10. Make a themed movie-night dinner. This will be fun. Meatballs and cannoli with the Godfather. A milkshake with Pulp Fiction. Fifty hard-boiled eggs with Cool Hand Luke. I’m sure you can think of something good.
11. Make your children put on a talent show for you. Tell them in the morning that tonight they have to put on a talent show. The talent must be something they learned today — it can’t be something they already knew. They can learn a new song, or some sort of new trick. They can memorize a monologue or a poem. The winner gets $5 or, if you have just one child, they get $5 as a prize. (Ultimately I think if you have multiple children you’re going to have to end up giving them all $5, but it will potentially be worth it depending on how many children you have.)
12. Have an indoor picnic. Put on a YouTube video featuring serene bird-sound effects. Chill a refreshing beverage. Eat on a blanket on the floor.
13. Indoor camping. Similar to having an indoor picnic, but this time you sleep in a tent and listen to a cricket sound effect on YouTube, or maybe a crackling fire.
14. Have dinner delivered. Oh my God. Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to cook? Have dinner delivered, and remember to leave an enormous tip.
15. Light some candles and put on some music. You can do this whether or not you’re staycationing with a romantic partner, don’t be intimidated. Put on some Rosemary Clooney, light some candles, pour a glass of wine or a cup of tea. Indulge in some conversation, or some reflection, or some book reading. Take a moment to think, Ah. It’s so wonderful that I am not at work right now, and that I will not be at work tomorrow.
16. Make a ridiculous craft. I’m not sure what you have in your house, but I’m sure you have enough stuff to make a ridiculous craft. Then you can display it in your home. “This is my staycation craft,” you can tell people, over Zoom. “I made it while I was relaxing.”
17. Take a luxurious bath. Do you have a nice bathtub? I am so envious. Put on some music or a podcast, light a scented candle, grab whatever magazine you have and a cool beverage, and take a luxurious bath. In the bath think, Ah. I love vacation.
18. Make something on a skewer. Oh gosh, this will be fun, I think. Maybe some watermelon and Feta drizzled with balsamic? That’s not something particularly ordinary. Maybe some bell peppers and chicken and whatever else? Put on some beachwear and enjoy that, I say. I also suggest making s’mores.
19. Set your coffee the night before, so you have it right when you wake up as if it is being delivered to you from room service. Coffee, madame? Oh, yes, I’d love some. (Those are both you; the first one is you doing the voice of your coffee machine.)
20. Turndown service. Have you heard the good word about turndown service? It’s the best place to feel like you both work at and live inside a hotel, and it’s perfect for a staycation. Turn down your bed and think, Ah. Another day of vacation tomorrow. (If you have another day of vacation tomorrow.)