Most of us dream of white sandy beaches, tropical seas and drinks with little umbrellas in them when we think of summer vacations. But we often don’t have the time or the budget for our ideal vacation. This summer, we’re even less likely to be setting off to a new, unexplored corner of the country or the world. Most vacationers will be playing it safe with a staycation, at or very near home, in case of COVID-19-related cancellations or disruptions.
A recent survey of American travelers found that 70 percent will take at least one leisure trip in the remainder of 2020, and 40 percent believe their next road trip will take place this summer.1 We are slowly emerging from the stay-at-home orders of the coronavirus crisis and many of us are eager to get out of the house to ease our COVID cabin fever. But this year will probably be the summer of the staycation.
For some, that will mean actually spending their vacation at home. After many weeks spent in our houses, a vacation at home might not be our preferred choice. But a staycation in our neighborhood can be every bit as relaxing and rewarding as traveling across the country.
Making your staycation stress-free
The pandemic has taken a huge psychological toll on everyone, and taking time out— from home-schooling, home-working, and ‘home-worrying’—is more important than ever. But how do you ensure that a few days off at home feels different from the normal nine-to-five?
The first step is to put together a framework for your time off. You don’t have to plan every minute, but have some activities in mind, particularly things that would ordinarily be too time-consuming. Try a family sports day, a trip to a local area of natural beauty you usually avoid because it’s “touristy” and busy, or just spend quality time with the people you love. During lockdown, many of us were unable to see family or friends that live close by, so take that opportunity now.
It also helps to put together some guidelines around the practicalities. You don’t want to spend the whole holiday doing housework or surreptitiously checking your work emails. Decide how to break down the chores and which ones you’re going to ignore until the vacation is over. Consider cooking some meals ahead or ordering in so you don’t always have to plan your day around preparing meals.
A spring-clean staycation
Many people have been juggling far more this year than usual and have had to let some things slide. It may help to use one day of the holiday to straighten out nagging worries around the house. Sometimes, all it takes is some spring cleaning to make your home feel like a sanctuary again. In the same way, these difficult circumstances may have made you drop the ball on life administration such as financial planning, budgeting or taxes. Consider spring-cleaning your finances along with your home.
You should also get everyone to agree on how digital the holiday should be – 48 straight hours on a PS4 may be your teenager’s idea of a break, but it probably won’t fit with your plans. Equally, while you might want to binge-watch box-sets and check your social media, consider whether unplugging from constant updates could be the break you really need.
Riding along in my automobile
For those who feel comfortable taking a road trip, there are more possibilities. Once again, consider tourist traps nearby that you may have avoided in the past. These could be less busy this summer than any other year. You should also prepare carefully. Make sure that the attractions and amenities you‘d like to visit will be open, and check on any changes to the way they operate such as enforcing social distancing measures.
Whether at home or in your local area, a staycation can be a lot more relaxing than you might think. According to Destination Analysts, two-thirds of those who claim to prioritize their emotional well-being say that leisure travel will be important this year, and nearly half of those prioritizing stress management agree that vacations are a good way to manage stress2. But interestingly, the highest-rated relaxing travel experiences include visiting family and friends (43 percent selected as a top 3), taking a road trip (35 percent) and visiting a national park (24 percent). (Try the National Park Service’s website to find your local park) For most of us, at least one of these options is within reach and could make all the difference to our stress this summer.
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1 Destination Analysts, Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus, June 08, 2020, Accessed June 9, 2020
2 Destination Analysts, Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus, June 08, 2020, Accessed June 9, 2020