The global pandemic has curbed leisure travel and has made “staycations” the safer choice. With a little planning and creativity, time away from work and school can be both restful and fun!
Start by deciding what is important to you and your family during your time away from regular commitments. Are you seeking some rest and relaxation? New experiences? Family time? All of the above? Understanding this will help in setting ground rules, such as whether or not to check your email and planning out your time.
One fun option is to choose a theme for each day to plan your activities around. Involve the whole family by letting everyone brainstorm and offer ideas. Together you can create a colorful and fun calendar and post it in a common space. Each day your family will have something to look forward to, whether it is for an hour or the whole day.
Some examples of themes might include:
- Film Fest – A restful day of movies in your pajamas. Splurge on renting the movies you really want to see and let each family member choose one. Pop some popcorn, pile blankets and pillows on the floor and get comfy!
- Take-Out – Take-out food is always a treat, but letting each family member choose what they want and from where can make it even more fun. Have your kids map the road trip for pick-up and share samples of your favorite foods.
- Random Acts of Kindness – It has been a tough year, and a bit of kindness can go a long way in lifting spirits. Bake cookies and leave a surprise package on your neighbor’s porch; mail notes or drawings to teachers, relatives and other special people; make a donation of towels, food or toys to your local animal shelter; or place a note on your child’s door each day telling them something that you love about them. Thinking up ways to bring cheer is half the fun!
- ]Kids’ Choice – Also known as a “Yes Day,” this option is for the brave. Kids make the rules, and parents agree to let them lead. Want to skip your nap? Sure! Watch your favorite show instead? Yes! Pizza for dinner? You got it! Ground rules should be established ahead of time to address safety, spending limits and timelines.
- Game Day – Gather around for your favorite board game, or purchase a new game to learn together. You can even let your child create their own game out of poster board and other craft supplies. If you are missing friends and family, log on to House Party or Twitch and play games online together.
- Share a Meal – If your vacations are normally spent with extended family, sharing a virtual meal is a great way to connect. Share recipes and cook the same meal together on a platform such as Zoom. You can leave the cameras going as you catch up over dinner.
Bring the Destination Home
A little imagination can take you anywhere, and if you were dreaming of faraway places, there are ways to bring them to you. Choose a place and make it your focus for a day or even for the entire time. Interested in India? Find a local restaurant that offers authentic Indian cuisine and order food. Thinking about a trip to Tokyo? Choose a Japanese film or anime series to watch. Choose age-appropriate books to read about your dream destination or learn a bit of the local language and customs online. When the time comes that you can hop on a plane and go, you’ll be ready!
Be a Tourist in Your Own State
With an abundance of natural beauty and fun attractions, New Hampshire and Vermont are popular tourist destinations for a reason. If you are lucky enough to live in one of the Twin States, you can enjoy your home state without the need to quarantine. Take a look at your state with fresh eyes and a new perspective. Stay in a town you have yet to visit, tour the State Parks, or check out a new attraction. Plan ahead, as there may be capacity limits in place and reservations required. A good place to start your planning is the tourism website for your state:
New Hampshire: www.visitnh.gov
These tips, combined with your own flexibility and creativity are bound to make your Staycation a memorable one.