Typically, when you opt for a staycation, you may see some family members or friends react with disappointed faces or even violent opposition. Most people have the impression that there’s nothing really special about staycations as you are just in a location that is all too familiar to you. Ergo, no excitement!
But are staycations really boring? Deciding to spend your vacation at home or within your city’s limits may be quite a wise idea, given the hassles and humongous expenses you would otherwise incur if you travel by bus, train, ship, or plane. The global economic crisis and unstable security conditions have made many people think twice before spending their time and dollars in another, often unfamiliar locality.
If you really put your mind to it, there are actually hundreds of creative ways to make your staycation a real R and R treat with your family or special someone, even if you are no more than a few miles or minutes away from home.
Here are 15 fun things to do on a staycation.
- Spend the day with a movie marathon. Get out your old DVD collection or watch films online through Netflix or YouTube. Let each of your family members select a movie so that everyone will enjoy watching. Then stay at a cool and quiet place in your home to watch them. Don’t forget the popcorn and drinks!
- Catch up on reading. Were there books that you’ve always wanted to read but were too busy to do so? This is your chance! Drop by the local bookstore with your family and have each one select what he or she wants to read. Find a cool, and comfortable place in your home (the patio, garden, or den) with adequate lighting and read together. It will also be more fun if each member can share his feedback about the books. Of course, snacks should be an integral part of your reading session.
- Learn more about the world by looking up topics on Wiki and YouTube. Have you always wondered how an aurora borealis is formed and what it looks like? Or maybe you are curious about the personal life of a celebrity or about family living during the medieval times. Go to Wikipedia or YouTube to get answers. Want to know if a certain rumor is true? You can clarify that rumor in Snopes.com. The World Wide Web is rich in information about these and millions of other topics. Google it! You can make this activity even more fun with your family or friends with trivia questions such as “Who’s the first boyfriend of Taylor Swift?” and having everyone look for the answers online.
- Cook new recipes at home and get your family or friends to help. You might even divide the whole cooking project into several little committees — recipe selection, purchasing, preparation (by recipe), and table setting — depending on the ages and skills of participants. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how deliciously those dishes will turn out!
- Organize a board game Olympics at home. Resurrect those old backgammon, Monopoly, chess, and even playing card sets out of the attic. Schedule people to play in each game, either as individuals or partnerships. Then tally all the results at the end of the day. Acknowledge and award winners for each game plus a grand winner if you like. If you are playing with friends, maybe the losers can treat the winners for a dinner out.
- Plant a new garden. Go to a nursery and pick out new plants for your home. This may seem like work, but it can also be educational for the kids as they will learn more about nature and the environment. Also teach them how to prune, refresh, or repot some old plants. They can learn how to create a compost in the backyard to use for fertilizer. You might also want to till the soil to make a small plot to grow your own vegetables and fruits. Go greener and be healthier!
- Take up arts and crafts projects. Undertake one big project, such as a quilt, with your family or friends. Or you might want to try several smaller projects that you can finish during the day. You can take up painting, sculpting, sewing, knitting, woodworking, origami, paper mache, or candlemaking. You can learn how to do all these through YouTube. Who knows, there might even be a budding da Vinci or Martha Stewart in your family!
- Tour the town on foot or by commuting. Leave your car keys at home. Map out key places you can reach from your house and take leisurely walks to each one. From the last or farthest point, you can opt to take bus or taxi rides back home. Be sure to bring drinks, towels, caps, and sunglasses for the walking tour. Take plenty of pictures along the way!
- Hang out at a pool. If you are fortunate enough to live in a gated community or village with its own pool, why not spend a hot day there? Or maybe one of your friends or relatives has a backyard pool that you can hang out at. Do offer to bring food and drinks for the event if you have to use someone else’s private pool. You can also check out sites to see if there are houses with pools that can be rented for a day or two. What a refreshing and healthful way to cool down during the hot summer!
- Have a shopping spree. Malls often feature sales each week. Check out the best ones to go to. Bring plenty of cash and your cards, and shop till you drop. It might also be the right time to replace Junior’s toddler-sized bed for a bigger one, or that ancient television set for a plasma TV. And summer vacation is the best time to scout for new clothes and shoes for your kids to wear when school starts again in a month or two.
- Have a cookout or picnic at the local park. Your family can also bring their bikes, skateboards, Frisbees, or balls to use at the park. Barbecue and burgers would be perfect picnic fare. Plan on spending a few hours just talking, eating, strolling, and simply bonding at the park. This will also be a nice chance to take the family pet out for a walk.
- Organize a sports competition in your neighborhood. Divide participants into teams and play basketball, football, volleyball, or table tennis. Sack races, obstacle courses, long jumps, dodgeball, scavenger hunts, and even parlor games can be played in lieu of sports. Or how about a music or dance competition? This will also be a great chance to get to know and be closer to your neighbors.
- Join an exercise class. Your family and friends will have a blast (plus a heck of a good cardio workout) when you all join a yoga, zumba, or martial arts class. Check out local community centers and churches that may be offering those classes at minimal rates or even for free.
- Conduct a general cleaning of your home. Alone, this is hard work. But with the family members in tow, it can become a fun activity. Give each member specific tasks to do. Sort out your things and divide them into groups that you keep, donate, sell, or simply throw away. Old game sets, worn out or outgrown clothes, and almost-expiring kitchen and medical supplies can still be sent to a local charity or shelter. Or organize a garage sale to get rid of unwanted but still usable items and make extra money along the way.
- Stay at a local luxury hotel. Patronize your own city’s hotels. Usually they offer special packages for local residents. Also check out agoda.com and other online booking sites to get the best room rates. During your stay, you can avail of the hotel’s gym, pool, and spa facilities. Most hotels also offer free breakfasts and special discounts when you dine at their restaurants. Don’t miss these perks! Many staycation hotels are also located near major shopping malls for your convenience. For once, be a tourist in your own hometown!
Now, if that’s not enough… here are some other things you can do during your staycation
The above list and video are in fact only a handful of the best suggestions for things to do on a staycation.
Here are some reminders for you:
- If staying at a hotel is one of your staycation plans, do book early to avoid inconveniences. Plan on getting double rooms or suites if there are more than three in your party.
- Brainstorm with your family or friends before actually undertaking any activity. Your group must be unanimous with all the chosen activities. Otherwise, the staycation won’t be fun and fruitful for everyone.
- Avoid activities that may not suit certain age groups, especially if there are very young, disabled, or elderly members. For example, exercise classes may not be for everyone.
- Make sure that your activities are within your budget.
- Check the local weather conditions for outdoor activities.
- For your group’s safety, do watch out for each other especially when on a walking tour or at the park. Be wary of and report any suspicious-looking people lurking in the vicinity. Teach your children never to talk to strangers, and to stay within visible limits. Keep an eye on them while they are in the pool, as accidents can still happen even if they can swim. Lastly, keep an eye on your valuables.