Does social distancing have you worried about your summer plans? For many, summer is the time for the family vacation. The kids are out of school, the weather is fantastic, and the days are longer — allowing optimal time to venture to new places, catch some sun and spend more time with friends and family.
While many people have already been spending a lot more time with their families during the coronavirus outbreak than they ever imagined, whether you love it or have grown tired of it, you’ve likely run into problems keeping the family entertained. Between working from home, managing your kids’ schoolwork and maintaining a functioning household, this time probably hasn’t felt much like a vacation.
With social distancing guidelines likely to remain in effect in many cities during the summer, activities, entertainment options, lodging and dining will be extremely limited. But the truth is, you really don’t have to totally give up on enjoying the summer at home with your family.
Here are some tips to make your local staycation feel exciting for the whole family.
1. Create fitness-focused days.
Plan local hiking trips or long walks or bike rides close to home. Enjoy the local parks and embrace the architecture in the neighborhood.
A quick online search of interesting facts can help you plan what you want to go and see. Being a tourist in your own city will help you have a greater appreciation for your hometown.
If you have kids, try setting up a challenge for them to identify certain plants, landmarks or wildlife when you’re out walking. It will make the walks more engaging. Having prizes ready for them helps with motivation, too. Additionally, backyard games are a blast — sprinklers, hula-hoops and jump rope are things kids love.
2. Embrace the farmers markets.
Heading out for a trip to the local farmers market is such a treat, and also a great way to shop locally. At this point, many of them have adopted social distancing guidelines, which means it’s also a safe bet for a family outing.
The market usually has fresh and seasonal options to explore, and maybe there are some fascinating new fruits and vegetables you can’t find at your grocery store. Also, getting the kids involved in selecting ingredients for your meals may help spark their interest in healthier eating (an added bonus!).
Breaking your usual grocery shopping routine by browsing the stalls in beautiful weather will help spark that holiday vibe.
3. Create your own at-home retreats.
With a little planning, you can make your own backyard or home feel like a perfect vacation spot. All you need to do is set a theme.
For a spa weekend, buy or make your favorite products and set up time to relax and treat yourself. Turn off or put away all of your tech distractions and set up a space outside or in a quiet room for a peaceful setting. You can even make spa water but cutting up some cucumber or fruit to add flavoring to your water.
Want to create your own yoga retreat? Turn to your favorite online trainer, set up your mat in a designated space, light candles or incense, and be sure to practice daily with relaxing music. It’s all about being creative.
4. ‘Travel’ with your cooking.
With travel on the back burner, consider themed cooking nights to help transport your taste buds to any destination. It can be really fun to make drinks, shakes and meals with ingredients from places that are on your future travel list.
Enjoy a nice Italian wine with your pasta one night — try cooking a beautiful curry meal or ordering take-out from a restaurant you’ve never tried before. Take it a step further and print out some online fun facts or rent a movie about the particular culture you’ll be indulging that night. The possibilities are endless and it’s a great opportunity to learn about other cultures through food.
5. Create an itinerary.
Finally, take time to plan out your staycation in the same way you would with a vacation. Having an itinerary of what you want to do helps to prevent the lazy, do-nothing blues from taking over.
A vacation is about rest, relaxation, discovery and recreation — all of those things can be accomplished right where you are. Studies have shown a positive correlation between people taking vacation time and an overall better wellbeing, so no matter what’s on your itinerary, make sure to thoroughly enjoy yourself.