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Staycation - Top tips and guidance to booking the perfect trip in uncertain times.

With so much uncertainty in the world at the moment many people have not booked their annual holiday abroad as we can ever be sure what will change in the coming weeks. Although this can be very frustrating and a scary time for all we are seeing more and more people booking a “Staycation”! This may be a fairly new concept for some so take a look at our top tips and guidance from one of our experts here at Wellity!

Planning the ultimate staycation can help provide that long-awaited downtime with your family and ensure that everyone gets a chance to have some fun in their own country, town or even your own home.

Right now especially, this is really needed by many of us. For months we have tried hard to adapt, to keep going as “normal”. We have adapted to new working from home practices, tried our hardest to establish some kind of routine and generally tried to keep everything ticking along nicely.

Typically taking a vacation can be significantly impactful on our mental health and wellbeing, helping to reduce stress and prevent burnout. The change of pace allows people to shift their perspective, to feel more creative and inspired and boosts our levels of emotional stability. Research also suggests that people return from holidays feeling a renewed sense of self-confidence, feeling refreshed and revigorated, and even more intelligent. We generally feel happier, more positive, our relationships with loved ones become strengthened and it generally refuels our mind and body!

The good news is, that taking the right steps and planning in the right way, it is possible to maximise our staycation and experience all the benefits that I just mentioned, it just needs a bit of an open mind, some creativity and some inspiration!

STAYCATION - according to the dictionary
A holiday or vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad or overseas. Or it can be one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

So how do we go about planning the ultimate staycation. You have booked your annual leave and have a two-week window in the diary just waiting to be filled. What next?

So, the first thing you need is to pick a theme.

Have a think about what you look for in a vacation, what do you enjoy the most? Perhaps you enjoy different types of holidays, with different people in different locations. Some may be about relaxing; others may be fun with the family. Think about what you crave most from your time away. Involve your partner and family and take the opportunity to list your favourite things to do when you are away. Think about what you all enjoy when you travel or go on holiday? Do you take lots of photos? Do you enjoy fine dining or local cuisine? Do you take classes or courses? Do you exercise or love a physical challenge? Do you find time to read that book? Do you try new activities as a family? Reflect on previous holidays and the highlights for you all. The best bits that you remember. This can even be made into a fun activity by looking at old photos, videos and sharing stories.

Examples include:

  • Romantic Getaway

  • Adventure Expedition

  • Relaxing Oasis Escape

  • Discover, Explore and Learn

  • Kid-venture

  • Taste of The International

Bear in mind, that your mindset shift is very important here. It is about giving yourself permission to have the time off to enjoy these things, in the same way you would if you were physically leaving the country. So, this means we have to prepare ourselves to switch off.

Think of the rituals you go through when you prepare to go on vacation.

Perhaps you clear the inbox, tell people that you will be away and prepare for your absence at work. You will write your out of office message and inform colleagues that you will not be available. At home you may clean the house, make arrangements for plants to be watered and prepare clothes to be washed and packed ready. We basically go through several stages of preparation to ensure that our holiday is the best it can be and to allow ourselves to enjoy the downtime.

As such, it is important to go through similar steps for your staycation. For example, even though you may not be leaving your house, your two weeks off is NOT a time for chores. Implement measures to avoid temptation and get organised (e.g., a big clean before your staycation, order a food delivery to prevent needing to go shopping etc.) Equally with your work, tell colleagues and clients that you will be on annual leave (where you are enjoying that annual leave is irrelevant!).

Try and garner the same excitement for your staycation as you would with any other holiday.

Remember all the positives associated with a staycation. Inevitably you will be saving money, you will also be saving on travel time. You will be helping contribute positively to the environment through reduced air travel and helping the local economy if you are visiting nearby attractions. You are also discovering your local area and opening your mind to new opportunities within and around your home. Perhaps you have a loved pet that usually gets left behind but this time they can join the family in the fun!

So next we think about the theme/s and start devising a plan to think about things you can do that are consistent with the theme.

The key is to think of the different things you would usually do when on holiday or abroad and consider how you can emulate these locally or in your own home. Finding creative ways to model these experiences may seem tough in the confines of your own home or community but think of it as a challenge and get the whole family involved!

Examples include:

  • Bring your holiday destination to your home. Due to go to France? Have a day dedicated to the immersing yourself in French culture/food/films

  • Create the "at home" spa – Order some pamper products and recreate the spa experience. Allow yourself to use your favourite products and just take the time to fully enjoy and indulge in a facial scrub, nail polish or hair mask. Allow yourself to enjoy it and not be rushed. Completely recreate the spa experience with lighting, scented candles, the works.

  • Enjoy the great outdoors – Kids love a wild adventure? Take to the garden and go camping, marshmallows, log fire, star gazing.

  • Go and explore. Get the bikes/walking boots out and explore local attractions in the community? Try a new activity such as kayaking, paddle boarding, roller skating, foraging.

  • Check out online or virtual events that might be on locally

  • Equally, look out for pop up events that you could visit with the restrictions imposed

  • Create the restaurant experience – Decide a theme, set up the table, write out menus and take it in turns to be the ‘chef’ on different nights.

  • Discover new cultures, historical landmarks or areas of interest near you. Learn about the heritage and educate yourself on the history of your immediate area.

  • Learn something new. When you travel or go on holiday do you learn languages? Maybe you take a cooking class or learn a new activity like painting, yoga or scuba diving? Yes, it is absolutely more fun to do these things at source but right now, if you want to, you could be doing any of those things online.

  • Perhaps you enjoy an annual weekend away with friends. Think about recreating this virtually and getting people together to enjoy a fun night in.

If you are in a position that you can visit tourist attractions and beauty spots, then do it. Think of places that you have never seen or visited but have always wanted to and make it happen. Whilst there are still restrictions in place in many locations, in others there are still options to visit centres, see new things, new places and have new experiences.

And above all, think about how you can use this time to slow down and be more in the moment. As amazing as a holiday abroad can be, we can learn to be more mindful wherever we are in the world. And more than ever, the ability to learn how to relax and switch off is a skill we all need, we can’t rely on our annual trip abroad to be the only time we actively let our minds and bodies rest.

This is a huge opportunity to start actively thinking about things we can do in and around our homes to seek joy, relax, and be grateful for what we have right in front of us.

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