Staycation 101

How to have the ultimate vacation experience without ever leaving your home
Written by Mia Weber

Spring travel may be on hold as the country does its part to #stayhome--but you can still channel the spirit of vacation this season. Maybe you were planning out how to spend your child’s spring break, a babymoon to celebrate time with your partner before a new arrival joins the family, or even just a weekend getaway to see family out of town--given the way current events have been unfolding, families all over the country (and the world) are rethinking what it means to relax and do something special while still following the rules of social distancing.

The good news is that it’s actually oh-so-easy to have a family staycation right in your home. We’ve rounded up our favorite ideas for finding the fun and making your “vacation” feel special and memorable even without travel involved. 

Babymoon Staycation
For many couples, the babymoon is an opportunity to take one last trip as a family of two before the baby arrives. A staycation babymoon may not involve air travel or an exotic locale, but it can still involve plenty of time connecting as a couple, pampering, and some yummy food.

First, set the mood with your wardrobe. If you’re an expectant mom and you have some resort-wear or special-occasion maternity outfits that you want to sport while you’re still rocking your bump, go ahead and plan to wear them for your babymoon staycation! Why not? On the flip side, if all you want to do is wear your coziest sweats, follow that instinct. 

It also helps to make a plan with your partner about activities you want to enjoy. Plan special meals--whether you cook or order delivery from restaurants in your neighborhood still doing takeout and delivery during this time is your call--some time for new games or crafts, some time for at-home spa treatments (bath bombs, sheet masks, belly masks, and DIY massages all work well here), time for a movie or live-streamed concert, and time for intimacy. 

Whatever you do, say no to chores and home improvement projects--this is about stepping away from responsibilities and focusing on yourselves. By stepping outside the norm of your routine, you’ll invite natural opportunities to appreciate each other and create a sense of love and calm that’s perfect for welcoming your baby when the time comes. 

Family Staycation
A staycation with a baby or toddler can require some creativity--so much of your day-to-day at home revolves around a baby’s care so it can be understandably tough to think outside of that box. The key here is to infuse the “vacation” time with elements of wherever your intended destination may have been.

If, in a perfect world, you were planning to visit somewhere tropical or beachy, add some flourishes of tropical decor around the house and to the whole family’s wardrobe--take the opportunity to invest in that fancy tropical house plant you’ve been eying, order some baby onesies in beach-themed prints, and say “why not?” to wearing your flowiest pool coverup around the house. 

Order some kitschy tropical party favors (like these Coconut Cups from Party City) and commit to using them in daily life for the duration of the vacation. You can also get kids involved in some themed crafts to help spruce the house up and transform it into a beach resort or nautical beach house. Go wild with construction paper flowers and palm trees, or anchors and sailor hats. You could even cut out postcard-sized pieces of paper and encourage the little ones to draw their own postcard images on one side, and write a cheery message to a pal or relative on the other (and when you mail them out, you can feel great about supporting the US Postal Service during this tough time).

Perhaps your perfect getaway involves bringing your baby, toddler, or kiddos to visit with relatives in another town or state. Bring your long-distance loved ones into your staycation plan. Schedule special times to FaceTime or, if you have slightly older kids, play games on the House Party app. You can also put up photos of your faraway fam in unexpected places around the house so that you’re smiling at every turn. 

Other fun ways you can make a staycation feel like a getaway include letting your toddler or older kids camp out in the living room, eating meals with your “fancy” dishware, letting the older kids stay up late and indulge in extra screen time or sweet treats, and adding a new toy or activity into your baby or toddler’s routine.

Make the Most of Your Outdoor Space
If you’re lucky enough to have access to a deck, balcony, or backyard, take the opportunity to use it in a new way. Bonus points if you hand a disposable camera over to the fam and ask everyone to document the great backyard in their own special way. Later, you’ll love getting the prints back and you get an additional activity out of it if you decide to make a scrapbook!

If the weather is good, set up a tent in the backyard for kiddos to camp in, if you can do so safely, experiment with a firepit and s’more roasting, and take the opportunity through it all to let the kids help out with setting up and cleaning up. If your little ones are a bit young for camp-outs, take a nature tour of the yard’s flowers, hide trinkets for a scavenger hunt, or simply set up a bunch of cozy pillows and blankets and enjoy relaxation in the sun together in a special, slightly fancy setting.

For those with outdoor space, but not blessed with the best weather, schedule family outside time and frame it as a big adventure where braving the elements is key! This gives littles the opportunity to suit up in rain gear or hiking clothes they don’t normally wear, keep their eyes peeled for worms, and (most importantly) indulge in some hot cocoa indoors when the trek is over. 

However you style your staycation, you already get major points for making something positive out of a strange moment in time. And at the end of the day, any good family vacation is made memorable by the time spent with each other, regardless of the destination.