We’ve all heard of “staycations,” those home-centred alternatives to travel in North America or abroad, especially in the summer. The idea of taking a staycation has gained favour with high-gas prices, rising unemployment, and many of us unable to justify the expense of a vacation.

Well, this year the idea of the staycation is back like never before. The global pandemic has given us all pause for thought, and possibly the desire to stay closer to home. What’s more, this summer we may be limited to the sort of staycation that only includes the members of our household instead of getting out to a close, crowded city or a beach. Still, there are ways to ensure that a staycation isn’t a lesser experience, just a different one. It starts with a little planning ahead:

Polish off your chores in the weeks ahead of your staycation. You’ll better enjoy the challenge of giving yourself an actual homebound vacation if you’re not looking at all the chores you haven’t completed.

Put the travel money you’re saving into enhancing your home. Create a home that your family can enjoy. Add a bit of low-cost luxury and comfort for the adults (cushy fabrics indoors, beckoning furniture for the backyard, a quality sound system – what’s your definition of ahhh?) And, don’t forget the kids! Consider laying in some indoor games and outdoor toys to make their staycation as enjoyable as yours.

Since stay-home orders went into effect, social media and online retail have been full of the kind of imaginative play equipment that makes us all want to be kids again.


Make meals easy to manage. As we begin to ease back into our lives, many regions might still be under social distancing restrictions this summer, and you can’t rely on restaurant meals or numerous trips to grocery stores. Ahead of time, lay in the goods for some easy-to-prepare but special menus, and include some treats. Backyard s’mores are fun, and there are many healthy homemade frozen treats that are inexpensive, and they’ll be a massive hit on the hottest days.

Be creative. The schedules and pressures of everyday life – the kind that has all, but vanished – has worked against creative pursuits. “There’s no time!” We used to say. Well, living a home-centred life has allowed many of us to spend time in the creative process, which is an excellent way to focus less on what we can’t do, and more on what we can! Always wanted to paint or explore particular crafts? Stock up on supplies ahead of your staycation and, as a family, take the time to rediscover the joys of artistic expression. If you love to cook or bake, why not spend some time teaching your children how to make your favourite family recipes? Put aprons on and let your family earn its first Michelin star in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter what you do – what’s most important is to make your creative side come out (or, in this case, stay in!) and play.

Stay present and be in the moment. Being present helps you focus on everything you have, not what you’re missing, and it also helps you value those around you. Some of the fondest memories you’ll have are the memories spent with those you love.