It’s that time of year again.
Everyone’s busy planning and packing for their next holiday adventure – but you’re not going anywhere.
Many people who choose to have a so-called staycation do so to save money or because they like being at home. But what if you’d love to go globe-trotting or soaking up the sun by the pool, but you simply can’t because you’re too sick to travel?
How do you get a vacation feeling – that elusive mix of peace and excitement – when you’re ‘stuck’ in your own home?
I’ll admit, a holiday at home will never be the same as a real beach escape or city break. But there are still plenty of fun ways to make your staycation feel like a true vacation, even when you’re chronically ill.
No matter if you’re housebound or relatively mobile, enjoy the summer holidays from the comfort of your own home with these 38 staycation ideas for spoonies of all fitness levels.
This blog post contains affiliate links to resources you may find helpful. All opinions are my own.
1. Set The Ground Rules
Going about business as usual is not the way to have a great staycation. You need to take a real break from your daily life: no work, no chores, no to-do list on your mind. So come up with some rules and plans to make your week(s) at home feel as much as a getaway as possible.
- Decide when your holiday at home starts and ends – and put a big cross on your calendar to mark your time off. This is an intentional time for fun and relaxation, nothing else.
- Which elements of going on vacation do you long for the most? Are you in need of rest and relaxation? Do you mostly want to have a fun time with family and friends? Are you looking for the sense of adventure and freedom you get from globe-trotting? Think of ways you can evoke that same feeling during your staycation. (Hint: Scroll down for plenty of ideas!)
- Plan ahead and prep like you would for a holiday abroad. Buy essential items, do enough laundry to get you through the week, fill your fridge with your favourite foods and clear clutter away. You wouldn’t spend time doing chores if you were camping in France, road tripping route 66 or partying in Ibiza, now would you?
- Turn off technology. Limit your screen time – no phone, TV or computer games. If you like to use your tablet for reading ebooks, disable your Internet access to avoid mindless browsing online.
- Come up with a list of fun plans! If you have severe health problems, try to think up things you can do on good as well as bad days. To prevent unexpected disappointment, it might also help to devise how you’ll manage your energy and symptoms: maybe you can do one tiny fun thing every day, maybe you prefer one big outing every other day followed by 1 or 2 days of rest. Also: make your rest-and-recovery times as fun as possible (tips below) to stay in that holiday state of mind.
- Bonus tip: Mind the “spoonie logistics” when planning a day out. Crowds, heat and poor health usually isn’t the best combination. Choose a date of time of day when it’s likely to be less busy and warm. Bring a drink, snack and possible medication in case you do start to feel unwell. You can also visit the event’s/location’s website to check important facilities like wheelchair accessibility, available bathrooms and the nearest parking spaces or public transport lines.
2. Turn Your Home into a Luxury Hotel
When traveling to a tropical paradise isn’t an option, give your home that relaxing resort feel:
- Dig up your best linen and change your sheets. There’s nothing like the crisp feel of a freshly made bed – with a decadent piece of chocolate on your pillow of course!
- Hang your fluffiest robe in the bathroom and put a basket of miniature toiletries or your favourite pampering products on the washing table.
- Receive your daily newspaper on your doormat with a (free) trial or temporary subscription.
- Place fresh flowers and a stack of interesting magazines on your coffee table.
- Indulge yourself with a relaxing spa day at home.
- Make your own healthy breakfast station. You can go as low-key or all-out as you want: from a counter full of healthy toppings to go on your yoghurt or overnight oats to a buffet with fresh fruit, wholegrain bagels, boiled eggs and deli meats.
- Splurge on services. If you want to unburden yourself of your daily chores – especially if they take up all your energy – consider hiring someone to clean, babysit or deliver your groceries. If that’s not an option budget-wise, try to plan ahead (freezer cooking, list of low-prep meals, empty laundry baskets) for a carefree staycation.
3. Bring the World to Your Doorstep
As the proverb goes: “If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain“:
- Go on an armchair journey with books that will inspire your wanderlust: Into the Wild; Jack Kerouac’s classic On the Road or Eat, Pray, Love. Even a historic novel like The Birth of Venus will take your mind straight to Florence when your body has to stay put.
- Cook your way around the world. Try a new cuisine or use exotic ingredients you haven’t tasted before.
- Learn a new language – or at least a few words and phrases. You could also add these beautiful foreign concepts to your vocabulary.
- Take “dinner and a movie” to the next level with a travel theme. Pair your movie with a matching dish: eat macarons while watching Amelie, follow Vicky Christina Barcelona up with a sexy Spanish dinner or order sushi during Lost in Translation.
- Go on a virtual museum tour. Ok, it’s not the same as seeing the actual art works, but you’ll get a much better look at the Mona Lisa than anyone at the Louvre.
4. Be a Tourist in Your Own Town
Think you know your home town like the back of your hand? I bet there’s still much left to explore. Like world traveler Chris Guillebeau wrote on Instagram: “If you can’t see the world tomorrow, see your own city or town. Go to a museum. Explore a different neighbourhood. Take a risk and attend an event that is totally unfamiliar to you. You can always make discoveries no matter where you go.” Here’s how:
- Buy a digital guide of your city and start exploring the hotspots!
- See the place where you live from a new point of view: take the ferry or a hop-on hop-off bus, look out over the center from a sky-high vantage point, have dinner on a rooftop restaurant or go underground to explore the city’s catacombs.
- If you live in a rural area, go fruit picking or visit a farmer’s market.
- Go on a (free) walking tour past ‘famous’ sights, historic landmarks or architectural highlights. Embrace your inner tourist and take a picture of yourself in front of your town’s must-sees.
- Enjoy a day out to the zoo, museum or a theme park.
- Explore your area’s natural beauty: visit a botanical garden, have a picnic in the park or hike a trail in a national park if you’re fit enough.
- Check out local papers for fairs, festivals and other fun events.
5. Shake Things Up with Mini Adventures
Are you longing for that rush of excitement that a first-time experience brings you? When you break your usual routine, your brain releases the happiness-hormone dopamine to store information in your memory and it creates new neural connections. So change things up and make room for the unpredictable and unknown:
- Get up really early to watch the sunrise or stay out late to stare at the starry sky.
- Camp out in your backyard. Sleeping under the stars can be a welcome change of scenery, with your own facilities just a few steps away if needed. So set up your tent, bring your thermos and flashlight, and tell ghost stories over s’mores and campfire banana boats.
- Have fun! Play miniature golf, go geocaching or take an improv class.
- Change things up: sleep in your living room, have breakfast on the patio, host a clothing swap with your friends for a mini-makeover or freshen up your morning routine.
- Step out of your comfort zone and do something you’ve been wanting to do but never dared to.
- Go to a drive-in or host your own backyard movie night.
- Leave everything up to fate on your day of randomness. Take the first train leaving the station and get out on the 3rd stop for a drink. Let your dinner partner order a dish for you. Make tiny decisions by flipping a coin or throwing a dice or watch a surprise sneak preview in the movie theatre. Just surprise yourself!
6. Creating That Vacation Feeling at Home
Make your staycation feel like a true vacation, even when your health forces you to spend much time at home:
- Wear flip-flops and sunglasses all day long, even if you’re not going anywhere. Lounge in your cute sun chair and decorate your cool drink with an umbrella. Bonus points for safari hats, sundresses, Hawaiian shirts and swimming trunks!
- Create a summer soundtrack on Spotify.
- Go out for ice-cream or make healthy popsicles to cool down.
- Turn your balcony, porch or garden into an outdoor oasis. Hang a hammock, lanterns and a string of lights or make a cabana out of sheets, folding mats and fluffy pillows.
- Drink your citrus coconut soda or homemade iced tea from a tropical umbrella straw.
- Enjoy the lazy days of summer with some old-fashioned R&R. Read a good book in the sun, play card or board games after dinner or play the guitar.
For more ideas for your staycation, you can download the free Bored and Sick guide – with 130 fun but low-energy activities to do at home.
Which ideas will you try (or add!) to have an amazing staycation this summer?
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