Top 5 ideas for a great staycation

A woman takes pictures outdoors.

The coronavirus pandemic may have put your vacation plans on hold. If so, you’re not alone: A LinkedIn survey1 conducted in summer 2020 revealed that two-thirds of people weren’t planning to take any time off. That might be a mistake — it’s still important to recharge, especially if the lines between working from home and living at home have become blurred.

How about a staycation instead? A staycation — vacation time spent at or near your home — could be just the ticket to help you feel refreshed.

Here are five tips for planning a funtastic staycation.

1. Get a tourist’s view.

It’s easy to overlook the amazing sights and fun activities close to home simply because they’re close to home. For a different perspective, consider visiting your state’s tourism office website and explore options within a day’s drive of your home. A simple day trip to hike, visit a new restaurant (if open during the pandemic), or take a driving tour of a new area can be surprisingly refreshing. For easy access to any state’s tourism website, visit

2. Visit a national park.

You might be surprised to learn that there are more than 400 national parks across the country. Have you explored all the ones near you? The National Park Service has an interactive map that shows the parks in your area, along with links so you can find out when and if they’re open (hours of operation could be affected by the coronavirus pandemic).

3. Make plans, but be willing to adapt.

Taking even a short trip during a pandemic means confirming whether locations are open, changed their hours of operation, or set limits on how many people can visit at any given time. Call ahead to find out if, for example, that museum you had your eye on is open or whether you can dine in that wonderful café you’ve heard so much about. Keep in mind that availability can change quickly if an area or business experiences an outbreak. Stay up to date on state travel restrictions, including mask requirements.

4. Bring home a taste of vacation.

If the coronavirus pandemic put a dream trip to another part of the world on hold, consider bringing that part of the world to your home. For example, if you can’t travel to Italy, research and create an authentic Italian dish and drinks for you and your family. Play some traditional Italian music during the meal. You might even splurge on some décor or other items imported from your original vacation destination. When not in Rome? Ship it home.

5. Enjoy the great outdoors in your backyard.

If you need some outdoor time but prefer staying close to home, consider hosting some family-fun backyard activities. Get the evening started with a barbecue, gather around the firepit, or do some stargazing on a clear night. It can also be a great excuse to teach your children or grandchildren some basics about astronomy. Point out the various stars and planets and ask if anyone can identify the constellations. And if you have binoculars or a telescope, take a closer look at the moon. Then cap off the night with some s’mores or other tasty treats cooked on your grill.

1 “Always (and Never) Out of Office: Why Two-Thirds of Professionals Aren’t Taking Time Off in 2020, But Should,” LinkedIn, July 27, 2020.