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Every year, many people put aside their work, daily stresses and responsibilities and escape on a vacation, somewhere far away from reality. It may be a secluded retreat in the mountains, or days relaxing at an exotic beach or resort. However, with the pandemic including social distancing, travel restrictions, and financial constraints, those plans may have to be shelved. But the desire to escape reality is very much alive. So, with many people remaining in their homes, how can that off-work journey happen? We have some tips for making the best of the situation and creating vacation memories without leaving home. It’s called a staycation.
What’s a staycation?
A staycation is, quite simply, a vacation at home. How realistic, how exciting, or how relaxing you make it is up to you. Theme it up for a more authentic “away-from-home” experience.
What makes a great staycation? Well, that depends on what you consider a vacation. Some people want adventure, while others like relaxing with a drink in their hand. Still others use vacation time to unwind by tackling DIY projects such as renovations. So, what would you enjoy doing if you could craft your own staycation? (Which, by the way, you can.)
Commit to it
Once you’ve decided to schedule a staycation – whatever it ends up being – commit to it. Mark it on your calendar. Plan for it. Make concrete plans. Research for the top tips for your staycation. If you’re working, ask for those days off of work. Don’t just say you’re going to have a vacation and spend the weekend lounging on the sofa, noshing on Cheetos and surfing the internet, unless a week of rest is the staycation you’ve planned.
Whenever you’re going for vacation in your home – especially in these times when so many of us are working from home – try to unplug so your mind’s not on work and responsibilities. It’s especially important to take time off from work when you are working from home. Set your work email to the “out of office” setting and write an auto-reply message. Then, don’t check your work emails unless absolutely necessary. Consider NOT telling your boss that you’re vacationing at home. Turn your cell phone off or on silent, and set a small window of time each day to check for email messages.
Skip the news. The idea is to get away from stress, away from reality. Just concentrate on your vacation experience. The news cycle can wait for a week. Really, it can. This is the time to be good to yourself.
Prepare for your staycation much like you’d prep for any other vacation. Create your itinerary. Decide what kind of activities you would like to do each day of your vacation. What kind of staycation would you like? Cultural learning, straight-up fun, pampering, relaxing? Write your vacation goals down, and then make a game plan. Don’t want to cook while on vacation? Gather menus from local restaurants that deliver, and have them on hand. You could even incorporate different restaurants into the theme of your vacation.
Before your official vacation start time, do all the necessary prep work. Complete all chores in advance. Wash the dishes, dust, pay the bills, scrub the toilets, empty the trash. Do the laundry BEFORE your staycation begins. You don’t really want to be sorting and folding while on vacation, do you?
Set the Mood for your Staycation
Many people have saved money in anticipation of an annual vacation to pay for things like hotel rooms, meals, plane tickets and a rental car. Why not channel some of those funds into your at-home vacation paradise?
Create your staycation space – really, truly, set up a space that exudes the theme of your vacation. Move the furniture, change the lighting, order pillows, fairy lights or scented candles – whatever your theme is, run with it. Look at magazines or online trip websites for inspiration. Think about the destination you want. Paradise under the palms? Set up a piña colada or margarita station at home. Roll up the rugs and go barefoot like you’re on the beach. Set up a hammock between backyard trees or on your back porch.
Dreaming of a mountain retreat? Set out pine-scented candles and decorate the room with cottage home decor. Plan for any purchases you’ll need for your staycation. Does your week require some relaxing pillows, aromatherapy candles, a tent or hammock? Dreaming of an overseas vacation? Hit the international foods section of your grocery and stock up on items from that region to set the mood. Planning a spa retreat week? Buy a set of high-thread-count sheets, a couple of luxurious pillows, scented bath salts, essential oils, and a super-soft robe.
To make your staycation ambiance even more realistic, you can make a vacation soundtrack with music that reminds you of that particular place, or perhaps a past favorite vacation that you’d like to recreate. Going to the beach in your mind? Ramp up some Jimmy Buffet music. Missing that trip to Brazil this summer? Make your own compilation of Brazilian favorites including the likes of Roberto Carlos or Anitta. Or, queue up some internet music mixes.
Think about your favorite luxury hotel amenities and try to replicate some of those special touches at your own staycation. Love peppermints or chocolates on your pillows? Do it. How about a fruit basket, or a water pitcher of cold spring water infused with the subtle flavor and inviting look of cut fruit? Make it happen. This is all about helping you feel like you’re somewhere else.
How about a pampering week, helping you release all the stress that’s built up this year? Consider a self-care “getaway” with a spa day, a YouTube yoga session, or a self-manicure. Start a journal of self-discovery. Draw a warm bubble bath, adding some calming essential oils like lavender or chamomile. Slip into the welcoming suds as you relax your mind and body. Soft music and candles invite you to soak away the stress. Then, wrap yourself up in the soft hug of a luxurious robe. This vacation is all about being good to yourself.
Retail Therapy Weekend
If you have money saved up that you won’t spend on a vacation this summer and miss shopping, you may want to arrange a retail therapy staycation. Curl up on the sofa with a glass of wine and start online shopping. You could budget what you had already set aside for your anticipated actual vacation, and spend some of that money, or just “window-shop” and dream from the comfort of your favorite recliner.
Plan Future Vacations
You can’t travel much right now, but the future is wide open. You’ve been staring at your walls for quite a while now, longing to escape. Why not start that escape, at least in your mind? Begin planning your post-pandemic dream holiday or road trip (or plane trip). There’s no time like the present to ponder where you’d like to visit – start with the continent or country, and narrow it down from there. Search online for destinations, hotels and fun activities. Jot them down and start planning for next year.
Look online for interesting destinations and then start searching for places you can stay, like at hotels or bed and breakfast inns. What kind of activities can you participate in while there? Plan who will take care of your home, pets, how you will get to the airport, and even whether you will need airport parking when you get there. The things that usually stress you will be all figured out. There are plenty of online resources online, like travelbinger, that will make this task easier. Take notes, plan your budget, and work out the details so when it’s time to fly the pandemic coop, you’ll have all your ducks in a row for your next adventure.
Cook a fancy dinner
The internet is filled with how-to-cook videos. Zero in on one and cook that meal and impress your spouse or family. See if you can find fanciful foods that fit into the theme of your staycation. Or, ask your family to pamper you and cook (including doing the dishes.). You can also sign up for delivered meal preparation kits. These kits arrive at your doorstep with all of the ingredients, already prepped, along with step-by-step directions. You’ll feel like a professional chef in no time.
You may be someone who just needs to chill for a vacation. Vacations don’t always have to be about excitement and activity. Sometimes, you just need peace and quiet to de-stress from life. Create your zen vacation in a quiet place of your home – make it off limits to children (if you have them). Then, unplug your clocks or put them in the closet so you can’t see them. Turn off your phone, put on earphones (if there’s house noise you can’t block out) and just…chill.
Go camping for your staycation – for a night, a week, or somewhere in between – you choose. Set up a tent in the backyard, complete with sleeping bags and camp lights. Don’t forget the mosquito repellent or citronella candles. Pack up snacks in bags for a more authentic experience, and string lights in the trees or at the top of the tent for some extra ambiance.
Snag a couple of bags of ice from the store and fill a cooler with food and drinks to keep with the campout theme. Cook your meals on a grill, or have a fire pit if regulations allow. Roast marshmallows or craft s’mores. Tell stories around the fire. Stay up too late and laugh too much.
If your idea of camping is closer to glamping, or you don’t have a backyard, then move things indoors. Set up a tent or have your kids create a tent by hanging sheets and other fabrics in clever ways. Unleash your children’s creativity with tent-making – they know how to make the best tents and forts. Set up your indoor camping ambiance with flashlights and flameless candles for light sources. Eat from paper plates and make s’mores in the microwave. Search for a campfire video to play on your TV.
Have a family costume night or a themed party during your staycation. Challenge your kids to dress up as their favorite movie character, singer, or superhero, using clothes, props and supplies already in your home.
Love watching movies? Build a staycation around that. Have a themed movie marathon. Each family member picks a movie that you all watch, or you could categorize movies, like comedies, animation, action or another genre. Don’t forget the popcorn. Plan ahead and surprise your “movie audience” with their favorite movie theater candy and sodas.
Romantic Night in
Try to set up a cozy, romantic room or patio area to enjoy a night in with your loved one. Group candles around your backyard. Flameless candles are great and there’s no fire hazard. Set up a hammock or pillows or some other way to relax. Chill a bottle of wine, soda or whatever happens to be your favorite beverage. Make up a cheese tray. It can be fancy, or it can be laid-back. Pour a bag of chips into a bowl if that’s your style. Set the perfect mood for a romantic staycation. Play some music, relax, and kickback.
Many people love to travel to new locations and learn about culture, architecture, art, languages, food, and more. The opportunity to learn something new during your staycation is limited only by your imagination.
Because of the pandemic, many museums now offer free virtual tours. Spend days in the Louvre, or take an interactive tour of Mark Twain’s house. Visit zoos virtually, or set up Zoom meetings with friends or relatives in different countries so you can practice conversing in a foreign language.
Travel the world for free using your local library card. Libraries have a wealth of e-books available to download from the library’s website onto your own device. Just pick them out and download, prop your feet up and escape into a mystery, thriller, romance, fantasy, or whatever genre you enjoy. Have your favorite beverage and snacks near your reading haven.
Take an online class on cooking, digital art, sewing, or something that intrigues you. This is your staycation. If your goal is to spend more time outdoors, consider starting a new flower or vegetable garden or a compost pile. Set up a rain barrel water collection system, making use of the rainwater rolling off your roof.
You can even make it a learning vacation for your pet. Learn how to teach your pet tricks or a new skill, like sniffing out smells. Or, just chill with your cuddly cat on your lap. For some, that’s a heavenly vacation.
For those who would rather “do” than chill, spend your staycation time learning a new craft. Clear out your schedule and spend that time really digging into whatever it is you want to learn. Use budgeted summer vacation money to order acrylic or oil paints, modeling clay, mosaics or stained glass supplies, whatever strikes your fancy, and learn a new skill you’ll maintain long after your staycation is over.
Renovate a Space in your Home
For those who need to be active during vacations, think about a renovation vacation. Since you’ve been home so much the last two months, no doubt you’ve zeroed in on a corner or a room of your house that’s begging for an update or a redo. Your construction project can make the whole family feel involved and useful. Repaint the kitchen and add a backsplash or replace the flooring. Update your bedroom, adding new curtains or blinds. Turn that depressing basement into a new game room, guest room or home office. Browse among the DIY articles from professionals for inspiration and guidance.
Whatever your stay-at-home vacation fantasy is, try to make it happen. This pandemic won’t last forever, and the vacation you take this summer, at your own home, may just spark some of the best memories ever. Don’t forget to take photos!
For more ideas visit porch.com
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Some of us are ready to be pampered. We want to check out of our daily routine and shut out the worries. We want everything taken care of for a day or two. You don’t have to run off to a big city that may or may not be open for business: Nashville’s new luxury hotel, The Joseph, is the kind of place you’ll check into and won’t want to leave until they make you check out. I spent one day and night in the hotel and I can promise you, I’ll be checking in again.
Located in the heart of downtown's SoBro district, a short walk from Music City Center and the Nashville Symphony, smaller music venues and a lot of local flair, The Joseph is ideally placed for immersing yourself in what draws tourists from around the world to Music City. But if like most of our readers you aren’t a tourist, the real draw isn’t what’s near The Joseph, it’s what’s in its bubble of luxury.
As part of their visit, guests can connect with iconic tastemakers through signature experiences unique to The Joseph, such as a bespoke boot designing session with premier leathery Lucchese in their VIP design studio. The relationship with Lucchese is built into the unique style of this beautiful hotel: the front desk is faced with a leather sculptural cover, which represents hundreds of hours of hand-tooling by Lucchese craftsmen.
The lobby of The Joseph Hotel Nashville, featuring the Lucchese leather front desk.
The hotel’s main restaurant, Yolan, helmed by Beard Award-winning chef Tony Mantuano and wine and hospitality expert Cathy Mantuano, is truly an experience. Plan to go and stay a while, enjoying one of their tasting menus, paired with their wonderful selection of wines for every budget. The menu indulges every appetite with its house-made and delicately crafted pastas, meat and seafood prepared with finesse, rare specialty ingredients and local produce. I had the eight-course tasting menu (truly a deal at its price, as it gives you a ranging overview of the cuisine), and for every plate I couldn’t finish, I found myself authentically apologizing for not cleaning my plate to an attentive staff who wanted to make sure I was enjoying my food. I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.
Yolan - a restaurant in The Joseph Hotel Nashville.
Even if you aren’t staying, visit Yolan: my dinner there was, hands-down, my favorite dining experience in Nashville in the last few years. If you work downtown, consider popping in for an exquisite breakfast or lunch. Did my Yolan lunch break serve up my favorite chicken sandwich of the quarantine? Oh yeah. And, for local foodies, in the near future, Yolan will offer a regular “King of Cheese” experience—the ceremonial cutting of a perfectly aged, 80-pound wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano, where they’ll share an aperitivo with the Mantuanos while they impart little-known techniques behind producing the cheese and its historical significance.
The luxuriously appointed rooms have fabulous guest beds and bathrooms, with bigger suites including record players and curated vinyl collections, minibars and matching robes. You’ll no doubt find your room immensely relaxing.
At the grand piano in one of the suites at The Joseph Hotel. Photo by Cody Stallings.
But the true relaxation happens on the roof. Relax by or in the rooftop pool, with a snack and a craft cocktail from the adjoining casual rooftop lounge, Denim.
The rooftop pool adjoining Denim - a restaurant at The Joseph Hotel Nashville.
Or, if you are truly ready for a pampering, across the way from Denim you’ll find Rose, described as The Joseph’s epicenter of wellness, a 5,500-square-foot spa and salon. Every service at Rose begins with a foot scrub and soak in an oversized copper tub with signature rose-infused botanicals. Rose’s many services include a highly sought Biologique Recherche Remodeling Face Machine, steam rooms with ice fountains for an invigorating hot/cold enhancement and multi-sensory experience showers. An adjoining 1,500-square-foot fitness center includes hi-tech equipment and captivating skyline views.
Rose - the spa in The Joseph Hotel Nashville.
My husband and I enjoyed 90-minute holistic massages. Confession time: I don’t like to be touched by strangers. I know, I know … who believes that? But it’s true. My experience at the hands of Rose’s therapist was exquisite, comfortable, and seemed to fly by so fast I wished there was an 180-minute option!
Unfortunately, not all of Rose’s services are currently available. The Joseph is intimately attentive to public health concerns, from valets who wipe down the surfaces of your car they touch with antibacterial wipes, to social distancing in the restaurants, to rooms where surfaces are carefully sanitized. Heck, their upcoming speakeasy will be serving bar snacks in packages opened at your table! I have not felt so safe away from home since the beginning of the pandemic.
I don’t generally rave, but I LOVED The Joseph. No offense to the hotel, however, but Yolan was the star for me. No one who knows me will be surprised that a such a perfect dining experience would win my heart.
For more information, visit TheJosephNashville.com—and be sure to check out their package deals for the best values!
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