C*vid Staycation

Remember back in April, we were all so hopeful saying things like "when this is all over". Well here we are, 6+ months later and nothing is over. Travel plans have been put on hold indefinitely and it's expected that borders will stay closed well into 2021. Fear not, you don't need a tropical beach or quaint European city to take a much needed break, you can plan an amazing staycation! Although it's no white, sandy Hawaiian beach, it can be enjoyable and rejuvenating just the same.

Let's start with some tips. We need to treat our staycation the same way we would treat a vacation, so keep these things in mind: 1. Stay in the vacation mindset - This is a vacation, that means no work. If you were in the Bahamas or on an Alaskan cruise you wouldn't be checking your email or taking phone calls, so don't allow those things to creep in just because you are at home. This is time to relax and recharge, proximity to work does not grant access to you all day, everyday.

2. Plan it out - Staycation should be no different than any other vacation. Set the dates, a budget and itinerary. This is especially important if you are still someone who is working from home. You need a clear beginning and clear ending otherwise time will meld together. If your staycation is Monday to Friday, stick to that. Monday morning you are off the clock and Friday evening you are 'back home'. Plan days out for fancy dinners or activities (excursions) you want to do during the week. Making a plan will help this feel less like just lazing around the house for a week and more like intentional relaxation time.

3. Unplug - Use this as an opportunity to get off your phone, off your computer and say goodbye to the tv for a while. Look up and acknowledge that there is a beautiful world around you to enjoy! 4. Make a budget - You’re saving money on flights and hotels so its okay to splurge a little on other things. Set a reasonable budget for the week to enjoy some local sights or a meal at that super fancy restaurant you’ve been wanting to go to. As with any vacation, it’s important that you stick to your budget! 5. Clean your house - You aren’t cleaning because you have to clean, you’re cleaning because you deserve to exist in a clean space. Before any vacation we tend to deep clean our homes and this should be no different. Yes you will still be living there and existing in that space, but enjoying a freshly cleaned home during your staycation will make it feel all that much more relaxing.

We’ve prepped and cleaned and planned, so now what are you going to do with all that free time?

Book an overnight - We live in Southern Ontario so there's tons of desirable locations within

a few hours of us –– Niagara Falls, Muskoka/Kawartha Lakes, Collingwood and Stratford. Do a little google search and find some quaint small towns or fun big cities near you and plan an overnight at a hotel or b&b. You never know if you'll stumble upon an incredible restaurant, discover a beautiful hiking trail or maybe even find yourself a new favourite getaway spot! Have a theme night - We won't be travelling to Italy or Greece anytime soon but that doesn't have to stop us from bringing Italy or Greece to us! Try your hand at cooking a traditional dish, honey & baklava from Greece, antipasto platter from Italy or empanadas from Mexico. Choose a traditional game or themed movie and maybe even brainstorm a few decor ideas to really set the mood. You'll be transported across the globe without ever having to leave your home! Plan a day trip - Throughout the pandemic we've loved taking day trips to explore new hiking locations. We discovered two new trails that we absolutely love! Now if you're not very outdoorsy or weather does not permit, you can always explore a new town or even just drive a little further than normal for a meal. Find somewhere you've never been within an hour or two of home and take the day to wander, adventure and enjoy a brand new place.

Take advantage of exploring your hometown - We often take for granted the beauty right under our nose. I grew up in Niagara Falls, Ontario so the downtown 'tourist' spot was one to be avoided. The falls were old news and it was more of a hassle than anything spending time with the crowds. That being said, if there was any time to explore your own hometown now would be it! You likely have a lot less tourist traffic and you can take the time to appreciate the beauty that you are blessed to live near. Play tourist and explore all those tourist traps, take tons of photos and enjoy a day doing something a little different. The outlook on travel isn't a great one, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy adventure, exploration and new experiences in the meantime. I encourage you to take advantage of this time stuck being a local and enjoy all your location has to offer. With a little research and a little effort this pandemic can be sprinkled with fun and happy memories.

” The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust