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Top 10 Staycation and ‘Local Travel’ Ideas

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Here's why you should be considering a Staycation as travel restricts are lifted.

As we all try to return to some sense of normalcy, that doesn’t include international travel at this point. However, as many states and provinces start to lift restrictions, people are looking to cure their cabin fever and get back into the great outdoors.

What to do?

A Staycation is the most responsible way right now to explore and still get the travel bug out of your system. The best part is, with families choosing to spend their time and money locally instead of abroad, that also means a jumpstart to the economy.  

What is a Staycation? It’s like a vacation but sticking around your local area code. It could be as close as your backyard, or as far as the outskirts of town, but it focuses on staying in the local area.

‘Local Travel’ will get you out of the house and support your city’s small businesses at the same time, it’s a win/win.  Here are the top 10 ways to have an awesome Staycation, all while supporting the local businesses that need your help.

*because certain cities, states and provinces may still have social distancing, closures, and travel restrictions in place, make sure you know the rules in your area before planning your Staycation.

Top 10 Staycation Ideas for Local Travel

staycation ideas for local travel

1. Picnic – with takeout from a local restaurant

do a family picnic on a staycation

If you want to stay in your own backyard, but need to get outside, try hosting a family picnic using take-out from a local restaurant. Bonus points if the restaurant is independent and not a chain.

Set up a fun and comfy outdoor area, order a big meal for delivery or pick-up, and get the family together for an afternoon of eating and enjoying each other’s company.

To make it even more of a travel-type experience, order food from an international restaurant like Ethiopian or Korean and make a theme picnic out of it. You might even have some items in your house to decorate your outdoor space in the colors of that particular country or region.

2. Spend the Night in a Local Hotel

stay at a local hotel in your city

Once your local hotels, motels and BnB’s are open and ready for guests, book a night or a weekend in one of their rooms. For this to be a unique local stay, only spend the night with independent establishments and skip the huge chains. Locally owned places are usually filled with charm, while big brand chains all kind of look the same anyway.

There might be a hotel you’ve driven past for years and have always been curious about. Look them up online, learn about their health/safety protocols and book a room!

By the way – some independent hotels offer locals special rates, so make sure to ask!

3. Go to Local Farmers Markets

visit a farmers market - staycation ideas

Many farmers markets are already open and desperately need patrons to return. Grab your facemask and head down to your local farmers market.

Not only will you find some hyper-local produce, but you can re-stock your pantry with canned goods, natural products, and in-season finds.

Plus, you’ll find some really cool things to spend your money on that you can’t find on Amazon. It will be such a nice break from online shopping.

While you’re at the farmers market, learn more about the sellers. Ask about their other products and services, if they have a website, if they do custom orders or delivery, and see if there is an opportunity for you to support them in the future.

4. Outdoor Movie Night… with a twist

host on outdoor movie night with local snacks

Raise your hand if you’ve spent WAY too much time indoors lately!

Instead of doing the normal Netflix marathon on the couch, take it outside for a movie night under the stars. But here is where you will take it to the next level:

Watch a film that was made in your city or country and serve snacks that were made or produced locally.

For example: I could watch the movie ‘One Week’ with Joshua Jackson about a road trip across Canada, and eat locally made artisan crackers, with BC fruit spreads, and wine from a Kelowna vineyard.

It could be as simple as pitching a modest tent with a laptop, or you could go full out with a projection system. If you do need to rent or buy any equipment, make sure to call your local electronic store instead of a chain box store.

5. Family Cooking Night – with all local ingredients

have a family cooking night using only local ingredients

Make a whole evening out of this! Find a recipe, again bonus points if it’s foreign cuisine, and have fun prepping, cooking, and eating a new dish. To make it truly a ‘Staycation’ experience, make sure to ONLY use locally grown ingredients. If you live in an area that truly doesn’t have a good enough selection, at least try and buy the ingredients at a small market, local mom and pop shop or speciality food store.

Living in both Sinaloa and British Columbia, I have a ton of fresh, locally grown produce and grains available all throughout the year. The possibilities for cooking a meal with only locally grown ingredients are endless!

If you are unsure of how to find what is grown locally, ask your grocer! Most stores have placards on the items that are locally grown, or even a special section of the store dedicated to it. Supporting local and ‘travelling’ through food is such a great Staycation activity.

6. At Home Spa Day 

have an at home spa day - travel local

Nothing says Staycation quite like a spa day!
While many spas are not open yet, many have adapted their business model slightly to make some extra income while they wait for business to return to normal.

Many spas and salons are selling kits for doing your own spa day at home by packaging their favorite products with instruction booklets. We’ve seen hair salons package up deep conditioning treatments, massage parlours selling massage oil kits, and spas selling kits including face masks, bubble baths, and pedicure kits.

Make an entire spa day itinerary using kits from local shops, or even with products that are local to your area. Go full out with bathrooms, spa music, essential oils, herbal tea, and your preferred treatments. Don't forget the cucumbers!

7. Go Golfing – or another outdoor activity with good social distancing

go golfing - social distance activities

Many golf courses have already re-opened and established new social distancing protocols that make it a fun and safe way to spend the day out of the house. 

Even if you're no Tiger Woods, go for the fun of it!

8. Take a Tour of your City

take a tour in your own city - staycation ideas

Self-guided or with a licensed local guide, taking a tour of your city is a great Staycation activity. 

Sometimes we tend to take where we live for granted, and we stop noticing all the amazing things right under our nose. To get re-inspired by what's in your own backyard, take some time to map out a self-guided tour of your city, or find a local professional who can help. 

This is a great way to start appreciating where you live in a whole new light! I promise you will learn a ton of new things and enjoy seeing your city through the curious eyes of a tourist. 

9. Visit a LOCAL Park

visit a local park - staycation ideas

The whole idea of travelling locally by having a Staycation is to explore the places closest to you. Take the opportunity to visit a park, preferably in your neighbourhood, but for sure in your city. 

This does not mean travelling out of county in order to tour through the nearest provincial or state park, but instead finding green space in your own community and spending some time there. 

Some local park ideas include: outdoor workout, meditation, reading a book, picnic lunch, hike, or even photography. 

10. Backyard Camping

camp out in your backyard while you cant travel

Many state and provincial parks are still closed for over-night visitors (or open with many restrictions) so in the meantime, your Staycation can happen in the comfort of your own backyard. 

Pitch a tent, roll out the sleeping bags, and make a mini-camping trip in your own yard!

Most Importantly…

Remember to leave reviews for the local businesses you visit and support during your staycation. Publishing a well-thought out review on Google Maps, TripAdvisor, Facebook and Yelp can really help give small businesses the exposure and promotion they need right now.