5 staycation ideas to try at home

Transform your time at home into the ultimate staycation.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has swept across the globe in a matter of weeks, deeply impacting people’s lives and disrupting travel plans. More than 158 million Americans have been ordered to remain at home to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

This is an incredibly uncertain time, and all we can do is make the most out of an impossibly difficult situation. While wistfully scanning travel deals and checking out dreamy vacation rentals on apps like Vacasa’s is appealing, it can be hard to get excited about a vacation in the undetermined future.

Like many of us, you’re probably in need of something to look forward to right now. As experts on all things vacation, our team members at Vacasa created a list of staycation ideas to sprinkle some fun into your responsible stay-at-home time. After all, we’ve earned a solid break from reality at this point, haven’t we?


1. Virtual travel

Let’s be real: we’d love to be jet-setting right now, but it’s just not an option. While you’re anchored to your couch, explore virtual travel adventures that will make your living room feel like your personal paradise. Here’s a few of our favorites—and they’re all free:

Online oasis
This 90-minute video takes you through Kauai’s wild beauty—rolling cliffside mountains, lush rainforest, pristine beaches, and breathtaking waterfalls. You can almost feel the sand between your toes and smell hibiscus in the air. And, there’s even a 12-hour version if you’ve really got time to kill.

Rides for thrill-seekers
If amusement park rides that make your stomach flip are totally your thing, we’ve got you covered. Check out videos with full ride-throughs of top attractions like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Frozen Ever After, Pirates of the Caribbean, and more. You’ll feel like a member of the crowd—without any of the risk.

Monumental escapes
For the worldly travelers who make lists of can’t-miss attractions in every destination they visit, we love your style and have a few recommendations for you. Download Google’s Arts & Culture app to see some amazing museums, from The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., all the way to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Or, take a virtual tour through the Grand Canyon, courtesy of the National Park Service.


2. Pet playdate

In a recent study, we found that 59% of owners love to bring their dogs on trips—and of course, we agree that a vacation without Fido is no vacation at all.

On your dog-friendly staycation, kick up your feet and take your furry friend on a virtual playdate with animals across the country. The San Diego Zoo, and others of its kind, keep cameras trained on their animals, so you can appreciate their cuteness from afar and introduce your pet to new pals of different species. Fun fact: Mkhaya "Kaia" the elephant is the youngest of the bunch, and she weighed a record-breaking 281 pounds at birth!


3. Backyard staycation picnic

So, you can’t enjoy the patio at your favorite bar, or likely even the view from the park down the street. Instead, make your own yard an outdoor haven, where you can get a breath of fresh air and enjoy the breeze. String some lights from tree to tree (you can order some to be delivered!) to make your setting extra scenic, then lay out a blanket—and don’t forget to wash your hands. Throw some of these essentials in your basket:

  • Utensils, including a sharp knife
  • Plates
  • Napkins or wet wipes
  • Drinks—think ice-cold soda, or beer and wine
  • Cups or glasses
  • Bottle opener
  • Cutting board
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mustard, mayo, and/or any dips that may improve your meal of choice
  • Cookies, because you deserve them
  • Insect repellent
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • A good book


4. Virtual movie nights

Here’s one cinephiles will really love: virtual movie nights. Install the Netflix Party Google Chrome extension, choose the movie or TV show you’re dying to watch, invite friends via a unique URL, then voila, you’ll feel like you’re at the movie theater with your loved ones.

As you watch simultaneously, a group chat will appear on the right side of your screen, so you and your friends can crack jokes without drowning out the story.

Amazon Prime also lets you buy or rent new movies that would currently be in theaters—perfect for a family movie night on the couch.


5. Virtual game night

Thank goodness we exist in a tech-enabled era that allows us to spend quality time with friends and family while practicing social distancing. Whether you’re into FaceTime, Zoom, or Google Hangouts, you can host a fun virtual game night from the safety of your home. Here are a few game ideas that might be up your alley:

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