As effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to ripple, most of us are planning for a summer that will be quite different than the hot-weather seasons we are used to. With most types of travel still largely off limits, it’s looking like 2020 will be the Summer of Staycation. Read on for a few ideas about how to have a fun and enjoyable summer that won’t take you too far from home and won’t break the bank.
The United States is home to some of the world’s most scenic places to camp; and if you take appropriate precautions, camping is a safe and sensational way to enjoy a mini escape even when traditional travel isn’t possible. Firstly, be aware that some national parks and facilities are temporarily closed due to the virus. Check out www.nps.gov/coronavirus for updates from the National Park Service.
Once you’ve selected a location, it’s time to gather up your camping gear. Must-bring items include a tent or other form of shelter suited to the weather, sleeping bags and pads, flashlights, matches, sunscreen and a first aid kit. If you’re nervous about spending a lot of money on new equipment, consider finding a campground with more cooking, sleeping and hygiene facilities. Or – pitch camp in the backyard!
Learn Something New
Stave off the Summer Staycation boredom by committing yourself to a new learning goal. It might be playing a musical instrument, learning how to code, or training up your skills in a foreign language so that when travel is once again possible, you’ll be ready to visit your dream destination.
There are tons of apps you’ve probably never heard of that can help in your education endeavors. Duolingo is a great option for language learners, but you can also check out apps that teach you how to cook, how to improve your tech know-how, or how to get involved in the stock market. Platforms like Coursera, Khan Academy and even TED Talks are all great resources for comprehensive access to a range of educational materials.
Be a Tourist at Home
This summer, why not enjoy all the fun and excitement of travel, without the stress of actually getting from point A to point B? Pretending to be a tourist in your own town gives you the excuse to relax at home and finally enjoy all the local attractions we tend to overlook when they’re right around the corner.
While COVID-19 lockdowns have undoubtedly made playing tourist more difficult, you can still consider activities such as purchasing your city’s most famous local foods from a supermarket and having a family picnic, touring outdoor landmarks by bicycle, or reading up about local history and then driving by a few significant sites. Of course, be sure to check up-to-date health and safety information before you head out, and follow protocol from health officials including frequent handwashing and wearing a mask.
Summer Movie Club
With many people missing summer blockbuster season, now is the ideal time to start up a movie club with family and friends. Every week on a designated night, gather in person or virtually to view a film. Netflix Party or similar apps are essential, as they let everyone view a film together and chat while you’re watching, even if you’re not in the same place.
You can make your movie night even more fun and interactive with food, drinks and costumes themed around that week’s film. If kids are involved, get them to do some simple research about the setting or subject of the film, then share five facts they’ve learned. An at-home movie night isn’t the same as going to the cinema, but it’s certainly cheaper and as a bonus – you can spend the entire evening in your pajamas!
See the World Online
Following the coronavirus outbreak, a huge number of museums, zoos and tourism operators have begun offering virtual visits online. These web portals will transport you to the beaches of Barcelona, or inside the walls of the MOMA, or on a cross-continental journey through Africa, Asia and beyond.
To make your virtual travel feel like more of an adventure, make themed food and drink before you sitdown to your online explorations. And if you really want to get silly with it – a must when kids are involved – dress up in vacation-appropriate clothing and create your own green screen, then post “vacation pics” to social media.
Whatever you decide to do this summer, the most important thing is to stay safe and healthy. If you need extra help this season when it comes to finances or balancing your budget, be sure to keep up with HUECU for more blogs and resources.