7 Budget staycations for summer 2020

How to make the most of your summer under the current circumstances.
Published May 27, 2020

Has the loss of a traditional vacation left you feeling stranded and unsure of summer plans? These ideas will inspire you to plan the staycation of your dreams — for yourself or your family — without breaking the bank.


1. Take a culinary trip around the world


Create a brand-new cultural experience by cooking up the vacation of your dreams in the comfort of your own home. This can take the form of a single meal or you can extend the theme for an entire vacation’s worth of time. Take the time to research authentic recipes, using travel and cookbooks, magazines, and blogs. If the recipe calls for unfamiliar ingredients, try sourcing them from specialty shops — many are willing to ship directly to your doorstep. You can amp up the vacation vibe by listening to music and decorating your home in the style of your chosen travel destination.


2. Make a dream vacation mood board


It might not seem like it on the surface, but creating a mood board and being on vacation share several of the same emotional benefits. Both activities inspire new ways of thinking, help to relieve anxiety and will leave you feeling more emotionally in-tune with yourself and your goals. Old magazines and books, travel brochures, and postcards are an inspiring place to start — you can focus on a single destination or create a mood board dedicated to several different places on your travel bucket list. Place the finished mood board in a place that’s visible to you on a daily basis and add updates as your travel inspiration changes.  


3. Go on a camping trip — at home!


If you miss sleeping under the stars and toasting marshmallows over an open fire, why not recreate the experience of camping at home? Pitch a tent in the backyard and spend a night or two doing all of the things you love most about camping — with the added bonus of a washroom close by! No backyard? No problem! Set up a tent or, better yet, make a blanket fort with your family that the whole family can sleep in. Whether you’re in the backyard or in the living room, make the experience as authentic as possible by enjoying your favourite camping food, telling ghost stories, and sleeping in sleeping bags. 


4. Get to know your inner sommelier 


If you can’t stop streaming wine and sommelier-centred content online, why not take the opportunity to learn all about the wine from a specific growing region? From the Bordeaux region of France to Canadian wineries in the Niagara Peninsula and Okanagan Valley, there’s a wine-growing region for every taste and every budget. If wine doesn’t hold your interest try venturing into the world of regional spirits, aperitifs, digestifs, dessert wines, and beer. Take advantage of free virtual tours of both vineyards and wineries, many of which feature interviews with local winemakers and sommeliers. For even more guidance, check to see if your local post-secondary institution offers an online continuing studies program in wine education. 


5. Host a family movie night 


Bring some movie theatre magic into your home by hosting an extra-special movie night for your family. Create movie tickets using an online template or store-bought perforated raffle tickets and hand them out to your family members ahead of time. Make a big batch of air-popped popcorn (check out these suggestions for healthy popcorn toppings) and set out an assortment of movie theatre snacks for your family to choose from. 


6. Explore the world of stargazing


It’s a myth that amateur astronomers need special equipment to view the stars. In fact, you don’t need a telescope to get started! The only requirements are a pair of eyes and a planisphere (also known as a star wheel), an inexpensive and helpful tool for establishing which constellations are visible with the naked eye at different times throughout the year. If you live in a densely populated area you may wish to avoid light pollution by travelling beyond city limits for better visibility. 


7. Plant a garden


Gardening is an efficient way to alleviate stress, through both physical exertion and the act of following through with a task. The satisfaction that comes from watching your hard work grow and blossom is infectious, making it a fun and educational activity for the whole family. If you lack outdoor space, make use of indoor planters, flower pots and hanging baskets — many plants thrive indoors as long as they receive adequate sunlight and water.