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10 Ideas to Create a Memorable Staycation this Winter

By Pam Dewey • February 11, 2021

While the pandemic continues, most people are putting travel plans on hold. A beach destination might be out of the question, but that doesn’t mean you should forgo a vacation. With everything happening in the world, you probably need a break more than ever.

Finding a place to relax and unwind at home can be complicated now — especially since our homes also serve as our conference rooms, classrooms and gyms.

Have no fear. Here are 10 ideas to create a relaxing and memorable staycation this winter.

Set “Out-of-Office” Notifications on Your Work Email

The line between work and home has gotten razor-thin lately. If you’re truly going to have a relaxing vacation, you need to disconnect from the office entirely. So set “out-of-office” notifications on your email, and let your coworkers know you’ll be unreachable for next however-many-days.

Clean and Declutter First

It’s hard to relax if your house or apartment is a mess. Before you start your vacation, clean your bathroom, do your laundry, clean off your surfaces and wash your sheets. Don’t leave any chores that will have to be completed while you’re on vacation.

Invest in Luxurious Touches

Since you’re not spending money on airfare and hotels, use that cash to invest in some luxuries for your home. That could mean upgrading your sheets, buying fresh flowers, ordering fancy candles or picking up a good bottle of champagne. Or you could fill pitchers with water and cut fruit like they do at a spa. Think about what you enjoy most about staying at a nice hotel, and invest a little money in recreating it at home. 

Give Yourself a Spa Day

Few things are more relaxing than a day at the spa. Spend a day doing things like soaking in the tub, doing a mask, painting your nails or giving yourself a blowout. Or hang out in your robe all day. Take care of your body and unwind.

Recreate the Tastes and Sights of Your Favorite Vacation Destination

You may not be able to visit New Orleans, but you can order beignet mix from Café Du Monde. Or maybe you are longing for a trip to Paris. The Louvre, along with many other museums, is doing virtual tours. You might also be craving your favorite dishes from David Chang’s NYC restaurant Momofuku or the bakery Milk Bar. You can order many Momofuku dishes or Milk Bar treats online. You could also set up a hammock inside and drink margaritas to recreate your favorite beach destination vibes.

Plan a Board Game Day

Dust off your board games, cribbage board or trusty deck of cards, and have a board game day with your family or housemates. If you live alone, play virtual games with family and friends. Jackbox Games offers various games for 1-8 players, which you can stream on a smartphone, tablet, video game console or computer.

Go for a Hike

Winter in Minnesota means snow, ice and frosty temperatures. But you can still go exploring if you bundle up properly. Bust out the long underwear, grab your mittens and dig out those snow boots. Then hit your favorite state park. The good news is, the cold temperatures mean you’ll likely encounter fewer people.

Step up Your Movie Night Experience

You’re probably tired of scrolling through your Netflix queue. A staycation presents the perfect chance to step up your movie night game. You could invest in a projector and a screen. There are plenty of reasonably priced options available. You could also create a themed night: think a cocktail and menu that pairs with your movie of choice. Make pasta and grab a bottle of wine for “Goodfellas,” or drink cosmos and eat sushi for a “Sex in the City” movie night. You could also plan a movie marathon and pair a course with each movie.

Order in from that Fancy Restaurant

Do you have a nice restaurant you’ve wanted to try, but keep talking yourself out of it? Staycation is the perfect opportunity to indulge. Many restaurants are currently offering pickup or delivery options, or you can have items delivered through apps like Bitesquad or Postmates. Take out a nice tablecloth and the good china, and turn your dining room into a cozy cafe.

Enjoy a New Hobby

Whatever hobby you’ve been itching to try, now is the time! Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to draw or can never seem to find the time to work on craft projects. You might also want to learn how to cook like a chef. The American Swedish Institute offers virtual Nordic handcraft workshops, as well as Nordic cooking workshops. Gavin Kaysen, the James Beard award-winning chef of Spoon and Stable, is also offering virtual cooking classes. There are also a variety of free online drawing classes.

A winter staycation might be what you need to take a mental break from work and the stress of the ongoing pandemic. Treat yourself to a few out-of-the-ordinary treats, try something new or pretend you’re at the Louvre in Paris. Whatever you do, take care of yourself and relax.