The bad news: Many of us aren’t completely comfortable traveling in a plane, car or train and staying overnight in a hotel right now.
The reality: We all need time off to relax, forget about “real” life and get out of our routine. (Plus, that PTO won’t use itself.)
The good news: With a little imagination and planning, you can create a vacation vibe in your home or apartment to provide the mental break you need.
Try this step-by-step guide to turn your home into the vacation of your dreams — and feel free to improvise. After all, this is your vacation, so do what leaves you feeling the most refreshed and clear-minded.
A theme can bring everything together. For example, if you dream of going to Hawaii, you could eat pineapple, drink mai tais, listen to ukulele music, learn to hula, decorate with plumeria and a monstera plant, and go canoeing or surfing, if those are accessible to your home. If you have a deck, put a lounge chair outside and read a book under an umbrella.
If you have a guest bedroom, make it feel luxurious and sleep there. If you don’t have a spare room, spruce up your current bedroom. Buy some high thread count sheets or new pillows, and be sure everything is fresh-from-the-dryer and fluffed. “At home, I place two comforters inside of one duvet cover for that extra fluff and softness,” says Katina Jongezoon, brand manager for Guatemala’s Casa Palopó. “I also use large pillows and a decorative throw to create that hotel vibe.” Love camping? Consider sleeping outside or turning your living room into a “tent” by draping a sheet.
Author and interior designer Candace Osmond suggests rearranging your furniture and wall art to create a new vibe. Maybe that candle in the bathroom is perfect in your living room when combined with the painting from your kid’s bedroom. Clearly you don’t have to buy new décor unless you want to; otherwise, repurpose things from around your house to create a different vibe.
Consider getting some higher-end, great smelling shampoo, conditioner, body wash and bath bombs. Put them in a basket in your bathroom. Be sure your towels are freshly laundered and hanging nicely and maybe put out some bubble bath or Epsom salts for a relaxing soak in the tub. Wrapping up in a cozy robe afterward. (Wash it with fabric softener to make it extra fluffy, says Grand Residences Riviera Cancun’s spa manager Arelli Soriano.) and enjoying a glass of wine or cup of tea can extend the “I’m not really at home” feel.
“When you open the door or walk into a spa, the first sense that is stimulated is smell,” Soriano explains. “Recreating this at home, you can use candles, incense or aroma diffusers of your favorite scents.” Fresh flowers also appeal to both your nose and your eyes.
Play music or natural sounds of your ideal destination. Was your trip to Paris canceled? Find a playlist of “French cafe” songs. Dream of letting the beach whisk away all your worries? Cue up some ocean waves on Spotify or a relaxation app.
To feel like you’re not walking into your house if you leave and come back during your at-home vacation, spruce up your outdoor patio or porch, suggests interior designer Caitlyn Davidian, who serves on the advisory board for Home Life Digest. “It can be as easy as getting an outdoor/indoor rug that is comfortable to walk on,” she says, or string some white lights up. No porch? Then focus on your entrance. “Create an elegant arrival experience by using an entrance table or design hall console. Place your favorite fresh-cut flowers in a large vase there,” says Jacu Strauss, creative director of Lore Group, who’s personally responsible for the design at Pulitzer Amsterdam. Lastly, for studio apartment dwellers or anyone who doesn’t have the space or budget to add more, Davidian suggests using a nice candle to create a different aroma and atmosphere.
The purpose of vacation is to relax. So set up an out-of-office reply for your work email, turn off any notifications on your phone and let friends and family know you are on vacation so they only reach out if something is urgent. If you work from home, hide any signs of work: Put your laptop and papers in a drawer where you won’t see them, and if you have a desk or work station, transform it as much as you can. A big vase of flowers can not only hide things but make everything look happier.
Start off your staycation with a welcome summer mocktail.
Trying different cuisines is one of the perks of traveling. You may want to look up cultural recipes and cook yourself. Or you could research a new restaurant or your favorite local one, order delivery and call it room service.
“Staying home doesn’t mean staying in your house,” Osmond says. “Become a tourist of your hometown, state or province. Go to galleries, beaches, hiking trails or whatever else you can think of.” If you go somewhere outdoors, hike a new path or head to a part of the beach or park you don’t normally visit. Or if you prefer to go to a place you frequent, take in every sight, sound and smell like you’ve never been there before. You can even walk or bike your neighborhood, going in new directions and down new streets.
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