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An Expat Guide: Staycation Ideas for the Long Weekend
How to enjoy a holiday at home.
The long weekend is coming. Maybe you waited too long to book a trip and prices went too high. Maybe your budget wouldn’t allow for a weekend away. Maybe the idea of dealing with airports, airplanes, customs and luggage all while juggling the needs of small children just doesn’t sound like a holiday.
That’s no reason to hang around the house all weekend wishing for something to do. The weather is fine and the public holiday is a good excuse to try something a little different, whether you’re celebrating the miraculous journey of the prophet Muhammad with loved ones, or simply looking forward to an extra day away from work.
It’s staycation time. A staycation is a vacation from the comfort of your own home. It saves money and time and loads of travel stressors. A long weekend is the perfect occasion to test it out, to see how magic you can really make a staycation. It’s the season to visit that great beach you’re always hearing people talk about but haven’t ever been to, to try that tricky recipe you’ve had sitting on the counter for weeks, or to finally crack open that book you got for Christmas last year.
5 Great Tips for a Holiday at Home
1. Use your left hand instead of your right
There’s an easy way to trick your brain into thinking something has shifted, the way it does on vacation. Sleep on the other side of the bed. Take a different route to some familiar destination. Do things with your left hand that you would normally do with your right. It might not seem like much, but this simple trick has the power to vastly alter your mindset and it can yank you out of boredom and blues. Watch out though: your brain will try and stop your from doing this. It takes persistence.
Doing things a little differently is a great reminder that you’re on vacation! Instead of having your traditional morning cup of joe, pick up a latte with a good friend and take a morning stroll on the beach. Even trying a new recipe, a new restaurant or a type of cuisine you’ve never had before can help to put you in the vacation mindset.
2. Turn your home into a hotel
This is a great one if you have kids. Swap bedrooms with each other. Pack a suitcase and make sure it’s off limits to go back for things you forgot. (This makes for a fun excuse to go out shopping for trivial, inexpensive items like toothpaste or extra socks. Just make sure you go to a store you’ve never tried before).
Put room numbers on the doors and assign someone the job of being the porter or butler. You can take turns. You can even get a front desk going in the front hall or even a large closet. Kids LOVE this. Get some monopoly money for good measure.
3. Make meals ahead of time and freeze them
If going out for meals every night on your long weekend isn’t feasible, you can at least avoid having to do a lot of cooking by prepping a few meals ahead of time. Older kids can have the job of putting them together, heating and serving. Getting the family active in the kitchen is a great bonding experience on your long weekend staycation.
Meals that freeze well include lasagna, casseroles, soups and stews. If the thought of prepping for your vacation really doesn’t appeal to you (even considering the time you’ve saved NOT getting ready for a vacation), dig out the ol’ slow cooker and throw something together for the evening so it’s ready when you need it.
4. Take on a craft project
Craft projects are the absolute best thing on long weekends. They fill you with a sense of accomplishment like no other. And with your meals prepped and ready to go, you don’t need to worry about covering the kitchen counter and tabletops with paper, scissors and glue. Go ahead and make a mess!
A few ideas. Dreamcatchers are surprisingly easy to make, and you can get all the supplies at a craft store. All you need is an embroidery ring, some suede ribbon, a bit of string and whatever feathers and beads you like. Homemade beauty products are another easy one. You’d be surprised what you can make with a bottle of coconut oil, a pot of honey and whatever you’ve got in the kitchen -- body scrubs, moisturizers, make-up remover, face cleaner and more.
5. Set up an outdoor movie night
This might involve dragging a television out to the balcony and rigging up something with plugs and extension cords. Bring out the beach chairs, blankets and picnic basket and pretend like it’s a night in 1980 at the drive-in. Mix elaborate drinks. Enjoy the fresh air with a movie the whole family will enjoy.
A staycation gives you permission to relax. You’re not required to do much on vacation, so don’t feel guilty if you decide to watch a movie in the morning, eat one too many restaurant meals or skip your usual Saturday morning workout. You’re off the hook! Give yourself permission to enjoy the holiday. Guilt free. From home.
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