If you don’t feel comfortable traveling during this time, staycations are a great alternative. You’ll get the experience of going away, without the hassle of roaming too far. Your staycation should be a quick and easy getaway that doesn’t break the bank.
TIP: Bring a mask, bring hand sanitizer, and practice social distancing. I also bring extra masks in case one falls on the ground or is misplaced.
It’s been a stressful year and you deserve to take a break, but I want you to be safe while doing it. Before you book your room check your hotel guidelines and learn how they’re keeping guests safe. Make sure their COVID-19 policies live up to your safety standards. You may need to wear a mask inside hotel common areas, so be prepared beforehand. Although most hotels offer hand sanitizer upon entry, it doesn’t hurt to bring your own. Put your mind at ease by downloading the Maryland contact tracing app onto your phone and it’ll notify you of any potential outbreaks near you.
Prior to the pandemic, my family would go on staycations for a quick reset. When it was just me and my husband our staycation would serve as our romantic getaway but once our kids arrived, we made it a family affair. Sometimes you need a slight change of scenery to refresh and relax!
For my daughter's 5th birthday, we were torn on where we wanted to go. Since we have a newborn, we decided to be easy on ourselves and book a staycation.
My kids LOVE hotels! They enjoy the break from being home and the chance to explore somewhere new. We opted to go to Baltimore for our stay.
TIP: Choose your location wisely.
You do not want to be trapped in the middle of nowhere! Make a list of what attractions are most important to you and then see if there are any rooms available within a suitable distance. If you’re not picky about what part of town to visit, then find an area where there are plenty of things to do to keep you busy. If you can snag a hotel with everything you need within walking distance – even better!
Here are a few questions you want to ask yourself when searching for the perfect staycation spot. How far do I want to be from home? Are there any sights I want to see? Does my room need a nice view? Is this a high traffic area?
We stayed at the Aloft Hotel in Arundel Mills, just outside the city. This hotel was the best fit for our family because of the amenities they offered.
TIP: When planning your staycation, call, and see what amenities are available.
Due to COVID-19, many hotels have modified their services and hours. If you decide to travel, your typical continental breakfast might look a little different this year. You can check the hotel website for a change in accommodations, but I suggest calling ahead. The hotel site doesn’t always have all the latest updates. Talk to a front desk representative and confirm any changes.
We wanted to plan a fun hotel activity for our kids, so we needed a hotel with an open pool. Not only did Aloft have an open pool, but they took some extra initiatives to keep visitors safe. In order to limit the number of people in the pool, guests had to book a one-hour timeslot in advance.
We decided to check in on my daughter’s birthday to give her something to look forward to. We ordered food, watched movies, and opened some of the gifts she received.
TIP: Purchase snacks before heading to your staycation location.
Hotel snacks can be expensive! Your favorite beverages are $3 each and snacks can range from $2 - $5 each! That adds up, especially when you have a family. Before staycations, we go to our grocery store to purchase snacks. We grab drinks, fruit snacks, fruit, crackers, and other things that our children like to snack on throughout the day and night. This saves us a ton of money! We usually spend $40 or less. My husband and I also grab our favorite items including lemonade, cheese, crackers, and wine LOL.
Later in the day, we went shopping at Arundel Mills Mall and spent the evening playing games at Dave & Busters. For lunch, we ate outside at Uno Chicago Grill.
TIP: Try a restaurant you’ve never been to.
When you’re on vacation you don’t usually order the same foods that are easily available to you at home (unless you’re a picky eater – no judgment!). You should strive to follow that same rule for your staycation. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new, or at the very least dine at a restaurant you haven’t been to in a while. If you can, I encourage you to take advantage of outdoor seating during COVID-19.
We closed out the staycation at the National Aquarium, where we enjoyed seeing jellyfish, penguins, and of course the dolphins. Our kids had a good time and got to learn something new.
During our trip, we didn’t stay in our room for long, but that may not be the case for you. If you plan to stay in, I suggest you load up on snacks and update your location on UberEats so you never have to leave. Get a hotel with a view so you can take in the scenery from the comfort of your room.
TIP: Add some ambiance to your room.
Bring candles. Bring your favorite clothes. And bring your pampering tool kit. You want to treat this like a real getaway so indulge in the experience. Does your room have a tub? Buy a bath bomb for a relaxing soak. Buy a green tea mask and paint your nails. Catch up on the book you promised yourself you would finish last summer. Treat your room like an oasis – no stress or alarm clocks allowed.
Above all – enjoy your staycation! The whole point is to have a good time however you see fit.
What are your favorite staycation planning tips? Share with me!