I get it, we all love to travel and have a huge bucket list waiting to be conquered. However, there are times when our plans don’t always work out and staying close to home is a better idea. Because I don’t think that staying home or close to home needs to be boring or dull, I’ve put together a comprehensive list of staycation ideas for couples, but not only.
Almost 6 months have passed since I’ve started working from home, and even though I work and sometimes go out and explore the city, I also had to find ways to entertain myself at home or in Hong Kong.
Thus, here is a list of great ideas you can apply at home, in your back yard, or in your hometown. These are ideas to implement alone, as a couple, or with your family.
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Staycation ideas for couples – make it fun!
Benefits of a staycation
First of all, I know we all want to travel as much as we can, as far as we can. See all those world wonders, get to learn about new cultures, taste amazingly delicious local food, live experiences we will never forget.
But let me tell you one thing: we can still do that from home!
I know, it’s not the same thing. But it might do the trick during self-isolation, social distancing, or when you simply want to save for that long trip or are on a budget.
Here are a few reasons why you must think about staycations as an option from now on:
- A staycation will always cost less! Less money because you won’t have to travel extensively, and less time as well. You will be able to do so much on a weekend close to home, and you can plan for the perfect weekend getaway – at home or in your back yard.
- It can be as fun as a vacation! Think about it, people visit your town for a vacation, when is the last time you did it? I have some great ideas in store for you to make it fun.
- You’ll get to see the place you live in with new eyes, in a new light. Even if we’ve moved to Hong Kong for some time now, life didn’t allow us the time to see it as a tourist. And when you’ve lived for long in a place, you forget to see it differently. This is your chance to mix things up for a change.
- When it comes to a staycation you have 2 options: stay in your city, or venture somewhere new close by. Day trips or weekend getaways by car are great fun ideas, and every place has plenty of options.
Book an apartment or a hotel room with a view in the heart of the city
Staying in a hotel and not having to do dishes or clean already feels like a vacation to me.
Skipping cooking and indulging in a great breakfast with a view, lunch, and dinner at one of those cool restaurants in town is another way to feel on vacation close to home.
These are usually small things with a big impact on the day to day wellbeing.
I also love looking for some of the most amazing Airbnb options out there and spending a weekend in one.
Here are just a few ideas of inspiration, but you can look for similar options in the town you live in:
Check out these Hong Kong staycations and plan the perfect city getaway
Glamping near home
The glamping term has been around in a while and I’ve seen some places that looked impressive. I guess no matter where you are in the world, there is at least one fantastic glamping site near you.
I honestly admire the people who design these places, and you can spend some quality time away from home, closer to nature, but still with great conditions.
Go for a picnic in the park or your back garden
Picnics could be so much fun and let’s face it when was the last time you actually went out for one?
Preparing for one can be also fun and you could spend hours and hours looking for great ideas on Pinterest. And when you don’t want the hustle, you can also order the food, get some good wine or prosecco, and head for your back garden or a big park in your town.
Another option is to drive a bit and head directly for the woods somewhere close to the city, or somewhere by the sea or a lake. That depends pretty much on your location, but I’m sure everyone could find a corner of nature and stillness for a great staycation for couples.
Find a themed hotel and book a room for the weekend
I’m sure all the major towns have hotels with themed rooms and you can pretend you are spending the weekend in a place you’ve always wanted to go to.
Look for Asian inspired rooms or Italian inspired rooms, or whatever comes to mind.
I’m sure there are plenty of nice options for those of you traveling with kids as well. All those Disney characters in one place.
Travel the world with a puzzle, a coloring book, or a board game
I must tell be honest and admit I ‘m not the most patient person in the world, thus concentrating on doing a puzzle was never my thing. I lose interest and abandon after a few minutes. But there are plenty of cool puzzles with some of your favorite destinations out there. And sitting with one can be a relief for many.
On the other hand, sitting down with a nice coloring book and some pastel crayons does the trick for me.
Back home I used to spend time on the terrace with a glass of wine, coloring on my favorite mandala book.
And yes, you don’t have to do it alone, buy the same book and make a competition. Choose destinations you have been to or places on your bucket list and you can use them afterward and hang them on your bedroom wall.
Lonely Planet has a great Ultimate Travel coloring book.
Take a (virtual) cooking class
Learning to cook something delicious is always a fun way to spend your time. And it can be even a romantic activity when you choose to do it together.
And yes, nowadays almost everything has moved online, and you can even take on virtual cooking classes when you don’t want to leave your apartment.
Imagine taking a pasta cooking class with that skillful old nonna (that’s “grandmother” in Italian) you’ve always wanted to see in Rome.
Read also: Italy virtual tours – a comprehensive list of some great virtual activities
The Chef and the Dish have plenty of online cooking classes and you can learn to cook anything from Italian, Hungarian, Japanese, and even that delicious Turkish food I love so much!
Classes are private and held via Skype, and you will be able to ask any questions you want while interacting with a local chef from the place you want to learn more about. Isn’t that great for a staycation for couples ideas?
As a pastry chef myself (yes, I know, I sometimes forget that as well), I love learning new techniques and I could spend hours watching specialists working their magic.
If you’re like me, you’ll love CakeFlix.
You can take some classes together and then get creative and have some fun in the kitchen.
Take a coffee or tea ceremony workshop
There’s nothing better than learning about a new thing when you have the time to do it.
Both coffee and tea productions are so complex, and there are plenty of passionate people out there willing to introduce you to the art of it all.
I’ve even taken an introduction to tea class shortly after moving to Hong Kong and found it incredibly informative and fascinating.
Even though it would be nicer, you don’t have to travel to a tea or coffee plantation to learn new things and better your skills.
SkillShare is a great place where you can find plenty of online classes and workshops.
You can get a 2 months free trial by using this link!
I found this introduction to espresso really interesting and filled with facts about coffee and how to get that perfect espresso we all love. And this “from beginner to barista” training takes you from the history of coffee, through cupping and various ways of making coffee.
Of course, you can always look for some great Airbnb experiences near home and find a live coffee or tea workshop.
Take a virtual tour of a place you’ve always wanted to see
In today’s world, anything is possible, and you can get to see the streets or the popular travel destinations you’ve been waiting to travel to for so long online. That’s until you finally make it there, of course. One does not exclude the other.
There are plenty of popular museums all around the world that have created online versions. Some of them are almost real and can transport you just by logging in.
Yes, you’ll still want to travel to Athens or Florence, get to see the Acropolis and the Ufizzi Gallery, but why not have a peek beforehand?
Here are a few of the museums, destinations, and cities offering live streaming and virtual tours:
- Live streaming from some of the most popular towns and landmarks in Italy
- Use Google Earth and explore some of the National Parks in the US
- Check out the Colorful Communities around the world – including the Cinque Terre, Bo-Kaap in Cape Town, or Colmar in France
- A virtual tour of the British Museum in London
- Musei Vaticani in Rome
- The Guggenheim Museum in New York
- Musée d’Orsay, Paris
- The Ufizzi Gallery in Florence
- The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
For the best experience, almost real life, I recommend investing in some cool VR tools that will make life close to home more fun.
Have a movie night with some great movies or TV shows that will take you around the world
This never grows old, I there are certain movies I will go back to over and over again. Especially the ones taking me to all those places I love most around the world.
And if you’re into having something to go back to, TV shows or series are quite as good and fun for a staycation for couples.
Here are a few of the movies I’ve put on my list and I go back to whenever I miss that feeling they give me:
- Amelie – France
- Under the Tuscan Sun – Tuscany, Italy
- Eat Pray Love – Italy, India, Bali
- Julie and Julia – France
- A good year – Provence, France
- The best exotic Marigold hotel – India
- Out of Africa – Kenya
- Room with a view – Florence
- My big fat Greek wedding
- The bucket list
- Vicky Cristina Barcelona
When it comes to TV shows, I’ve always been a huge fan of cooking on-location TV shows. I learn a new dish, while also exploring some amazing places around the world.
I could spend hours and hours watching this kind of shows and here are some of my favorite ones you should consider as well:
- Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
- Rick Steves’ Europe
- Dream of Italy
- Giada in Italy
- David Rocco’s Amalfi Getaway
- Two greedy Italians
Cook some “destination” themed meals
There’s nothing that takes me back to a place more than food.
Thus, a great romantic idea for a staycation for couples is to either try different cuisines in a weekend – seeing the world in 2 days through food or plan to cook together some destination-inspired meals.
You can be in Greece for lunch, Italy for dinner, and Japan the next day without leaving your house.
All you need is some inspiration and some great and easy recipes to take you around the world in a bite.
Here are some great cooking books with recipes from all over the world:
- Italian – 2 greedy Italians
- The Tuscan Sun Cookbook
- Jamie’s Italy
- My Big Fat Greek Cookbook
- 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die
Plan a SPA day
There’s nothing better and more relaxing than a day at the SPA.
Whenever I look for hotels no matter if we travel far or close to home, I make sure they have at least a pool, jacuzzi, and a sauna.
Every now and then, I also plan for a few hours in a local SPA with over the top pampering sessions. Most of the places have therapies for couples and you can relax together.
Even though most SPAs are closed these days, you can plan for your at-home pampering session. Here are my favorite face masks, perfect for a few minutes of joy, your skin will thank you afterward.
Visit a museum in your town or take a tour
When is the last time you have visited a museum in your town?
No matter if it’s your hometown or a place you’ve lived in a while, we usually tend to forget to make the best out of it. We almost never go to a local museum or take city tours, even though there might be plenty to learn about the place.
Why wait to explore foreign places when we travel, but not do that at home as well?
Check out GetYourGuide for some cool tour ideas close to home or discounts on museums.
Discover a new place close to home
Don’t tell me you’ve been everywhere close to home because I won’t believe you.
You don’t have to travel far, you just need to both hop in the car and drive for up to an hour or more and get somewhere new. There are plenty of hidden gems everywhere just waiting to be discovered.
The same goes for any destination out there. You just need to be a little bit adventurous and open to the new.
Organize a mini book club
When you both like to read this is such a great idea and it can take you around the world when you choose to read the right books that will spark wanderlust.
I would do that also with kids, and sit together afterward and discuss the book we’ve just read. What we liked about it, how it made us feel, what we didn’t like.
Go for a scavenger hunt in your town
Doesn’t that sound cool?
Rediscover your inner children and take them out for some fun around town.
Another great resource is GooseChase that offers also free scavenger hunts.
Go looking for the best Instagram spots in town and create some memories
No matter if you’ve been to most of the places you’ll find a different angle to shoot from. And maybe you haven’t seen them all, or haven’t done it as a couple.
Another thing to have in mind is that places are different throughout the year, and new places always pop out.
You can also use the time and hire a professional photographer to take some stunning pictures of you 2. Something you will always remember and cherish.
Flytographer is a great place where you can find plenty of qualified photographers in different towns around the world. It is great for when you travel, but also for when you don’t but want some iconic pictures.
They now have a 50$ discount for gift cards to be used when you can travel again. Just use “seeyousoon” and get your voucher here.
Start a Yoga challenge in 2
I love me some great yoga. And it’s so much fun when you do it together.
You can start a yoga challenge and keep each other accountable for the progress. Or motivate each other to get on the mat together every day.
Of course, this can be done by yourself, or with your little ones as well. It can be relaxing and fun at the same time.
Alo Moves have some great online classes and challenges. I especially love Laruga Glaser and her classes.
Another one of my favorites is Kino Yoga and her YouTube classes. She has this one-month beginner yoga challenge I always go back to every now and then, that is perfect for anyone.
Yoga Download is another great option for online classes for everyone.
Go camping and sleep under the stars
You don’t even have to travel far for that.
You can build your tent in the back garden and spend the night there. It is something that will take you outside your routine, while still keeping you close to home and the comfort that offers.
Try kayaking near home
We’ve been kayaking for the first time during our trip to Koh Yao Noi in Thailand and I’ve discovered that’s a great way to work as a couple.
You will spend time in the open, exercise, and learn to work together and coordinate your moves.
As it goes for life and living together, kayaking asks for a little bit of organization and adjustments whenever things don’t go well.
Hiking is a very popular activity in Hong Kong, and everyone leaves the city during the weekend looking for nature.
I’m sure most cities have hills or mountains within walking distance where you can get lost on a hike together.
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