7 Staycation Ideas That Will Expand Your Horizons

Get more from your summer with these stay-at-home R&R ideas.


COVID-19 and its associated travel restrictions have put summer travel plans on hold, canceled summer camps and placed our favorite travel destinations just out of reach. With so much focus on what we can’t do, let’s consider what we can do this summer with all that unused PTO.

1. Plant a Garden

Your dream yard could be just a tap away. Summer is a great time to get those thumbs green by planting a backyard garden or sprucing up your yard. Try mobile apps like iScape to design and plan your perfect outdoor living oasis. And if you find yourself over your head, you can hire a professional designer to rescue you.

2. Plan a Hike

Fitness has taken a back seat due to the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered gyms. The great outdoors of summer can get you back on track with your fitness goals. Luckily, there are many recreational hiking trails in communities across the country for taking long walks and nature gazing. Try apps like AllTrails to get a list of hiking spots in your hometown.

3. Take a Masterclass

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work in a different career? Take a Masterclass to tap into another side of your creativity and interests. Learn what it’s like to be a filmmaker, advertising executive, chef,  author, interior designer, makeup artist – and many more. Classes can be purchased individually, or you can sign up for a yearly subscription.

 4. Find Your Roots

As we age, knowing who we are and where we come from becomes more important. This is especially true as our treasured elders who are also our family historians pass on. Use your staycation to embark on a hunt to find and document your family history. Both the USGenWeb Project and FamilySearch.org are free genealogy tools. Or, you can try Ancestry free for 14 days for access to billions of records, including Census, SSDI and Military records.

5. Embark on a Virtual Tour

Pandemic travel restrictions might have us grounded, but that doesn’t mean we can’t visit some historic destinations.  For example, the Louvre offers virtual tours , as does the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. To explore the largest collection of working historic computers, take a virtual tour of the National Museum of Computing. If you have a VR headset, you can use apps like Everest VR to virtually climb to the summit of Mount Everest or take a virtual walk through the Anne Frank House.

6. Hit the Road

Road trips are back for 2020. While you might not be able to travel across the globe, you can explore your little corner of the world and take in some local sights and history. Check out TripAdvisor for The Best Road Trips in America for inspiration. Or, try AAA Road Trips for a list of destinations worth your time and attention. Or, you can use the Roadtrippers mobile app to build your itinerary and plan stops along your route.

7. Learn a Language

What’s the next best thing to traveling abroad? immersing yourself in international culture by learning a new language. Subscription-based apps like Babbel make it easy to learn a new language at your own pace. Duolingo and Memrise are both free language-learning mobile apps designed to get you conversational in another language quickly. For those who prefer more interaction, Rosetta Stone offers live language lessons.

Pandemic travel restrictions don’t have to take the fun out of your summer. With a little imagination and strategic use of technology, you can plan a summer escape that expands your horizons while keeping you safer at home.


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