You work long and hard for your vacation time and then something unexpected happens that throws a curveball in your plans.
Whether it’s because of a pandemic, unanticipated expenses or something just came up, we can’t always travel on our vacations, but we can still enjoy them.
Here are some great things to do on vacation when certain types of traveling might be off the table.
Online experiences have become more robust thanks to the pandemic.
These experiences can take you on an adventure from the comfort of your home.
Doing an online experience like the one Airbnb offers can provide an alternative when traveling is not an option.
You can book experiences like a guided meditation with a sleepy sheep, go on a leopard safari in Sri Lanka, have a fabulous day in Paris with a Parisian, or do a family magic show with your own family.
There are tons of experiences like this that are worth trying out by yourself or with your close friends and family.
These classes are live, and unless you’ve booked a private session, you could even be interacting with people from around the world who are also doing the same experience as you.
These fun experiences are a cheaper and convenient alternative for when you can’t travel.
~Explore your own stomping ground
I know for many of us, when we think of exploring a city, we might think of scenic places in Italy, France, South America, or the Caribbean.
But many of us neglect to explore what’s in our own backyard (I myself am very guilty of doing this).
Thanks to the pandemic, I have been forced to really take a look around my own city and I’ve realized there are so many places to visit that’s no more than a 20-30 minute drive from where I live.
There are probably many locally-owned restaurants, cafes, and stores in your own city that you might not have even heard of before.
You could even take this time to finally go to that museum or art gallery that may have been on your list for some time now.
Maybe you live in an area with plenty of hiking trails or other nature-related activities that speaks to the outdoorsy side of you.
Whatever it is, you can use this vacation to further appreciate where you live and enjoy what’s around you.
Along with exploring your own city, you can also explore the local experiences in your area.
Maybe you live in a very culturally rich neighborhood that offers fun yet edifying experiences that pique your interests.
As always, Groupon is one of the best places to start looking if you want to find tons of experiences around you for a nice deal.
You can finally take that pottery wheel class and reminisce about that famous romantic scene in Ghost or that incredibly fun salsa dance lesson (or that secret pole dancing class that you haven’t told anyone else about).
This is a great time to challenge yourself to do something new.
~Switch up your living environment
Just because you can’t travel far away doesn’t mean you have to stay home.
Camping is always a tried and true option if you’re into the outdoors.
Or you can even swap houses.
With a house swap, someone stays at your home while you stay at theirs (with all safety measures considered).
This offers you the chance to experience a new place without the cost of hotels or even transportation as access to the owner’s car is usually included as well.
You can do a traditional house swap, where you swap with someone else at the same time.
Or you could use a home exchange network that uses a points-based system to choose the house and destination where you would like to stay.
The points-based system also allows for more flexibility with the dates you’d like to choose.
Home Exchange is a network that offers both types of options.
If someone staying in your home is not your style, but you still want to experience a house swap, there are exchanges where you could stay in someone’s second residence or vacation home while the owner remains at their primary home. (Of course, this usually works best if you have your own secondary residence as well.)
International Vacation Home Exchange focuses more on this type of exchange.
There are many home exchange networks you can use. There is usually a monthly or annual membership fee associated with each network.
However, you can also use a company like Switchome, which offers a completely free exchange platform.
Find the one that works best for you and explore a new environment.
This is a great affordable option for when you need to stay relatively close to home (or even for when you decide to visit international destinations).
~Catch up on something
Staying home for your vacation might just give you the time you’ve been looking for to finally finish reading that book.
You might suddenly find that inspiration you’ve been waiting for to start writing that novel or screenplay.
That sweater you were crocheting that has been waiting patiently for you to complete it, might just be calling your name. And now you may find you have no more excuses to keep putting off that bathroom renovation.
If nothing else, it gives you time to take up a new hobby that’s always intrigued you or to try out that DIY project that’s been brewing in your mind.
It’s also a great time to brush up on these skills while you’re not traveling.
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.”
It’s hard to disagree with Oscar Wilde.
Helping others is definitely one of the best things any of us can do.
I feel nothing puts life back into perspective as much as being there for someone else.
Whether giving your time at a food drive, soup kitchen, building homes or helping to clean up the planet, volunteering is always a great way to use your time.
It doesn’t take much but it can pay off in so many ways for both yourself and others.
~Create a self-care routine (and then create a mini-version that you can stick to when life gets really busy again)
Nowadays, the focus has really been on self-care. And with good reason. No matter your responsibilities, taking care of yourself is necessary.
No, it’s not selfish.
It re-energizes you so you can continue giving to the world.
Whether your world is centered around your career, your family, and everything in between, running on empty fumes just leads to you being burnt out.
How can you continue to give when you feel like there’s barely anything left?
So take that long bath with your favorite scented candle, go on walks, meditate (or all of the above).
Find something that makes you calm, brings you peace, and reinvigorates you.
Sleep is one of the most important things on this list (and probably my favorite thing).
We all know how much better we function when we’re not sleep deprived. So make sure to carve out some time to get your rest.
Your body and sanity will thank you for it.
Of course, if you have kids, this may not be so easy.
But if possible, ask your partner, a trusted family member, a dear friend, or maybe even hire a reliable babysitter to watch your little troopers for a few hours (they will be alright) while you get some much needed rest.