The scope of the word ‘staycation’ ranges depending on who you talk to. The Wikipedia definition says it is a period in which an individual or a family participates in leisure activities that are within driving distance of home noting that the staycationers would return home to sleep in their own beds. However some consider it a staycation if you simply remain close to home, not leaving the province or even the city that you live in. Whichever you think is semantically correct the point is that you ain’t going very far to enjoy your time off. And quite honestly you really don’t need to be using your hard-earned air miles to enjoy some well-deserved downtime.
Let’s ponder some of the benefits of opting to stay put:
Lack of travel: This is a huuuuge bonus. Not only does this afford you extra time off as you’re not wasting hours on transportation but you also avoid the physical exhaustion of hauling you and your clan from port to port. And not paying for plane tickets leads us nicely to our next point…
You’re saving oodles: No travel or hotel costs makes for a budget-friendly week and limited spending means limited stress from the get-go.
Find a new appreciation for your home: If you are anything like me it is likely that as much as you adore your city or town it’s been a while since you invested some serious time in the relationship. When I first moved to Toronto I spent hours exploring every area, every street and every place of interest. Although I have had honest intentions of revisiting spots that I haven’t seen in years, life has a tendency of getting in the way. Use your staycation to go to spots that you’ve been meaning to go to but just never gotten around to it; galleries, parks, historical monuments, tourist hotspots. In fact, pretend you’re a tourist visiting for the first time and fall in love with home all over again.
So the benefits are clear. Thing is, being at home or close to home can present the risk of routine and real life obligations. Having all this free time may entice you to run errands, deep clean the rug, get the car valeted, clear the attic… DON’T DO IT!!! One does not want to end their vacation feeling more frazzled than they did when it started so be strict with yourself and your loved ones. This may mean setting some serious rules such as no cellphones, no e-mails, no television… I know this could get ugly but remind your fellow staycationers that if you were in a foreign land there would be none of the above. Treat this like a regular vacation in order to reap the benefits and if you’re stuck for inspiration try one of the following:
Catch a movie: Sounds simple but too often we just don’t make time for the little pleasures in life and that is what this week is all about.
Have a games night: Imagine you’re holed up in a snowy chalet in the mountains with little entertainment at hand. Pull out the board games or get creative; booze helps.
See a show: Make it an old school theatre night, dress up and make it an event. Who cares if no one else is doing it, you’re on vacation!
Go for dinner: Treat yourself as you would if you were abroad. Hit up that restaurant you’ve just been dying to try and when you’re stuffed to the gills go dancing to burn it off.
Read a book: How many books and/or magazines can you plow through lying on a beach? Exactly.
Nap: Squeezing in a snooze amongst all that page flipping is the ultimate staycation luxury.
Go on a city tour: Although more suited to the summer months, many cities offer a winterized version. In Toronto, City Sightseeing offers cosy trolleys to take you through the city streets. You might be surprised at all the little secrets you uncover close to home.
Stepping up the luxury
So maybe spending a week at home just does not appeal. Maybe you stand little to no chance of avoiding those dusty baseboards that have been niggling at you the past few weeks or perhaps making your own bed doesn’t exactly scream ‘relaxation’. Have no fear, the staycation can still appeal but you may need to spend a tad more. It most certainly won’t be as expensive as crossing an ocean and the advantages are all still there.
You can find some great last minute hotel deals on sights such as Hotwire. You won’t know exactly where you’ll end up staying but you can specify area and star rating.
Toronto is home to some fabulous hotels with five-star restaurants and spas attached so you can get all the luxury you need without bracing the cold. And when you do decide to venture out, these gems are surrounded by downtown attractions to keep you entertained:
- The Ritz-Carlton: 181 Wellington St. W.
- Shangri-La: 188 University Avenue
- The Fairmount Royal York Hotel: 100 Front St. W.
- The Beverley Hotel: 335 Queen St. W.
- Trump International Hotel: 325 Bay St.
If you have holiday you need to use up or maybe you just really need a break from the monotony of every day life, the staycation is the perfect solution to unwind and de-stress before the whirlwind of the holidays begins without travelling far from your cosy habitat.