The Ultimate Staycation Checklist 

We’re living and breathing a new normal of travel, with staycations in South Africa on the increase, we have no choice but to explore our backyard. With lockdown goal posts changing as quickly as the rand to dollar exchange rate and pandemic fatigue creeping into every household our vacation brains are on high alert for anything to ease the fifteen month reality we’re living. And we’re looking for that quick fix, stat.

But there is one thing that we can all agree on; we sure are lucky to be living in South Africa where our micro-travel opportunities are abundant.

It’s the age of a staycation nation, and we’re not too unhappy about it.

So how do you plan the ultimate staycation? In this article we cover everything you need to know on gathering your family, convincing your spouse or planning that girls trip for a quick weekend away. From packing tips to planning we have got your staycation covered. 

What is a staycation?

A staycation has a few meanings; it can be a holiday that you set up at home (we suggest shipping the kids off to the grandparents for this option), planning a romantic night away in your hometown or road-tripping within your province for a weekend away. Simply put, staycations mean leisurely exploring your city or province by vacationing locally.

Planning a staycation

With so many options on our doorstep how do we even begin to plan a staycation? Here are four easy steps to help you figure out “where to next” for your staycation itinerary. 

Pick your holiday theme 

We all have those holiday moods that strike us like a 4pm sugar craving, and while most of the time they can be easily acted on, not everyone has a beachfront pad on speed dial (or within their province, sorry Gauteng). So deciding what theme, realistically, is going to ease those pandemic blues, is the first step in narrowing down that search term. For example: Are you craving a spa getaway? Outdoor activities? Or a cabin in the woods? This will make it easier for you to choose ‘where’ based on the place nearest to you with these offerings. 

3 types of staycations

You’ve chosen your theme, now it’s time to choose your experience. Do you like to do it all yourself? Or are you more of a boujee babe who needs room service to feel like you’re on vacation? Here are the top choices for staycations:

In times like these self-catering options have been flooding the vacation rental market. It’s more affordable, secluded and the perfect experience for a family escape. Plus pet-friendly options allow you to take the furkids too. Self-catering allows you to go with the flow, define your own routine and really feel that seclusion of a vacation.

Need to take some timeout from the kitchen? Or just feel like being pampered with your person? ‘Rona-approved staycation hotels are popping up all over major cities in South Africa. Offering full room service, in-room spa treatments and even full Netflix bouquets. (and let’s not forget the hotel linen, swoon!) This is a great option if you prefer a mid-week time-out session or dont have the time to take a full weekend away.

Whether you’re a rooftop tent explorer or a 4x4 camper, staycation camping is as secluded and pandemic approved as you get. From mountain retreats, to bush glamping if your spirit is craving some earth grounding this staycation option is for you. 

Define your budget  

Like all things in life, nothing is for free. Now that you’ve got an idea on what your staycation mood is, it’s time to get realistic about your budget. This will help you make the most of your staycation so you don’t overspend. Your budget will also help determine the location, the activities and accommodation options for your staycation.

Decide your duration 

Remember that staycations dont always refer to weekend breaks - if you’re living that WFH (work from home) life why not find a secluded spot to spend the week? We’re pretty sure that with all the kids' holidays you (yes you, parents) are dying for a timeout to get your little humans some outdoor time. 

Packing for a staycation 

Now that you’ve rounded up your staycation location, you’ve prepped the family/spouse/dog for the adventure loading... It's time to master packing like a pro.

Here are 3 fool-proof packing tips to get you from ideation to staycation in no time.

Become a list person

Even if you aren't a list person, this is our number one tip when packing for a staycation, (or any kind of holiday for that matter.)

  1. Start by making a list of each person/furchild that’s going on your trip (yes, husbands get a list too).
  2. Write down items specific to that person. 

Tip:  Add three columns for each person: Clothing, Toys/Accessories, Food. This way you won't forget that favourite toy, that dog leash or that fishing rod. As for food, this just helps identify special requests from each party when you're designing a menu that you can easily just pop into that Caddy Cooler.

Use packing pods 

“Packing-what-now?” If you’ve been in lockdown lalaland and haven't heard of the best accessories for packing ever, we’re about to change your life. Our Travel Luggage Organizer Pods allow you to properly organise your luggage, which makes it easier to pack and unpack. Each set comes in a pack of 6 pods that help you divide everything into separate cubes. Think kids' clothes, toiletries, tech, swimwear - you get the idea. The best thing about them? Say goodbye to the unpacking mania when you get to your destination. With packing pods you can just pop them in the drawers when you arrive. Marie Kondo fanatics, this one's for you!

Tip for packing a packing pod (we dare you to say that quickly): roll, don't fold your clothes. Rolling takes up less room and stops your clothes from getting creased. 

Pick your bag  

Your choice of luggage says a lot about you (there we said it!). We know that all types of packers exist, and there is no judgment from us! Whether you’re an “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” packer, the minimal packer or, of course we can’t forget, the family packer, we have made sure that we’ve designed luggage to fit your every need.

Need some help choosing your bag? (With the help of our packing pods) you can pack it all, perfectly. 

Here are our top choices:
For the “Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” Packer:

For the Minimal Packer: 

For the Family Packer: 

Don’t forget to pack!

  • Eye masks - whether its full moon in a tent or the street lights of your new vacation spot flooding in at night, keeping an eye mask handy can make for sweeter (darker) dreams!
  • A good read - Be sure to load up that kindle with new reads, after all nothing says “I’m on holiday” than a good read!
  • Board Games - cosy fireplaces, good company and wintery beverages all go perfectly with a side of competition. And what way to work on those relationship goals than a battle of “who is better” at a good board game. 
  • Portable music speaker - Even though silence and the peace of nature's natural sounds are part of winding down and switching off, there is always space for some good holiday tunes to get you in the mood. 
  • Picnic blanket - Don't underestimate the power of a picnic blanket. For impromptu road trip picnics or lazy lawn sessions, a picnic blanket is a must have travel item. 

Unspoken rules of relaxing on a staycation 

No matter how long your staycation is, your ultimate goal is to disconnect from this world and reboot your energy.

This could mean limiting your screen time - we as adults even need that nudge to put down the devices as they consume so much of our mind. You could do this as a family or if you’re with your partner, just make time to be with each other without distractions.

Another neat tip is to break up the routine. If you have the luxury of a lie-in, do it. Enjoy that brunch or eat hotdogs for dinner, resetting your day out of your normal routine will help you unwind and get into the mindset that you're on holiday.

Now who is ready for that staycation?

July 20, 2021 — Carla Ashton