6 Travel Themed Staycation Ideas for a Memorable Weekend at Home

What is a staycation?

When I got back to Indiana in January, I knew I’d be here for a while so I started planning some travel themed staycation ideas.

If you’re new to the term, a staycation is basically when you curate a vacation in your own city, or in this post, without leaving your home.

It’s ideal for those short on time, on a low budget, or perhaps for those who are quarantined in their homes to avoid the coronavirus and need something to do. Staycations also happen to be one of the most sustainable options available to those of us with perpetual wanderlust.

Photo of young man and woman sitting at dining table eating homemade Italian cuisine, the first travel themed staycation idea on this list.
Making Italian food is as close as we will come to being in Italy anytime soon.

Why are staycations more eco-friendly?

Well, staying put is almost always more eco-friendly than traveling. Exceptions include trips which stick to walking, biking, or other fuel-free transports. By vacationing at home or in your local area, you’re cutting out the part of travel which hurts the planet the most: carbon emissions. Flying or driving to new cities or countries almost invariably uses non-renewable resources and produces carbon waste which is what we DON’T need during this simultaneous climate crisis.

Beyond fuel, you’re likely spending the night in your own home which means cutting down on water usage from daily linen changes at hotels. 

If you’re taking a staycation instead of visiting a city that’s coping with over-tourism, natural disaster, or public health crises – you’re lessening the burden on already strained resources too, which is a thankless but important help nonetheless. 

Travel themed staycation ideas 

Vacationing at home might sound soul-suckingly boring at first but I swear it doesn’t have to be. If you’re like me, rare quiet days spent in the solitude of my own home can be glorious escapes. A golden opportunity to do all the things on my list I don’t have time for in a regular week! 

But there’s no denying that for the many of us whose recreational travel plans have been foiled by the coronavirus, or for any other reason really, being confined to home can suck. Plain and simple.

Whether you’re celebrating or commiserating, here are six travel themed staycation ideas to help you pretend you’re exploring in person.

1. Make a meal or menu from another country

For those who like to cook making a meal/menu from another country’s dishes is a perfect staycation.

It doesn’t have to be expensive. Lot’s of the world’s most famous and traditional dishes come from times of hardship, where ingredients or finances were scarce. It’s easy to find dishes from most countries which use super cheap ingredients like potatoes, rice, beans, cabbage. 

The website 196 Flavors has recipes for traditional dishes from every country in the world. It’s a great place to start if you want to DIY a menu.

Try the World boxes are a fantastic subscription box if you’re planning ahead and like to host guests, or want some help with initial inspiration and menu ideas. You’ll get a monthly box with 7 – 8 items from a specific country, curated by a local chef. The ingredients are handpicked and usually include some baking items (salts, oils, spices) and some snacks (cookies, teas, biscuits).

I’ve done a couple with my family and we all had such a fun time researching the culture, testing out their suggested recipes and menus, and listening to music from each country as we dined on our afternoon’s work. 

Portuguese tapas with olives, crackers, olive oil, jam, and anchovies from Portugal.

2. Look through your old journals/photos/memorabilia

Have you taken some incredible trips in the past? If you’re not in a position to create new memories, relive some of the old and finally go through those photos and travel memorabilia you’ve been storing in your closet for years.

If you’re feeling extra ambitious, take a stab at that scrapbook from the last trip you’ve been putting off! 

3. Have a movie marathon 

If you’re wanting a laid-back, work-free staycation, curate a playlist of movies set in a country or region and get the popcorn ready. 

Here’s a few couple ideas: 


Paris, je t’aime (2006)

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Amélie (2001)

La Haine (1995)

Le ballon rouge (1956)


City of God (2002)

Carandiru (2003)

Central do Brasil (1993)

Witness: Rio (2013)

4. Conduct your own intensive language camp

If you’re cooped up and have plenty of time, why not learn a new language? Download Duolingo, FluentU, or whatever your platform of choice.

I used Duolingo for a while but finished all the lessons in Spanish and needed the next step. I’ve found FluentU to be great for deepening my skills on a more practical level, but a subscription runs between $150-200+ a year depending on the promotion.

If you have a few days, you can get the very basics of a language down. If you have a week or two to dedicate you could might be conversational by the end of your staycation!

Throw in elements from the other staycation ideas to practice your language in multiple formats. Cooking in a new language while listening to foreign music can put your language skills to the test.

Here’s a photo post from my trip to Morocco: Morocco Photo Story

5. Read a book, or something, or anything

Find a book written by an author of the country you’re virtually visiting. Read a book about a character set in that country. Peruse a cookbook or photo book or biography about a leader from your dream destination. Turn on a podcast or news station or audio book. Pretend you’re a local catching up on the goings on in your city and take it all in with a new perspective.

Pic of The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, as reading a book or listening to an audiobook set in another country is one of the top travel themed staycation ideas.

Here are a few of my favorite location-specific books:

  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho (Spain/Morocco – Saharan Desert)
  • Americanah – Chimamande Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
  • The Universe In Your Hands – Christophe Galfard (Space)

6. Blast some music from your country of choice and exercise through dance 

Head to Spotify or Youtube and search for a playlist or radio station in the place you want to go. Then turn up the volume and dance your heart out. In addition to putting you in the travel mood, you’ll get a little exercise which we could all use after a staycation centered around the couch. 

Youtube also provides some great tutorials on how to learn and dance in different styles. 

So when are you taking your next staycation? 

Let me know which suggestions you like and if there are any other great travel themed staycation ideas I should add to my bucket list. 

6 Travel Themed Staycation Ideas for a Memorable Weekend at Home