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Posted on: Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Staycation – 10 ways to stay at home, yet be on holiday

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The Staycation.  It’s not a new term, in case you think that I’m just slow on the uptake (I can be, I admit). Staycations are about staying at home whilst taking time off.

The word is a little, well, it’s a little lame. It’s tantamount to convincing yourself you’re rich when you know the bank balance is well below where you’d like it to be. But it does rather aptly combine the ideas of home and holiday in a way that goes beyond the image of gardening and walking the dog as highlights to the day…


Explore your city
Explore your city!

Staying at home needn’t revert to a list of dull, arduous odd jobs that have been shelved and  loom the minute your holiday begins. There is more to life than putting up shelves. Make them your whole holiday, and the odd jobs will expand to fill the time you have available (this is known as Parkinson’s law – yup, someone took the time to formulate this adage; and you thought it was only you!).

If, instead, you hold the idea of ‘holiday’ as the backdrop to your time at home, it brings a whole new attitude to the festive season. Can you honestly say that you’ve explored your home city/town? With that in mind, how well do you know your neighbourhood?

And when you take into account that most of us live in a rather exciting cities – like Cape Town, East London, Durban or Johannesburg – going somewhere else suddenly seems foolish, if you think of what you could be doing once you start to look.


Take a hike!
Take a hike!

There is one cardinal rule: plan


Without a plan, your holiday will default to the usual ‘at home’ behaviour. It will deteriorate into ‘staying home from work for a week’ and lose any holiday magic rather fast.

You will need to work rather hard at changing the customary way of being. Dishes can stand in the sink, chores can wait until last thing at night, shopping can happen en route somewhere, in a shopping centre to which you seldom or never go (get the picture?).

A list of places and activities your family would all like is also helpful – these things seldom spontaneously or miraculously ‘happen’.


Explore local markets
Explore local markets

Here are a few ideas to get you going:


  • sleep in another room of the house (not an activity as such, but the change in perspective immediately brings on the holiday feeling)
  • go to the beach, or to a local swimming pool (December is never a great time for the beach if you don’t like crowds, so do your homework and drive a little further to a beach that won’t have you gasping to leave within an hour of arrival)
  • get on your bike – find out if your city has dedicated bike trails – there are some great paths now in Cape Town (one just around the corner from my house)
  • go to the movies – nothing like the 3D experience and popcorn to give you the holiday feeling; otherwise rent a couple and hold a movie evening for friends
  • take a hike – summer is a wonderful time to get up really early and head for the hills, back in time so that you’re out of the heat of the day
  • read a book – head for the local park and find a bench, or a spot in your garden where you might not usually sit
  • see a show – theatres at this time of year are filled with opportunity to see opera, ballet, pantomime and musical; indulge
  • host a braai – invite your friends and neighbours, string up the fairy lights and hit the carols button
  • do a day trip – to the nearest town or botanical garden – a picnic under the trees; a good book
  • hit the local food markets – food markets around the country have a great vibe and at this time of year there will be plenty of exceptional food to get you into the holiday mood

A Few Pages to help you explore …



Host a braai!


Wanda Coustas


Wanda Coustas has written in one form or another for 10 years, seven of them as a copyblogger. She has travelled the Western Cape extensively and the rest of the country in protracted road trips that have given her both joy and an ongoing relish for experiencing what she writes about first-hand. She is a trained opera singer, poet, eurythmy dancer, philosopher, and bee whisperer.

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