For many of us, the summer months are synonymous with vacations. Traveling to the beach, an all-inclusive resort, a backpacking trip, or visiting friends and family near and far. This year, summer looks a little different. For many of us, our vacations have been postponed or changed drastically due to the pandemic. It might be tempting to skip the time off this year, but research shows that rest and recharge are crucial elements of mental health to avoid burnout even if you’re not getting any airline miles by doing it.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, a record 768 million vacation days were reported unused at the beginning of 2019. With the pandemic’s understandable restrictions on the hospitality industry, those numbers could be surpassed this year. It is reasonable to exercise caution while traveling, but even if your vacation is a little more home-bound, we have come up with some tips to help you take some time off this year.

  • Try a “staycation” (i.e., a vacation spent in or around your home). Set up a backyard oasis, make some tropical drinks, listen to music, and finish that summer reading book collecting dust. For those of you with limited backyard space, check out a hiking trail, park, or bike path nearby. Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch out in the open air.
  • Maybe you and your family have been itching to participate in some family games? Set up a family competition! Tennis, pushups, or maybe even a “friendly” game of Scrabble? Winner takes all! (Or gets to skip doing the dishes for the week.)
  • Do you have a drive-in movie theater in your neighborhood? Ours has recently opened up and we are able to go with our dog. She does not appreciate the cinematic quality as much as we do, but with the safety and comfort of our own car, it is a nice treat away from the house.
  • Not really into drive-ins or one isn’t nearby? Check out these amazing outside movie night ideas. Make your own tickets, pop your own popcorn, and pick a classic to watch or re-watch.
  • Go camping in your backyard (or a nearby campground). Gather around for ghost stories, the soft swishing of sleeping bags, and of course, s’mores. Maybe “glamping” is more your thing? Try one of these incredible, socially distant, and beautiful retreats. Make sure to check local restrictions and pandemic guidelines if you are planning to take a road trip.

So maybe you’re looking at this list thinking that you don’t want to do a single thing mentioned. That’s also just fine. Use this time to catch up on your favorite series, bake bread, or sleep in. You deserve a break, no matter how it looks to anyone else. The bottom line is this: you can still create memories with your family and capture them in a fun and unique way. So, how are you spending your vacation? Let us know. We hope you have a fun and safe time this summer!  

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