The global COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of social distancing have thrown a wrench in many people’s summer travel plans. Even though travel is not ideal right now and you’re worried about your budget, there are plenty of cheap activities that can be done while keeping safety in mind and maintaining a proper amount of distance from one another. If you are consumed by wanderlust, we’ve put together some options to help you scratch your travel itch without any planes, trains, or cars involved.
When you’re planning a trip on a budget, travel expenses absorb a hefty chunk of the budget—plane tickets, hotels, car rentals, etc. There is no need to spend all your money on travel when you can explore new places from the comfort of your own home. Because of the pandemic and the limited ability to travel, virtual travel has become a popular alternative. Broaden your knowledge of art with a walk through The Louvre, get your animal fix with a tour the San Diego Zoo, or even get your adrenalin rushing with digital rides at Disney World. Attractions around the world are offering these virtual tours to give you the satisfaction of traveling without even leaving your house.
Become a tourist in your own city
How much have you actually explored your city? If you’re trying to stay within a small vacation budget, consider a “staycation.” It’s easy to live inside of your comfort zone, but your comfort zone often causes you to miss out on the hidden gems your city has to offer. Ask around, use Google, head to your welcome center, or check out the Visit Montana site to find ways to get out and learn more about the place you call home.
Have a picnic
Getting out of the house is key during this time of social distancing. Spending so much time indoors can be taxing on your mental health Help boost your mood and alleviate feelings of anxiety or depression by taking your next meal outdoors. Put together a lunch or dinner and head to a park for some quality time with your family or friends while still practicing proper social distancing. You could even take the opportunity to order pick-up from one of your favorite local restaurants to help elevate your outing and support your local economy.
Camp in your backyard
Who said you have to leave town to camp? Save yourself from the pain of planning, traveling, and executing a weekend camping trip by grabbing your tent and sleeping bag and setting up camp right in your backyard. Just because you are steps from your back door doesn’t mean you can’t partake in traditional camping activities like the following:
- Singing campfire songs
- Telling ghost stories
- Making S’Mores
- Playing games like badminton, soccer, frisbee, etc.
- Exploring (PRO TIP: Google Earth has virtual tours of 31 national parks across the world).
You can get all the perks of camping with none of the hassles – and you can use your own bathroom! That is what we call a win-win.
Have a scavenger hunt
Creating a scavenger hunt is a cost-free cakewalk. To keep it simple, you can create a list of items that you, your friends, and family need to find or take pictures with, then set a timeline, and find a fun prize for the winner. You can choose any items around the house and/or outside to hunt for. If you want to make things more complex, choose a theme for all items to fit within. For example, the color yellow is your theme so all items on the list must be found in yellow. Here is a fun example to get the ball rolling.
Many circumstances could have contributed to your no-vacation summer. It may be the pandemic, a lack of vacation time or simply limited funds, but don’t let it stop you from exploring and expanding your mind in alternate ways. You just have to get creative!