This Memorial Day weekend could mark the start of "homecation" season, as Americans reconsider their summer vacation plans and, instead, come up with creative ways to vacation at home.
A new survey from Zillow conducted by The Harris Poll found that 38% of Americans plan to spend more time at home this summer compared to years past as a result of COVID-19.
A homecation, which is a vacation at home, allows families to make memories and hold onto some summer traditions, without the health, safety and financial concerns that may now come with a traditional vacation.
"Our homes have never been more important or served more functions. They are our schools and our workplaces, and that can bring stress to our sanctuaries," said Zillow home trends expert Amanda Pendleton. "A homecation can bring fun and joy back to our homes and give us some much needed time to unwind, reconnect and recharge."
Some aren't waiting for summer to start their homecations.In fact, it’s really easy to simulate a real camping trip just by setting up tents for family camping in the backyard.
"Since we have been mostly stuck at the house lately, my husband and two daughters decided to mix things up by camping in our backyard," said Jeannie Bohlman of Bainbridge Island, Wash. "We sang songs around the campfire until it was time for them to get into their sleeping bags, and then they read stories by lantern-light and listened to the sounds of frogs, coyotes, and owls nearby. It was my 3-year-old's first time camping in the backyard, so we weren't sure she was going to make it all night, but she hung in there and had a great time!"
"Our family enjoyed a 'drive-in' movie," said Courtney Lavigne of North Chili, NY, who projected the flick onto her garage door. "I just wanted to do something fun for my girls."
"We had a picnic in our living room," said Josh Leblang of Seattle. "Our 10- and 11-year-old kids decided to make a three-course meal for me and my wife. When a storm came through, we moved the picnic blanket inside to our living room floor. It was great. The kids felt they could contribute and the food was delicious!"
Zillow offered the following tips to make the most out of your homecation:
1. Turn off your phone and set an out-of-office notification. Let your colleagues know that you're taking time off, even if you're not leaving your property. Extra credit if the message is a creative one.
2. Knock out any household chores ahead of time so they're not a distraction. It's hard to unwind if you're staring at a mountain of dirty laundry.
3. Save the screen time. Give everyone's eyes a break from video calls and online work, and instead pick up a good book, play a game or get outside.
4. Plan something special you'll look forward to. Is backyard camping too rustic for you? Plan an at-home DIY spa day or a dinner alfresco on your porch with take-out from a favorite restaurant. Invite friends or family over via video call or in a safe, socially-distanced visit.
5. Take pictures. Like any other vacation, make sure to take lots of photos and post your pics on social media with the hashtag #homecation. One day, you may look back on this moment in history and wish you had family photos to document how you spent your time at home.