• Kim Bresseleers

Staycations, an eco-friendly way of taking time off and appreciating your surroundings

Due to COVID-19, many people are choosing to travel no further than their town, city or state’s limits. Staycations are an eco-friendly way of taking time off and appreciating your surroundings. Instead of traveling far away to get that vacation feeling, many people are exploring the beauty of their hometowns now that travel options have become limited. The silver lining is that by avoiding traveling far away, you not only limit your CO2 footprint, but also save money while supporting your locals!


A staycation is a form of alternative tourism that is fully in line with the slow tourism trend. Slow tourism invites you to live in the present moment. It encourages you to take your time, discover nearby landscapes, reconnect and spend more time outdoors in nature with the people you enjoy.

The benefits of a STAYCATION:

  • Less stress related to the organization of a trip: No more worries about finding accommodation or preparing multiple suitcases filled with clothes that many times aren’t even used.

  • Time for activities that you never do because of a busy schedule during the year: Taking advantage of the good weather to (finally) practice some sports or read a book in the nearby parks.

  • Supporting the local economy: Visit the local markets, go to the farm to pick fruits and vegetables, take part in the seasonal sports or artistic courses; or even to spend a night in an interesting hotel nearby.

  • Discovering or rediscovering the beauty of your city or region: We often forget to notice this due to stress and the power of habit.

  • Enjoy the present moment!

Some tips to put together an enjoyable and eco-friendly staycation of your own:

1. Discover Your Natural Surroundings or Go Camping.

Roughing it in the outdoors may not be an option for everyone depending on where you live, but you can still create a camping experience nonetheless.

  • Exploring the outdoors and embracing nature will increase your appreciation for the surrounding biodiversity, therefore encouraging you to behave in a sustainable way in the future to conserve it, even on a subconscious level.

  • Set up a tent in your backyard or local campground, light some candles or a bonfire and toast a marshmallow or two.

  • Camping in itself isn’t always an eco-friendly option, so you should implement sustainable practices like bringing a reusable bottle, making sure you pick up all your belongings, practicing fire safety and only staying in designated camping spots.

2. Stay Offline and Embrace a Low Impact Hobby.

Avoid reaching for your phone or laptop even if just for a few hours. The point of a staycation is to get away from the busyness of life making the concept of a staycation perfect for helping you to live in the present moment without distractions, especially from the news and never-ending notifications of social media or messages.

  • Cutting down screen time is good not only for your mental health, your relationships and your eyes, but also for your footprint if replaced with other low-carbon activities.

  • If it’s difficult for you to stay offline, distract yourself with some fun activities such as board games, a book or a new hobby.

  • Learn a new hobby: You’ll feel productive and may get to try something new you’ve wanted to do. Painting, sculpting, writing, DIY, gardening, playing an instrument and more. These hobbies are a great outlet for stress and carry a low environmental impact.

3. Go to or Order Takeout from a Local Restaurant.

Although cooking can be a nice activity while staycationing, if you’re looking to take a break and relax from household responsibilities, going to or ordering takeout from your favorite local restaurants can be a wonderful solution.

  • It is a great way to try a new cuisine and support small businesses who may be hurting from the impact of the pandemic.

  • Choose sustainable restaurants to further boost the eco-friendliness of your meal choices. When taking out, ask about their packaging to ensure it’s compostable or recyclable and opt to skip plasticware or chopsticks. See if you can even use your own containers.

  • Find restaurants close to home. This limits the amount of travel. If you live close enough, you could even walk or bicycle to the restaurant.

  • Request an e-receipt to save paper.

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