Staycations are the new trips abroad, whether you want to adventure right across the country or stay closer to home for a shorter getaway. Read on for our top tips for planning a staycation that’s safe as well as being a bit of craic.
1. Pick your base
Make the most of the end of the summer — and avoid crowds — by pitching a tent in one of Ireland’s beauty spots. Choose a dedicated campsite or go wild, but always make sure you’re in a camping-permitted area!
If foam mats ain’t your style, add some all-important creature comforts by planning a glamping stay instead. With real beds and no chance of a wonky tent, this can be a superb way to reconnect with nature… without getting a bad back.
Renting a house, apartment or cabin can be a fantastic way to get a change of scenery without worrying about exposure to other people. It also means you have your own kitchen, whether you use it to whip up decadent dinners or simply to enjoy a leisurely breakfast with a pot of tea.
Ireland’s hotels deserve major kudos for all the work they’ve done preparing to greet guests in this new normal. With new regulations in place for everything from dining to spa management, you can now book a luxurious getaway with great peace of mind… and let someone else deal with the washing up for once.
While 2020 continues to be a real kick in the teeth for us, our dogs have been living their best lives, getting more quality time with their humans than ever before. If you’re planning a trip away, keep their puppy party going by choosing options that will welcome furry friends, too.
Remember, you don’t have to travel far for a staycation — in fact, you needn’t travel at all! Save a chunk of change by having your holiday at home. Just be sure to shake yourself out of the daily grind by planning day trips, activities and meals that you usually wouldn’t, and leave unnecessary household jobs for another time.
2. Plan activities
If you like to have a few activities planned on your break, don’t worry — there’s still plenty you can get up to these days.
The great outdoors
If the weather is good to you, try and plan outdoor activities wherever possible. If you’re feeling energetic, enjoy a cost-free activity by going hiking or sea swimming. Depending on where you’re staying, you could also consider renting kayaks for the day, or riding your bike down one of Ireland’s greenways. On for a more relaxed vibe? Plan a posh picnic in the park, or head out on a gentle stroll through the gardens of one of Ireland’s old estate houses.
A touch of culture
Many of Ireland’s heritage sites and museums are back open, so now might be a great time to learn more about our history. Booking for weekdays and off peak times will help to avoid larger crowds, and might get you cheaper ticket prices, too. Sites managed by the OPW always offer free entry on the first Wednesday of every month, and most of them now have reduced or waived their tickets prices entirely to encourage domestic tourism. A full list of these sites is available here.
Even if you like to keep busy, be sure to strike a balance between activity and downtime. This is supposed to be a holiday, after all! Leave yourself some time to relax and recharge in whatever way works best for you: set aside an afternoon for reading your book, make time for morning yoga, or simply keep one full day completely unscheduled.
3. Plan the food
Obviously, this is the most important part! It doesn’t matter if you’re not going abroad this year: your holiday should still be filled with as many delicious things as possible.
If you’re cooking for yourself, why not embrace the cuisine of another country and let your tastebuds travel? Whether it’s Italy, Spain, India, Mexico or Greece, a themed evening meal is a lovely way to celebrate your time ‘away’.
We all love a good takeaway, but if you fancy something a little more elegant, check out one of the fabulous meal kits available from many of Ireland’s leading restaurants. Containing everything you need to make a restaurant-quality meal at home — including instructions! — these can be a fantastic way to enjoy a meal ‘out’ without leaving the house. If you’re in the mood for pub grub, check out our collection of mouthwatering recipes here: all you need is a pint or two.
Set the mood
Even if you’re holidaying at home, be sure to add a few little touches to differentiate from your normal food routine. Treat yourself to a luxurious brunch; enjoy dinner in the garden, rather than indoors; order a fancy bottle of wine or two to accompany your meal, or throw your own cocktail evening; choose a new, challenging recipe and make an occasion out of cooking with your partner; indulge in a luxury dessert, even if it is only Tuesday; step out of the sweatpants and dress up for the occasion; eat cake for breakfast; or create the perfect playlist for bopping around your kitchen.
4. Be careful
We know, nobody wants to think about it on their holliers — but it’s still crucial to keep Covid-19 in mind. Wash your hands regularly, stop touching your face, wear a mask in shops or on public transport, steer clear of crowds, socialise outdoors wherever possible and keep note of who you spend time with.