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Can’t go out? Bring the spa to you with some home pampering. Photo: Getty Images

Coronavirus and annual leave: 5 creative ideas to have a ‘holiday’ at home

  • From indoor staycations to romantic meals to personal pampering, there are lots of ways to enjoy annual leave when locked down by the coronavirus

The weather was getting warmer, children were gearing up for summer and you were excited to bid your workplace adieu for a week or two. Now, you may be left with extra paid time off and no beach to spend it on.

Whether you’re being forced to use your holiday days now to care for children who are suddenly home full-time or have to divert your Thailand trip, the coronavirus pandemic does not have to completely rob you of a holiday. World travellers Jessica Nabongo, who has been to every country in the world, and Cedric Wood have offered up some creative ways you can spend your annual leave.

Staycation: indoor edition

If local regulations permit, you can get out to nearby parks and countryside and enjoy a hike. If it is difficult to get outside, however, there are still plenty of ways you can enjoy your staycation inside.

“You can bring the spa to you,” says Wood, suggesting people try an at-home face mask or manicure and pedicure. “If you live with people, they can all participate.”

You can also turn your home into a cinema, Wood suggests. You can take a whole day off and just re-watch your favourite films or see some new ones, either through Netflix Party or with the people already in your home.

“After the movie, you can open it up for questions or reviews, and you can just talk about it,” Wood says.

You can spend the whole day just watching films. Photo: Getty Images

He also suggests hosting a game night with your housemates and making up games.

If people are quarantined with family, you can have a no-screen day, Nabongo says.

“I know parents are going insane right now. Before you do it, allow everyone in the family to come up with ideas of exactly what they want to do and plan a part of the day,” she says.

Romantic getaway: quarantine edition

You may have had to cancel that romantic couple’s getaway to Greece’s Santorini island but that does not mean your living room cannot be just as intimate.

“You can plan a special day where you watch your favourite movie and take time to support a local restaurant,” Nabongo says, if your local restaurants are doing takeaway.

“Maybe you order something high end when you usually wouldn’t. It’s a great opportunity to have a romantic dinner at home while also supporting local businesses that are struggling right now.”

It’s a great time to arrange a romantic meal at home. Photo: Getty Images

Self-care day

A lot of times people equate holiday to going on a trip somewhere or doing something, but how about just taking a day off to do absolutely nothing?

While it is always important to take some time to yourself, given the current climate it’s even more necessary to give your mind a break, Nabongo says.

“If you lay in bed until 3pm, that is A-OK,” she says. “I think because the stress level is so high and balancing the stress of what’s going on with also still working, I think that is a good opportunity to let your mind be at ease.”

When taking your self-care day, Nabongo says it’s imperative you unplug from social media and just indulge in being by yourself.

“It’s really giving yourself permission to have an absolutely ridiculous day of nothingness,” she says.

When was the last time you looked over old holiday photos? Photo: Getty Images

Take a trip down memory lane

“How many times have I looked back at a place I haven’t visited in 10 years? I think this is a great time for people who are used to travelling to go back to your hard drive … [and] take some time to revel in the memories,” Nabongo says.

“I think because we’re constantly planning the next trip, we never get to reminisce about what was so great about so many trips that we’ve already had, whether it’s two months ago, two years ago or 12 years ago.”

Plan a low-key trip post-quarantine

With the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, it may be difficult to plan a big international getaway once the travel restrictions are lifted. But not all hope is lost.

If you’re itching to get your passport stamped, start by looking into a trip somewhere close to home – once it’s safe to travel to those areas, Nabongo says.

Travellers can start the planning process – looking at locales and potential things to see and do – even if they want to hold off booking for now.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Going nowhere? Here are five creative ways to enjoy a holiday at home