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By the end of April, having had the COVID crisis deal a heavy blow to our summer plans, my wife and I were very much in need of new plans to quench our travel thirst. As we dreamt up what to do and when to do it, we quickly realised that we faced only one viable option (at the time at least)… a staycation.

Yet, being eager travellers, the allure of spending our summer holidays in Denmark was, well, not very alluring… There is just something about staying that doesn’t quite capture the “going” part of “going on holiday”. Besides, we’d already seen “all” there is to see in this small northern European country.

Boy were we wrong. We loved our staycation, and here are some tips to make yours a success:

Spice the staycation up

It should go without saying really, but in your staycation try something you haven’t done before. Even if your area is pretty small, there is always something you’ve not seen or experienced.

In our case, we had long entertained the idea of camping somewhere in the Danish countryside. Something we had effectively put off our agenda since having our children, preferring resort stays and city escapes instead.

*see 5 essential rules for city breaks with (very) young children*

So, we bought ourselves a family tent and a few other bits and bobs and headed down to the island of Møn. The island, which we had not yet visited (as a family), is famous for its cliffs… yes, actual cliffs in Denmark – the country whose highest point stands at 170.89 metres above sea level. For a couple of nights we lived amongst towering beech trees, whose branches were radiating with the light green tinge of early summer leaves, and enjoyed the simple delights of fully “off grid” camping.

Our preconceived worries of camping with small children were quickly dispelled. Our one-year-old did not throw himself into the campfire and our seven-year-old did not agonise with boredom, far from it! What’s more, we experienced Denmark, or a part of it, as we hadn’t experienced it yet.

Be a tourist.

The next piece of advice is not to dismiss the thrill of it. Ok sure, you’re not heading to an exotic far off land where every step reveals a new sight or experience. The staycation is inevitably going to share some of the patterns of your day-to-day: the conversation, the culture, the food, the architecture, you name it. But there are subtle differences, not to mention a great many fine details we unconsciously ignore as we busily dash about – most of which excite visiting tourists, so no doubt they can excite us too!

So go about your staycation as a tourist.

Staycation

For us this meant visiting the main tourist sites and attractions and learning as much as we could about those parts of the country. We did this especially on the second leg of our staycation, when we visited the island of Ærø, known for its deep fishing and maritime traditions.

In fact, this segues to the final tip:

Move around.

You might be thinking, ‘well, even if we act like a tourist at home, it doesn’t change the fact that we are still very close to home and that we haven’t really gone on holiday’. And to a certain degree you are right. After all, staying in one’s country (and more so, province/state) makes it difficult to feel the escapism which so imbues foreign travel.

Moving around within your staycation might be a useful remedy for this, at least it has been for us.

We spread out our staycation into three legs. The first was the camping in Møn (southwest Denmark), then a few nights in Ærø (south Denmark), before finally spending four nights in the child heaven that is ‘Lalandia’ and ‘Legoland’ (west Denmark).

Not only did this make our staycation feel longer than it really was, but in making us look forward to the next leg, it gave us a real sense of getting away from it all.

 

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Words: Jeremy Sacramento