Sunday 20 September, 2020

Here's how you can staycation on a budget while keeping COVID-safe

Great deals and discounts abound online. Take advantage of as many as you can for complete staycay enjoyment.

Great deals and discounts abound online. Take advantage of as many as you can for complete staycay enjoyment.

Several countries now have COVID-19-imposed travel restrictions in place.

Many popular travel activities have come to a screeching halt. 

But, ‘summer 2020 is not cancelled, just different this year’, according to JMMB Group Chief Marketing Officer Kerry-Ann Stimpson. 

So, instead of cancelling all your vacation plans, consider taking the time to explore the beautiful island paradise that you call home by staycationing.

Travel and lifestyle blogger Teika Samuda, CEO of the tour agency Being Jamaican, who was featured on the Loop News' Young People in Business series, shared pointers on staycationing on a budget.

Whether you are travelling solo, travelling with family, or going on a road trip with friends, Samuda’s got some advice for you. 

She encourages we all rediscover the rich culture and history of our countries by staycationing.

Planning your staycation can be exciting, ‘it starts with an open-mindedness to new experiences,’ she said.

Create a bucket list of local gems, Samuda urges; whether it’s off the beaten path, must-see sites, or a combination of both.

‘What is important is understanding what piques your interest and doing a little research – there is something [or someplace] for everyone.’

The travel blogger reckons social media and other online sources are great for insight into the destination’s history and/or significance.

Staycay safely 

Safety is always paramount, and more so now with the spread of COVID-19. Here are Samuda’s tips to ensure you staycay safely: 

- Maintain social distancing of at least six feet away from persons not in your party at all times;

- Wear a mask in all public places; 

- Wash hands frequently and, where facilities are not available, sanitise;

- Plan road trips and other vacation activities within the required/restricted group numbers; 

- Limit touching of shared surfaces, such as handrails, to minimise contamination; 

- Pay keen attention to regulations and travel restrictions. These will include COVID-19 pre-testing and quarantine observance for persons who intend to travel overseas; and

- Prepare for your trip by packing the necessary sanitisation tools, and, if possible, refrain from sharing personal items like folding chairs, towels, etc.

Discover hidden gems

Samuda believes your staycay should take you off the beaten path, without much athletic or fitness requirement.  

Cultural sites are often overlooked even though they offer a good mix of adventure and are often ‘in plain sight’. 

Many historical sites can be found across the island. ‘This is not just an opportunity to have fun, but to learn something too,’ Samuda reiterated.

She warns against 'limiting their experience’, thereby encouraging wandering and getting to know the community as a way of immersing yourself and supporting mom and pop shops nearby. 

It is important to note that one must judge the area accordingly and take the necessary precautions before venturing out.

Kid-friendly staycays

Let's just say kids invented summer as an excuse to be wild and carefree, as well as to get a much-needed break from school.

Now more than ever, after being confined to their homes since March, they’re ready to go. 

Samuda suggests parents ‘get creative and use the time to bond’; a great option is exploring nature.

‘It’s an opportunity for children to experience something outside of the ‘norm’ by seeing wildlife, flora and fauna…without the worries of social distancing.’

The ‘all-year-round vacationer at heart’, shares her final nugget and notes that although summer provides a great time for staycations, it is a good idea to make this a part of your routine. 

The bonus is that many staycay options are inexpensive and fits most budgets.

They can be done on a whim, or months in advance, and are ideal for adventure seekers, those who want to chillax, or those who yearn for some unfamiliar views.

So, whether ‘flying solo’ or taking friends and family along, make the experience as simple or elaborate as you choose, as long as you have fun doing it. 

Following the lockdown from the global pandemic, COVID-19, the JMMB Goal Getter Live series has explored a range of topical issues that were shared with a diverse international audience across YouTubeFacebook and Twitter.

Over the past few weeks, JMMB has turned up the heat with a summer edition. The series explored a culinary and happy hour special and a Small Business Virtual Expo, which allowed select JMMB small business clients a platform to showcase their Jamaican-made wares.

The series seeks to give hope, lend expertise and share solutions that will assist clients and the wider public, to navigate the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

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