Everything you need to plan a truly relaxing staycation

Courtney Thompson, CNN Underscored
Fri May 15, 2020

CNN Underscored has interviewed experts to find the best options to help you cope during this uncertain time. Find all our coronavirus-related coverage here, and let us know your thoughts here.

Ah, vacation. It's where we want to be 24/7, soaking in the sights and sounds of a new locale. But given the coronavirus pandemic occurring worldwide, most travel plans are indefinitely on hold.

In the event that you do have some vacation time coming your way, you should definitely still take it. Why? Because you're about to embark on a staycation.

One could argue that many of us have been living a self-quarantined staycation for months now, but we disagree. If you've been fortunate enough to stay at home, your time may have been crammed full of to-dos, from laundry and cleaning, to paying bills and preparing meals, to, you know, trying to work your normal jobs while working from home, too. Meaning: We haven't spent much time enjoying ourselves, or our homes, for that matter.

A staycation, however, is a departure from all that. Especially if you've still been going to work, think of this as simply a relaxing vacation in your home. Whether it's a long weekend or an entire week, you get to choose what each day will entail. Yes, taking a much-needed mental health break from your normal routine (and from the world news) is key to recharging your batteries — but so is, say, having a frozen margarita at 11 a.m., taking a nap in your new hammock or grilling up Neapolitan pizzas in your backyard.

We've rounded up everything you need to reach full vacation chill mode right in your own home. From dreamy bistro lights for your outdoor space to the new waterproof Kindle to a self-tanning lotion loved by thousands, these are the products that are going to make you feel relaxed, pampered and blissed-out happy.

Ban.do Inflatable Heart-Shaped Pool ($85; urbanoutfitters.com)

Ban.do Inflatable Heart-Shaped Pool

Lounging in your backyard is about to get a whole lot more fun, thanks to this heart-shaped inflatable pool. In addition to keeping you cool (it holds up to 12 gallons of water), the 70-by-60-inch pool is going to be Instagram gold, too. For more inflatable and above-ground pool options, see our guide here.


Latitude Run Carrollton Spreader Bar Hammock with Stand ($125.99, originally $161.95; wayfair.com)

Latitude Run Carrollton Spreader Bar Hammock with Stand

Equipped with its own stand and comfy pad for lounging, this hammock can reinvent the already glorious experience of an al fresco nap.


Society6 Picnic Blanket ($79.20, originally $99; society6.com)

Society6 Picnic Blanket

Your go-to retailer for uplifting artwork also carries some seriously pretty outdoor gear, like this 50-by-60-inch water-resistant picnic blanket that comes in hundreds of fun patterns and includes a carrying harness for easy transportation. You can also get a coordinating sling chair, folding stool, outdoor floor cushion and more to create a whimsical lounging area right on your grass.


Personalized Picnic Table Wine Carrier ($180; uncommongoods.com)

Personalized Picnic Table Wine Carrier

Picnics are great in theory, but the execution can be tricky when your table is the bumpy ground. Eliminate all that awkwardness with this totally gorgeous cherrywood picnic carrier that transforms into a table with legs. For a bit of romance, you can have a name and date engraved, too.


Best Choice Products Set of 2 Lounge Chair Recliners ($99.99; amazon.com)

Best Choice Products Set of 2 Lounge Chair Recliners

A comfy lounge chair is a must for a staycation. These are ergonomic (to help your probably aching back), lightweight and foldable, and the set even comes with a tray for your cocktails. Yes, there are cupholders, too.


Freeport Park Eastwood 9' Market Umbrella ($119.99; wayfair.com)

Freeport Park Eastwood 9' Market Umbrella

And of course you need an umbrella to go with those lounge chairs. We like this one, since it comes with a stand and pretty lights underneath to illuminate said cocktails.


Compact Swivel Cheese Board with Knives (starting at $42; uncommongoods.com)

Compact Swivel Cheese Board with Knives

Want some cheese to go with those outdoor drinks? It's what your favorite hotel would offer you poolside, after all. This swivel cheese board comes with its own lovely set of knives and has plenty of room for all your favorite cheese varieties, as well as nuts and charcuterie.


QKK Mini Projector ($129.99; amazon.com)

QKK Mini Projector

Movie marathons are a key staycation component, and watching under the stars elevates the whole experience. Enter: this high-resolution LED portable projector that comes with a 100-inch screen. It easily connects to TV sticks, smartphones, video games, PCs, Macs and more.


Brightech Ambience Pro Waterproof Outdoor String Lights (starting at $34.99; amazon.com)

Brightech Ambience Pro Waterproof Outdoor String Lights

Looking for an immediate ambiance-booster for your outdoor living room? Retro-looking bistro lights are the answer. For this weatherproof, dimmable option, we recommend stringing them overhead to create a canopy of warm lighting, just like those al fresco restaurants perched on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast.


Millwood Pines Janes Steel Wood-Burning Fire Pit Table ($135.99, originally $399.99; wayfair.com)

Millwood Pines Janes Steel Wood-Burning Fire Pit Table

You can never have too many fun outdoor activities during a staycation, and a fire pit offers endless options. Circle 'round for some good old-fashioned marshmallow roasting, or pour yourself a glass of wine and settle in for some cozy storytelling.


2' x 3' Wood Bean Bag Toss Ombre Stripes - Sun Squad ($80; target.com)

2' x 3' Wood Bean Bag Toss Ombre Stripes - Sun Squad

This cornhole set comes with two truly gorgeous 2-by-3-foot boards and eight complementary bags. Consider this the opposite of an eyesore.


Ooni Koda Gas-Powered Pizza Oven ($329; goop.com, ooni.com, thegrommet.com)

Ooni Koda Gas-Powered Pizza Oven

Craving some authentic Neapolitan pizzas, the kind you'd be served if you were on holiday in Italy? Well, now you can whip them up right in your own backyard, thanks to the uber sleek-looking Koda oven by Ooni.

The portable device is incredibly easy to assemble — simply pull it out of the box, unfold the legs and connect the carbon steel oven to a gas tank. Next up: Heat the Koda for 15 minutes (it reaches up to 932 degrees F). Once it's hot, it can begin churning out fully cooked pies every 60 seconds, or roasting fish, veggies and steaks. Pizza party, anyone?


Cabana Melamine Dinnerware, Set of 12 ($79.56, originally $99.50; surlatable.com)

Cabana Melamine Dinnerware, Set of 12

It's hard not to feel like you're on vacation when you take your meals outdoors, and this tropical print set of melamine plates will only add to the tropical vibes. Dishwasher- and microwave-safe, the set also coordinates with a matching platter, serving bowl and tray with handles.


Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker ($189.99; target.com)

Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker

Nothing says "vacation" like a frozen cocktail, right? Right. Take full advantage of your time off by treating yourself to a margarita, frosé or whatever boozy slush is calling your name, prepared in this frozen drink machine. After all, it's 5 o'clock somewhere. And for a more budget-friendly option, check out this one from Wayfair in a pretty aqua color.


Bose SoundLink Micro ($99; amazon.com)

Bose SoundLink Micro

Keep your Bob Marley tunes seamlessly flowing indoors and out with this speaker from Bose. Waterproof enough that you don't have to worry if it drops in the pool, it has a wireless range of approximately 30 feet and provides six hours of playtime. You can stream music via Bluetooth when Wi-Fi isn't available.


Mexican Cocktail Kit ($35; uncommongoods.com)

Mexican Cocktail Kit

Happy hour at your house is about to be en fuego with this traditional citrus and tequila cocktail, found at festivals in Jalisco, Mexico, served in the two clay cups that come with the set. The set also includes chili salt, a hand juicer for the citrus, and a recipe. Yep, this is a staycation no-brainer.


Hasbro Family Grab & Go Variety Pack Bundle ($35.99; amazon.com)

Hasbro Family Grab & Go Variety Pack Bundle

Game nights are always a good idea, especially when you don't have work the next day, and this set of four classics covers all your bases. Each of the included games — Clue, Monopoly, Connect 4 and Hungry Hungry Hippo — comes in miniature size, making them perfect for traveling (even if it's only to your backyard or balcony).


Kindle Paperwhite ($129.99; amazon.com)

Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle recently launched an improved Paperwhite that is thinner and lighter than the previous iteration — and now it's waterproof, too! The glare-free device also has twice the storage (8 GB, or pay an extra $30 for 32 GB) and one battery charge can last several weeks. More to know: It comes with three months of free Kindle Unlimited and is Audible-compatible via Bluetooth speakers or headphones.

Looking for some perfect beach read recommendations? Head to the Kindle store to find out what's climbing Amazon's charts — like "The Testaments," Margaret Atwood's sequel to "The Handmaid's Tale," and Oprah's Book Club pick, "American Dirt."


Gulaki Hands-Free Portable Neck Fan ($23.95; amazon.com)

Gulaki Hands Free Portable Neck Fan

If you're spending a lot of time outdoors this staycation, you're going to want to stay cool — and there's no better way than with this portable, hands-free neck fan. The lightweight device has built-in batteries, three speed settings and adjustable fan angles and comes in three colorways.


Brooklinen Super Plush Robe ($98, brooklinen.com)

Brooklinen Super Plush Robe

Self-care is a staycation must, and ensconcing yourself in a sumptuous bathrobe is key to that process. Just as its name suggests, this puppy is ultra-fluffy and will swallow you up in cozy, long-staple Turkish cotton. The deep pockets can hold all your must-haves, while the sturdy waist-tie will make you feel snug as a bug.


Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer ($21.99; target.com)

Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer

Most skin care lines packed with vitamin C and tripeptides cost three times as much as this line from Bliss, which features an ultra-hydrating moisturizer, a firming serum and the elasticity-boosting eye cream. The spa-grade products are all vegan and free of dyes, parabens and phthalates and, based on their rave reviews, are likely to leave your skin looking as dewy and plump as if you just returned from a weeklong yoga retreat. We're obsessed with the fresh citrus smell, too.


Esarora Ice Roller for Face & Eye ($21.99; amazon.com)

Esarora Ice Roller for Face & Eye

An Underscored favorite, this ice roller feels like the spa treatment that could have been, with the ice-cold roller helping to depuff the face and even ease migraines.


Coola Organic Sunless Tan Firming Lotion ($46; sephora.com)

Coola Organic Sunless Tan Firming Lotion

One thing a staycation won't give you is a St. Barts-level tan. This organic lotion, a favorite of beauty editors, is formulated to tone and tighten your skin, thanks to natural ingredients like caffeine and seaweed extract, while also delivering a natural, streak-free bronze hue that builds gradually. Read: You won't look like an Oompa Loompa after your first application.

The brand also makes a tanning anti-aging face serum that can be mixed in with your daily moisturizer to achieve equally sun-kissed results.


Capri Blue Iridescent Jar Candle Aloha Orchid ($30; anthropologie.com)

Capri Blue Iridescent Jar Candle Aloha Orchid

Transport yourself to the shores of Maui with the lighting of a match via this gorgeous candle from Capri Blue, which includes scents of orchids, jasmine and gardenias.


Homesick Scented Candle, Beach Cottage ($22.56, originally $29.95; amazon.com)

Homesick Scented Candle, Beach Cottage

And if it's the smell of the beach you're after (or practically any other location around the country and world, really), Homesick has you covered. This candle, meant to remind you of a cottage on the beach, has notes of bergamot, plumeria and sand.


Renpho Foot Massager Machine with Heat ($129.99; amazon.com)

Renpho Foot Massager Machine with Heat

Thought you had to go to a spa for a massage, huh? This device from trusted brand Renpho combines the feeling of shiatsu deep kneading and heat in this foot massager, which fits up to a men's size 12. After many a stressful day, can you think of anything more blissful?


Soludos Coco Pompom Mule ($79.20, originally $99; soludos.com)

Soludos Coco Pompom Mule

Channel all the tropical vacation vibes with these ultra-girly woven canvas mules from Soludos. With more than 120 positive reviews, the Coco comes in three punchy hues (cherry red, bright blue and a lovely lilac) and includes the ultimate twofer: pompoms and tassels! Perfect for padding around the house or taking a neighborhood stroll, the cozy slides will make any outfit pop.


YnM Weighted Blanket, 15 Pounds ($69.90; amazon.com)

YnM Weighted Blanket, 15 Pounds

According to more than 12,000 Amazon reviewers, this weighted blanket from YnM is how we're all gonna get the best sleep of our lives during our staycation. The blanket can be used along with a duvet cover or on its own and comes in multiple weights and patterns. Whether you throw it on for a midday nap or use it nightly in your bed, this blanket can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailers' listed prices at the time of publication.