Need a mental vacation? Take a Movie Night Staycation

While I’m not normally an advocate of a “Staycation” as a valid form of travel, nor entertainment (well, okay if you manage to really create an Island Paradise in your backyard think a truck load of sand, swimming facilities and umbrella drinks then it might be okay) I understand that sometimes you just can’t get around to getting out. Whether it’s the weather that’s kept you indoors, or lack of funds, or just a case of the “I’m not getting off my butt todays,” you can still enjoy a mental vacation to anywhere in the world, with just a little preparation.

Today’s backyard travel tip is to create your own Movie Night Staycation; the perfect remedy for a boring fall weekend. Invite some friends over or snuggle up with Fluffy and watch your favorite place-based film to enjoy a trip to the canals of Venice, the Australian outback, or even spend an evening shivering on Everest, here’s how.

1.       Pick your destination:

Where have you always wanted to go, or where do you always want to go back to?

Example: Spain (of course I want to go back!)

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

2.       Get some movies:

Download/rent/find movies that are set in that destination. You can choose documentaries (select something from National Geographic or the Planet Earth Series for instance) or choose a place-based film like Under the Tuscan Sun, Chocolat, and Lost in Translation. (Stay-tuned for an upcoming list of Travel Movies for inspiration). You could also make a night of it by choosing a few titles with the same setting and watching them back-to-back. *Tip: If you enjoy foreign language films you will find an AMAZING selection on Netflix Instant Watch.

Example for Spain: the Sun Also Rises and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (something old something new)

Wishing I could wander through Barcelona like Scarlett Johansson

Wishing I could wander through Barcelona like Scarlett Johansson

3.       Whip up some refreshments:

You have your theme; now choose snacks and drinks to pair with it. Try to find something that is a specialty in your destination of choice, or just something that reminds you of that place.

Example for Spain: Homemade sangria, green olives, and prosciutto with melon (I have yet to find Jamon Serrano in the U.S. for less than $15 for 8 oz. unfortunately)

Hmm jamon y queso

Hmm jamon y queso

4. Add a few authentic touches:

You could stop at just a movie and snacks, but if you’re having friends over for a Movie Staycation, or if you’re really missing those days in Prague (or Seoul, or Brisbane, or wherever) then why not treat yourself to a mental vacation by finding more ways to recreate your favorite place like:

  • Music
  • Pictures (a slideshow of your own pics or just Google “Beautiful …. fill-in-the-blank)
  • Costumes* (only recommended if you’re not going on a Staycation alone)
  • Games

Examples for Spain: 1) Flamenco, Ojos de Brujo, Chambao and Macaco are playing before the movies and during intermission

2) Everyone that has been to Spain (or wants to) emails their top 5 favorite pics to share and narrate on the big screen

3) Flamenco dresses, bullfighting outfits (or the best approximations we can manage) and FC Barcelona (or Real Madrid) attire  

4)Flamenco dance-off, play your favorite board games using only Spanish words or only speaking in Spanish, or find and teach a game that originates in Spain

Wouldn't you love to rock one of these awesome frocks?

Wouldn’t you love to rock one of these awesome frocks?

5. Enjoy:

Daydream, reminisce and enjoy, but try to resist the urge to start searching for cheap plane tickets to your favorite place after so much temptation.

Any good ideas for a Movie Night Staycation I should try out or have you done one of your own?

*Please forgive me for my stereotypical representation of Spain, right down to “Spanish costumes,” but when you pick a theme you just go with it right? I know you’ll rarely see Spanish ladies walking the streets in Flamenco dresses (but I’ve seen it! It does happen!), but sometimes its just fun to celebrate the stereotypes and have some fun. Oktoberfest, St. Patricks Day, Cinco de Mayo… should I go on? Maybe someday (in the distant future) other countries will celebrate their American heritage with a traditional Fourth of July celebration, complete with cheezy Stars and Stripes costumes and backyard BBQs. You never know… 🙂

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