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With lockdowns in effect, why not vacation at home? Here are 10 staycation ideas in Canada that will also save money.

*This article has been sponsored by CIBC

With current travel restrictions due to the global pandemic, planning a vacation can be difficult — but certainly not impossible. Here’s the good news: you can still have fun and save money by taking a vacation at home.

While planning the perfect vacation staycation requires a little more creativity, it’s also a cheaper alternative to booking that idyllic resort on the Italian coast. We’ve rounded up 10 of the best staycation ideas that you and your family can still enjoy — while saving money that you can put towards a future trip!

Create a spa experience at home

Spas and fitness facilities may not be open, but why not transform your living space into a spa-like sanctuary for some much-needed pampering? Take a long soak in your tub infused with essential oils or a handful of bath salts, or give yourself a DIY facial with a few luxury products. Follow it up with an at-home mani and pedi, and for extra indulgence, make yourself a special meal. There’s no better excuse to spend the day in your robe!

Book into a local hotel

If you need to see more than your four walls, consider booking a staycation at a local hotel (if the government allows it, of course). Many hotels across Canada have implemented health and safety measures to protect guests, and they could really use the business. Some are even offering some great deals! If you have a CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card, you can use the CIBC Rewards Centre to find exclusive promotions and book stays at some stellar hotels. Plus, you’ll earn 2 points for every $1 spent on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre. You may even be able to pay for your hotel staycation with points using the Payment with Points option (as usual, conditions apply).

Sign up for the CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card and get over $1,250 in value including a first year annual fee rebate!

Apply Now
Welcome Bonus: Join and get over $1,250 in value including a first year annual fee rebate! Annual fee: $139 (first-year rebated)

  •  $139 annual fee (rebated for the first year), including on up three additional authorized users ($50 each): over $189 in value
  • 20,000 Aventura points when you make your first purchase
  • Also, in your first year you can also earn an additional 1,250 Aventura Points each monthly statement period in which you spend at least $1,000.† That’s up to 15,000 Aventura points!
  • 5,000 Aventura points as an additional anniversary bonus
  • Get a NEXUS application fee rebate ($50 USD value)
  • Get access to 1,300+ airport lounges – worth over $200
  • Enjoy a Priority Pass Membership and 4 complimentary airport lounge visits per year, over $200 in value
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on travel purchased through CIBC Rewards Centre
  • 1.5 points for every $1 spent on eligible gas stations, grocery stores, and drug stores (up to $80K spent in these categories annually)
  • 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Insurance coverage up to $1,000 for mobile devices purchased with the card

Purchase APR: 20.99%Cash Advance APR: 22.99% (21.99% QC only) | Balance Transfer APR: 22.99% (21.99% QC only)

Conditions apply.

Organize a fun games night

The family that plays together, stays together, right? So why not plan a fun night playing board games with your home bubble? While you can’t beat classics like Risk, Clue, and Scrabble, there are a world of games out there to explore. Exploding Kittens, anyone? Or for a strategic board game that’s a little on the nose, check out Pandemic.

If social distancing rules allow, play a murder mystery party game outside with friends. There is a range of murder mystery games available, like Murder at Mardi Gras or The Champagne Murders. What makes it even more fun is dressing up as one of the devious suspects.

Go camping in your own backyard     

Depending on where you live and the lockdown rules, the great Canadian tradition of camping may be off the table this year, as many provincial parks are currently closed. If that’s the case, who says you can’t camp at home? This is a great staycation idea if you’ve got kids and a backyard. Pitch a tent, toast s’mores over a fire pit, and retell a ghost story. And check the Meteor Shower Calendar to see if a celestial event is on the horizon.

Pro tip: Looking for backyard camping supplies? Collect points with your CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card and then redeem your rewards for gift cards at retailers like Home Depot, Canadian Tire and Sport Chek. Then, stock up on outdoor supplies!

Tour a museum virtually

What happens when museums and galleries are forced to close? They bring art to the people! Many museums have responded to the pandemic by making their collections available online. Using your tablet or computer, you can check out the ROM’s Blue Whale Project, take a 360? tour of the Canadian History Museum, or tour an exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. But why stop there? If you’ve always had a hankering to visit the British Museum, now’s your chance! Or enjoy the Louvre sans the crowds. Did we mention that all the tours are free?

Plan a wine or craft beer tasting at home

A trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake or the Okanagan Valley may be temporarily on hold for the moment, but you can still plan a wine or craft beer tasting at home. Right now, many Canadian wineries and microbreweries are offering home delivery, and with the click of a mouse, you can curate a tasting flight of your favourite Canadian wines and beer. Pick between three and six varieties and don’t forget the snacks. If lockdown is keeping you from friends, organize a virtual tasting over Zoom.

Pro-tip: If you have a CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card, don’t forget that any card purchases made at an eligible grocery store earn 1.5 points per $1 spent.
Conditions apply. Visit CIBC for details.

Take a virtual cooking class

One of the best things about travel is sampling the local cuisine. While you may not be able to dig into a plate of street Pad Thai in Bangkok, you can still indulge in international dishes from your own kitchen. Chefs across Canada are offering cooking classes online – from Calgary’s Chef Joey who will teach you to make Spanish Tapas, to learning to make Veal Saltimbocca with Montreal’s Ateliers & saveurs, to Toronto-based Mardi Michels who offers French cooking classes for parents and kids. If you’ve got the CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card, you can also use your CIBC Rewards to book a Breakaways Experience for two learning to prepare iconic international dishes in a private virtual cooking class.

Pro-tip: Redeem your CIBC Rewards points for some fancy new kitchen cookware! With the Shopping with Points option on the CIBC Rewards Centre, you can cash in your points for all kinds of kitchen gadgets — from air fryers to a chef’s knife set to cookware.

Hike the local trails

Research backs it up: taking a walk in the woods will improve your mood. While lockdown restrictions may impact overnight camping in our stunning national and provincial parks, many hiking trails are still open for daily visitors. Not sure where to venture? Check out Parks Canada for inspiration on Canada’s natural jewels. Pack a picnic and spend the day immersed in the serene Canadian wilderness. Before you head out, it’s a good idea to check whether a reservation is required.

Pro-tip: Nature-loving CIBC Rewards cardholders can donate a portion of their CIBC Rewards to the Trans Canada Trail through the Charitable Impact website.

Host your own film festival

Who needs TIFF tickets or Cannes film festival when you’ve got your own backyard or balcony? Create a night under the stars and host your own film festival outdoors. To DIY your own outdoor movie theatre, all you need is a backyard, a projector, and a white sheet, along with a few cozy blankets and cushions. Make it a movie marathon by screening a film series (like The Godfather or the Lord of the Rings trilogy) or pick a theme and go with it. Movie snacks, like popcorn laced with M&M’s, are a given.

Pro-tip: If you don’t own a projector, redeem your points at Best Buy or Amazon on the CIBC Rewards Centre, which can then be used to purchase a home projector.

Experience another city virtually

Want to learn how to make the perfect pisco sour and ceviche in Peru? How about experiencing a Moroccan tea ceremony, or being part of a coca leaf reading in Bolivia? Well, you can. No passport required. Intrepid Travel is offering a range of Urban Adventures online experiences from around the world, right to your home. Best of all, their classes are less than $38 per person.

The Last Word

We’re all hoping travel will make a big comeback again soon, but you can still have fun at home with your peeps. Plus, this is a great opportunity to save points now and spend them later. When borders finally re-open, the CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card gives you the flexibility to use your points for flights, vacation packages, hotels, cruises, car rentals, and more. So you can plan now and travel later!

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