This weekend at home itinerary is a guide to how to spend 48 hours at home if you’re social distancing or self-isolating during the coronavirus pandemic but you still want to make your weekend a bit special, even meaningful and memorable.
Since we launched Grantourismo over a decade ago, we’ve published weekend itineraries to dozens of destinations around the globe, everywhere from Perth and Phnom Penh to Perpignan, Melbourne to Mandalay, Barcelona and Bendigo to Battambang, Chiang Mai to Seminyak and Siem Reap and so many more.
I used to post our weekend itineraries on a Friday, however, I thought I would get in early with this one in case you need time to prepare for our weekend at home itinerary.
As another weekend at home here in Siem Reap has just finished, I’ve been reflecting upon how mid-week days and weekends have blurred for us and for so many people staying at home for weeks, even months, to social distance and self-isolate to ‘flatten the curve’ and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
I’ve spent the last two days at home doing exactly what I did every other day last week, and the week before that, and the week before that, and…well, you get the idea. It has made me desperately miss having weekends and all that those once entailed oh so long ago.
Once upon a time our weekends would kick off with Friday night drinks with friends, dinner at a restaurant, Saturday morning breakfast at a café, shopping the local market (or main street or mall, depending on where we lived), lunch that might have segued into late afternoon beers at a pub or preparations for a dinner party at home, and a lazy Sunday recovering, perhaps spent checking out the latest gallery or museum exhibition, a picnic at a park, an early evening walk along a waterfront, and a quiet Sunday evening at home mentally preparing for the work week ahead.
For writers and photographers, and other creatives and freelancers whose work hours are ‘flexible’ (i.e. long), we’re used to the blurring of boundaries between work and leisure. And creative work doesn’t always feel like work, right? Somebody’s actually paying me to do this?! That’s when they actually pay, of course! And when we’re not pitching and hustling for work.
The main difference between then and now is that pre-Coronavirus we still had the option of squeezing a leisurely activity in between deadlines. We could pop out to the markets, head out to see a movie, or go out for a late bite to eat. Now, most of us no longer have that choice, whether it’s a lack of income to do anything, we’re voluntary self-isolating, or a government-declared state of emergency is confining people to their homes. Friends in Paris and Dubai need permits to go anywhere.
Yet weekends with their routines, rituals and leisure time are important. In a recent story by Corinne Purtill on how lockdowns have redefined our weekends, Laurie Santos, a Yale University psychology professor who teaches a hugely popular course called The Science of Well-Being, encourages people “to find ways to replicate what they did on weekends using the current creative things we’re doing in this time. Did you do Sunday brunch every week with friends? Make some pancakes at home and meet over Zoom. Was Saturday morning the day for your big run? Then head out for a socially distanced jog.”
“Humans are creatures of habit, so having a regular schedule for when we work and when we engage in leisure can help us reduce uncertainty, especially in this already uncertain time,” Santos is quoted as saying. “The idea is to find ways to replicate the routines we had previously as much as possible to bring some normalcy back to the odd situation we find ourselves in.”
That’s the inspiration and idea behind this itinerary. Let me know what you think. I don’t know about you but I’m so looking forward to the day that we have weekends again. One of my first post-coronavirus resolutions is to stop working on Friday evening and to start enjoying full leisurely weekends again as we once used to.
In the meantime, during this time of staying at home and social distancing, we’re going to start to have weekends at home and make them a bit special. Here are some suggestions for your weekend at home itinerary for next weekend. Follow it as is or use it as a starting point and come up with your own ideas for how to make next weekend at home more meaningful and memorable.
Weekend at Home Itinerary – How to Spend 48 Hours at Home If You’re Social Distancing
Where to Stay – At Home of Course!
I normally kick off our ‘weekend in’ itineraries with some accommodation recommendations: perhaps an intimate boutique hotel, a cosy apartment rental, a charming B&B, a bush glamping experience, or a seaside caravan park. But there’ll be none of those for this weekend at home itinerary seeing you’re staying in your own home. Instead, as I’ve been getting a bit nostalgic as we reflect back upon 22 years abroad and how privileged we’ve been to travel the world, I thought I’d share links to some of the homes we were lucky to settle into on the 12-month HomeAway sponsored round-the-world trip that launched Grantourismo over a decade ago.
Some of my favourite ‘homes away from home’ included the colourful casita in San Miguel de Allende (pictured above); a penthouse apartment with a wraparound garden terrace in the heart of Mexico City; a beach house within splashing distance of the sea in Costa Rica, and a crazy multi-level home up in the hills nearby overlooking the jungle canopy, where we were visited by monkeys every day; and two stylish homes in Austin, Texas, in the USA, one incredibly comfy and the other very cool; and there were so many more, but I’m going to share those in other posts. Time travelling and dreaming done for now, let’s start your weekend at home.
Friday Night at Home
If your Friday night normally begins with an after-work happy hour with colleagues, rowdy drinks with mates at your local pub, or a catch-up with friends over cocktails at an atmospheric bar, then don’t let little things like social distancing and self-isolation stop you. You have options.
One of the biggest coronavirus-era trends has been the Quarantini, a lockdown drink made from whatever spirits and mixers you might have in the liquor cabinet, fridge or stashed at the back of the cupboard, i.e. that bottle of your least favourite booze in the world that a friend gave you for Christmas, those ancient bottles of local spirits you picked up at the duty free on your last day on holidays that you have no idea what to do with, or the moonshine that you’re currently experimenting with at home. Get it all out and get creative.
I read somewhere that the Quarantini is a drink version of the fridge clean-out frittata or stir-fry, so don’t stress. It’s all good. Anything goes as long as it doesn’t kill you. Splash, stir, shake, garnish. No cherries? See what other tin fruit you have at hand, just be sure to check the use-by date. Tin lychees are terrific with vodka. No little paper parasols? See these DIY instructions for how to make your own cocktail umbrellas. There’s even a video here. Apparently someone also created an actual cocktail called the Quarantini, that includes Vitamin C. And if you do have a well-stocked bar, there are some more Quarantini cocktail recipes here.
Don’t like to drink alone? There’s another trend you need to know about: the virtual happy hour. This one needs a little planning as you need to choose your technology – Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, or Google Hangouts – and send invitations to your friends. Make sure that the drinks fridge is within arm’s reach, agree on the vibe beforehand and compile a playlist, or let the host choose the background music. More tips on the link above including keeping it intimate (too many people equals chaos), getting dressed up, getting comfy, keeping the conversation light, using Zoom’s Brady Bunch-style grid so you can see everyone, and ending the happy hour on a high.
In some places around the world, where people can safely social distance, neighbours are getting together for courtyard, balcony and driveway happy hours, where people meet for drinks in person but ensure they stay a safe two metres apart from each other.
If it’s not unusual for you and your friends to let drinks segue into dinner, then consider a ‘synchronised barbecue’ of the kind that this couple in Canberra, Australia, have been organising for their friends and neighbours. They make time to simultaneously start grilling their dinners from their respective balconies and courtyards. If you do decide to give the virtual barbecue a go, check out Terence’s Cambodian barbecue recipes series.
Saturday Breakfast at Home
As you won’t be able to queue at your favourite café for breakfast, make a special brekkie at home. Look no further than this round-up of our best breakfast eggs recipes that will see you through to brunch, lunch, dinner, and supper, from a frittata with chorizo and caramelised onions to our Asian-style crab omelette.
Saturday Morning at Home
If a Saturday morning at home has long meant housework and pottering about restoring order to the mid-week chaos, and you find yourself actually missing those mornings spent cleaning and tidying now you have time to do chores every day, then whip up a dalgona coffee, or make yourself one of these Vietnamese coffees instead, and browse this compilation of meticulously organised kitchen cupboards, pantries and refrigerators for your amusement as much as inspiration.
Or why not bake some bread? Terence has been baking sourdough bread for two years now and has a super-easy sourdough starter recipe on the site, along with a fantastic beginner’s guide to baking sourdough bread. If you haven’t made your own sourdough, I encourage you to give it a try. Sourdough involves some maintenance, but Terence finds it tremendously satisfying to make, and from my perspective no bread compares to a buttered slice of a boule of sourdough just recently out of the oven. He also has a fab recipe for a no-knead sourdough pizza.
Don’t have the patience or time? Then here’s a compilation of the world’s easiest breads to bake, from flat breads to focaccia. Or how about baking a cake that you can nibble on all weekend? You don’t have flour? Ran out of butter? No eggs? No worries. This excellent guide to baking cakes with missing ingredients includes 23 recipes for cakes that don’t need baking powder, sugar, self-raising flour, or flour of any kind. There are even links to recipes that don’t need an oven.
Saturday Lunch at Home
Chores out of the way, you’ve tidied up like you’ve never tidied before, and baked a few cakes or loaves of bread, so now it’s time for lunch. You can’t go out to eat so why not bring the atmosphere of eating on the streets inside? See what Asian condiments you’ve got in your pantry (which you beautifully organised this morning) and browse our Asian street food recipes for something to make for lunch that will not only sate you but bring back memories of travels you’ve done through Asia or dreams of future post-coronavirus adventures. Love Vietnam? Why not make that banh mi you had in Hoi An? Fan of Saigon? These fresh spring rolls are a cinch. Recollecting fond foodie memories of Chiang Mai? Then why not try making khao soi?
Saturday Afternoon Shopping
If a Saturday afternoon for you means doing some shopping, whether that’s a weekly grocery shop or a leisurely afternoon browsing boutiques and bookshops, rest assured you can do much of your shopping online these days – a long as you’re not ordering toilet paper.
Into designer fashion and still have a job? Vogue has compiled a list of fashion sites that are giving back by donating a percentage of sales to food banks, hospitals and health workers, and donating to organisations such as the Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, and Doctors Without Borders. Lost most of your income and on a tight budget? We hear you. The Indy has compiled a fantastic list of links to hundreds of shopping sites for every budget, covering everything from vintage/pre-loved (read: second-hand) clothes to sustainable fashion.
And if you have concerns about the ethics of online shopping during the coronavirus (will it put delivery workers at risk) or you’re worried about how safe it is to receive goods that might have travelled halfway around the world (could the virus still be on the packaging?) then see this piece on GQ that answers ethical questions. While you’re there, check out this edit of 20 online finds for $20 that make self-isolating a little easier, from an indigo tie-dye kit to a geometric jigsaw puzzle, both of which will keep you busy during your weekend at home.
Don’t have any money to spend and you just want to browse? Well, if you’re a lover of books who wants to enjoy the pleasure of gawking without having to buy, see this guide to the most beautiful bookstores around the world. Or, find free books to read here on Google, Project Gutenberg, and Open Library. Now that’s your Sunday sorted.
Sundowners at Home
Got somewhere you can watch the sunset from without leaving home? It’s time for a drink. Put on some music and get the shaker out again. We’ve got recipes for everything from watermelon mint coolers and pina coladas. Make these spicy roasted peanuts in preparation. We’ve got cocktail books here and there are some online cocktail making classes here, including loads of free lessons.
Dinner at Home
You did some virtual socialising with friends last night so why not spend a quiet night in cooking with loved ones tonight or if you live alone spoil yourself with a bottle of wine and a home-cooked dinner made from scratch. Peruse our recipes on Grantourismo and you’ll find everything from Thai food to Italian, from curries that require you to pound your own spice pastes to quick pastas.
Sunday Breakfast at Home
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at home. Browse our guide to breakfast eggs from around the world from our decade-old Weekend Eggs series.
If you usually enjoy spending your Sunday morning doing a spot of gardening, digging around the community garden if you don’t have a backyard, or shopping at your nearest farmers’ market or the local nursery, then take a look at these great ideas, from growing a living pantry and starting a vegetable garden that “takes more love than money”. My next project is establishing a composting bin on our kitchen balcony. I am eager to see if these terrific apartment balcony composting tips work.
What about some Mexican? How about spicing up your Sunday by making our authentic guacamole, our easy tomato salsa, our chili con carne, and our ultimate nachos (Lara has been making this for thirty years). And with the leftovers you can make our chili con carne and cheese quesadillas tonight.
You may not be able to spend a Sunday afternoon at a museum or art gallery, as you once did, but some of the world’s best museums, from London’s British Museum to The Louvre in Paris are offering virtual museum tours and online experiences that allow you to ‘visit’ the museums and learn about the exhibits from the comfort of your home. Check out this excellent round-up of some of the best, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and more.
Can’t go out to see a show or theatre, then do a virtual tour of one of the world’s great performing arts venues on Google’s arts and culture pages, where you can take a stroll around Sydney Opera House or explore the roof of Madrid’s Teatro Real.
Fancy some armchair travel? Google has some cool stuff on its arts and culture pages, such as this experience of the Doge’s Palace in Venice, where you cruise the canals before entering the building and wandering the corridors to ogle at the lavish interiors and art.
Our friends at Get Your Guide are using social media and YouTube to offer a schedule of free classes, activities and virtual tours with real guides from around the globe on their World at Home page. You can do a tour of the Vatican with an expert, do a street art workshop with a graffiti artist, learn to make ravioli with an Italian chef in Florence, or discover life as a drag queen in Berlin with Gloria Glamour.
If Sunday dinner at home means an easy meal in, then with the leftovers from lunch you can make our chili con carne and cheese quesadillas or make this tacos al pastor recipe. If you’re a beer drinker, try these Mexican micheladas (spicy beer cocktails) and if you’re in the mood for a cocktail, make a classic margarita.
Instead of settling in front of the television to watch Netflix, why not settle in to watch some of these live feeds from around the world. You can see wildlife stopping by a watering hole at Tembe Elephant Park in South Africa, watch gorillas in the Congo, take in the soothing lap of water or the sunset from a Koh Samui beach, gaze at the spectacular aurora borealis from Manitoba in Canada, and see the sunrise and sunset every 45 minutes or so from the International Space Station’s live stream. That’s a pretty special way to end a weekend at home.
Do let us know if you tested out our weekend at home itinerary in the comments below. We’d also love to hear from you if you created your own or you have weekend at home tips to share.