The challenge of planning the perfect staycation

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COVID-19 has scuppered all our summer plans. With no internships, no gigs and cancelled holidays, I had been left at a loss as to how to spend my summer. Although it is now possible to board an airplane and zoom to another country with face masks and anti bacterial gel in tow, I am still terrified of Corona; the last place I would like to be in right now would be an airport. Determined to not let my summer become encapsulated by boredom and cabin-fever, I thought that a classic staycation would be the cure to all Covid-induced blues. 

Now, this seems great, until one has to actually start planning the holiday. I had visions of touring around grand castles, or sinking my feet in the sand whilst sipping on a cocktail, but all these ideas require something I really do not have: Money. Considering that my boyfriend’s summer job at Wimbledon Tennis had been cancelled, and my savings account was slowly becoming depleted as a result of my online shopping habits, I realised this was not going to be as easy as it first seemed.

At first, I imagined my perfect romantic getaway in the hills of Surrey. A log cabin, fitted with a hot tub in the middle of the countryside, who could want anything else? Of course, I was met with a sigh when voicing my wish and the retort ‘I can’t say this matches the budget’. He was not wrong, coming in at a hefty £400 each, I could hear my debit card weeping in the distance.

It seemed that we could not find the perfect fit, the Goldilocks staycation we wanted.

Getting back to reality, I frantically typed ‘cheap staycations in the UK’ into my laptop, hoping that the first answer would be the holiday of my (staycation) dreams. However, I was knocked down at the first hurdle when I realised something devastatingly important I had forgotten to factor in: we did not have a car. It seemed that if you wanted to visit anywhere scenic in Britain, you needed your own form of transportation. As much as the white cliffs and the smooth sandy beaches of Cornwall looked beautiful, it was the 6 hour journey made up of one train to Exeter and 3 hours worth of coaches that made us reconsider our options. The same issue was also shared with the Lake District – equally as gorgeous, but a trek that could be considered something akin to a Duke of Edinburgh expedition.

I was now close to giving up. It seemed that we could not find the perfect fit, the Goldilocks staycation we wanted. Although we are are not fussy at all when it comes to accommodation, it seemed all the classically ‘picturesque’ places of Britain were either a small fortune or unreachable by train and foot alone. 

With both Google Maps and AirBnB open on our laptops, we tried to find somewhere a little closer to home. We definitely wanted a place that had a beach – a little luxury that is certainly not found in our home town of South London. We weren’t going to let the temperamental British weather stop us from enjoying fish and chips on the beach and a dip in the sea. Cursors scrolling along the pixelated coastline, we tried to think of a seaside town that was not Brighton (a destination I have frequented too many times to see as a holiday). 

It was then that I saw the name of a town that I knew about, but cannot say I had ever really explored: Hastings. All I truly needed was a beach, some forests to have a hike in and a good sized kitchen in the apartment to whip up some tasty, but budget-friendly meals. This place seemed to have it all. It may not be as popular as Devon, but at least we could get there in less than 2 hours on the train. 

So with our apartment booked, suitcases lined up, and train tickets at the ready, I am eagerly awaiting our well deserved break. If lockdown 2.0 occurs, at least we know that we tried and found our perfect destination. 

Image: @arttravelling via Unsplash

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