When the Malaysian Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the Movement Control Order (MCO) that began on 18 March, none of us realised the gravity of what it would do to us on a personal level. Staying home 24/7 affected our mental health in many ways, and as the pandemic worsened, that feeling of unease and listlessness just got worse. And as the MCO got extended longer and longer, all our cabin fevers got worse.
Thankfully, that time’s come to an end. When the Prime Minister announced the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) and approved inter-state travel, we’ve been itching to book a staycation. A quick getaway always leaves anyone feeling rejuvenated.
Admittedly, the new normal has made us more wary about travelling. Having to track everywhere we go, wear masks, and sanitise all the time isn’t the best, but it’s necessary and something we all just have to get used to. And that shouldn’t stop you from having a quick getaway.
Staycations are a tiny dose of happiness that can make a difference in your life. If you’re still not convinced, we’ve got some reasons why you need to book that staycation ASAP!
1. Change of scenery
The MCO gave us major cabin fever. Being confined in the same space for months can leave one feeling restless, irritable, and hopeless. Some people also experience a decrease in their motivation and have trouble concentrating.
In an interview with Bustle, Clinical Psychologist Dr Shari Dade said that staycations can be beneficial to your mental health. “Sometimes, we get caught up in planning a vacation that we often forget that we can de-stress through a staycation that is much more convenient and cost-effective,” she says.
She adds that these mini-breaks allow you to step back and reflect on your daily life and environment. And when you come back to your regular life, you can answer this very important question – “What would you like to happen?”
So, spending time away from home (but close to home) can leave you feeling more motivated and inspired to carry on.
2. Take your mind off things
The pandemic has led us to over-consume information. The media has left us feeling panic. We constantly want new updates on the matter, but frankly, it can get exhausting. We’re dealing with the aftermath of the MCO that’s left us feeling more anxious — What’s safe and what isn’t? How do we reduce chances?
Now that we’re in the RMCO phase, it’s time we shift our mindsets. So gather a few friends (not more than 20 please!), book that room or BnB, and enjoy each other’s company.
3. No breaking banks
Another aftermath of the MCO was how it affected the livelihood of many people. Because of this, going on a holiday might be the last thing on your mind right now. After all, the costs quickly add up – flights, hotels, transport, and then some.
Naturally, we’re all very cautious about the way we spend our money now. Every cent counts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a staycation. There are many hotels that have offers now, so be quick to grab the best deals. Staycations are also great because it follows your time. So if you feel like ending it earlier to control your budget, you totally can.
4. You’ll be helping the local economy
Remember the video that showed us when USD100 dollars is spent and channelled back into the community, the economy thrives, and it will benefit everyone? You can do the same for your local economy.
The New Economics Foundation researcher, David Boyle told Time Magazine that when people buy produce at a supermarket as opposed to a local farmer’s market or community-supported agriculture programme, twice the money stays in the community when folks buy locally. “Money is like blood. It needs to keep moving around to keep the economy going,” he says, noting that when money is spent elsewhere — at big supermarkets, non-locally owned utilities, and other services such as online retailers — “it flows out, like a wound.”
We can help strengthen the economy by spending our money where it matters. You don’t have to spend thousands of Ringgit, but start shopping at and support small businesses. By having a staycation in the city, you’ll be channelling your money back into the local economy. Pick a boutique hotel, eat at family-owned restaurants, and support small businesses.
5. Discover new gems in the city
Let’s just say you live in Kuala Lumpur (KL) and are desperate for an adventure. The city is filled with gems in every nook and corner. There’s always something new to discover – cafes, bars, exhibitions, you name it! A tipple at Concubine KL or walk along the River of Life are two of many things you can do in the heart of the city. When planning for your staycay, make a list of places you want to go to and stay nearby.
Of course, you don’t have to be in KL for a getaway. If you’re in Penang, there are many amazing cafes that you can go to. Like China House that stretches through a beautiful heritage compound. If you’re in Kota Kinabalu or Kota Bharu, take advantage of the breath-taking nature these coastal towns have to offer.
6. You finally have the time to do what you like
With some time off on your hands (and all that annual leave you never took piling up), it’s due time for you to disconnect and relax to your heart’s content. Treat yourself to a nice meal at a cafe that you’ve wanted to try for a while now, or opt to stay in and enjoy the comforts of your cosy hotel room. You make the rules for your own staycation!
7. You get to take nice pics to update your ‘Gram or photo album
Look, who doesn’t like seeing nice pictures on Instagram? It doesn’t matter whether it was your first time lounging in an infinity pool, or you had a nice brunch at a new restaurant in your most flattering dress – let yourself enjoy these experiences and share them online! Yes, some of us would rather keep these experiences to ourselves. But, these little moments that you’ve enjoyed could be memorable ones, and photos are the best way to preserve these memories.
Whether you opt to post your pics on Instagram or just want to keep them in your gallery for the occasional look-see – the main takeaway is to archive the memories and experiences that you made.
8. You get to enjoy a hassle- and worry-free holiday experience
The beauty of booking a staycation is how flexible and hassle-free it can be! Compared to travelling internationally, you don’t need to check your passport expiration date, apply for visas, or fight for room reservations during peak holiday periods. Instead, let your staycation options cater to your needs!
Can’t find a pet-sitter during your staycation period? Opt for a residence or hotel that allows guests to bring pets. Looking for a big space to fit your family? Book an entire villa! Can’t make it for the booked dates? Make sure that the hotel offers flexible scheduling and simply call to push back your check-in date.
This article was originally published on 6 July 2020.