by Nadia LAWS
Taking a “staycation” in Bermuda may be just what the doctor ordered, suggest locals Kristin White and Carrie DeSilva. Both women have opted for local holidays over international vacations over the past two years. Here, they share their top reasons for taking a staycation on the island. Even though it’s hurricane season, it can still be the perfect time to enjoy a much-needed break.
- To relax and unwind. Let’s face it: the last couple of years have been stressful as we all adjusted to the ‘new normal’ brought about by COVID-19. For health and fitness coach Carrie DeSilva, of Carrie Lee Fitness, it became even more important to take time out from the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic to relax, have fun and recharge. “Oftentimes we really needed that staycation,” says DeSilva, who says she took five or six local breaks since the pandemic started in 2020. “Working for yourself, you want to do it all and wear all the hats in your business, but I’ve had to learn to set boundaries and separate work from my personal life. Staycationing in Bermuda gives me the chance to leave my laptop behind, switch off my phone and be present. We get to the hotel reeling from the busyness of the week, but when we leave we feel so much more refreshed.” Same goes for local blogger and entrepreneur Kristin White. For her, the pandemic lockdown period had a huge impact on business, forcing her to pivot and think of new ideas and ways to generate income. “For the most part, I wasn’t as busy as I typically am when tourism is booming,” says White. “My husband’s workload stayed the same, but he wasn’t taking any time off. When we go on staycation, he puts an Out Of Office response on his email and we commit to not picking up any work.”
- To experience local hospitality. When you’re born and raised in Bermuda you don’t always get to experience the island’s hospitality industry for yourself. White, owner of St. George’s-based gift shop and tour business, Long Story Short, says the pandemic gave her the chance to fall even deeper in love with the Bermuda’s beauty, culture and local hospitality. “We live in a bucket-list paradise and typically when we have a chance to unplug we do it overseas in a different country,” White says. “Whether it’s a night, a weekend or a full week, taking a staycation allows you to witness Bermuda’s hospitality and tourism up close. You get to see exactly what our tourists experience when they come to Bermuda.” White and her husband Dueane didn’t feel comfortable travelling during the pandemic lockdown period. If ever they started to feel claustrophobic from being on ‘the rock’ for too long, that’s when they made it a priority to book a short stay at one of their favourite hotels.
- To take advantage of the local deals and discounts. When you factor in the savings from not having to pay for a flight, plus the fact that many hotels offer great deals for local guests, particularly in the off season, a staycation doesn’t have to break the bank. Over the past few years, DeSilva has stayed at hotels including The Reefs, Hamilton Princess, Grotto Bay, Tucker’s Point and The Loren. Though each of the hotels offer slightly different environments and amenities, she gets to decide whether to spend her weekend ‘playing tourist’ and sightseeing around the island or just enjoy laying on the beach, catching up on rest and dining at different restaurants. “You get to decide the pace of your holiday and can do as much or as little as you like,” she says.
- To connect with the ones you love. White has found staycations to be a great way to celebrate special moments and milestones with the people she loves. From wedding anniversaries and birthdays to a special New Year’s Eve with her family, she recommends staycations as the perfect way to reconnect and make new memories with others. “Especially in the last couple of years we have had so much stress and depressing, sad, anxiety-ridden moments,” White says. “Just giving ourselves some time to disconnect from that has been really important.”
- To invest in your romantic relationship. While staycations can be done solo or with the whole family, newlywed DeSilva also recommends using them as a chance to have alone time with the special someone in your life. Thanks to family support, she’s able to leave her son Arlo with grandparents, while she and partner Stephen Astwood intentionally go on dates to nurture their close bond. “With relationships, I believe the ones that are the best are the ones you put work into building and strengthening,” DeSilva says. “You can’t not water your relationship and expect it to grow. That’s why staycations are such a good option to pour back into yourself and give your spouse some undivided attention as well. By taking time for myself and my relationship, I feel like I can show up better in other areas of my life. Even if it’s not a staycation, make sure you have small pockets of time to fill your own cup.”