Due to the COVID pandemic, many vacation destinations are closed and most — if not all — SF/F/H conventions are either postponed until next year or going virtual (not same). That means you can’t travel to those vacation spots you planned on. So, what is a genre traveler who is chomping the bit to get out of the house to do? I’ve got some ideas for you …
Believe it or not, it is possible to have a wonderful, sf/f/h-filled staycation in your own local. This is in part because it costs a lot less — no spending on travel, lodging and food (well not as much as you would when staying in a hotel). In addition, by staying in town — or at home — you can avoid the stress of traveling, sleeping in a different bed, and paying too much to eat every meal at a restaurant. Spend that money on more enjoyable activities.
Here are some ideas for enjoying your vacation at home, while indulging your love of science fiction, fantasy and/or horror:
1. Can’t Travel to Your Destination? Bring Your Destination to Your Living Room!
Love the beach? Maybe you can’t travel to a beach, but you can bring the beach to your home. Get out your beach toys, display them around your living room, and watch a bunch of genre-themed beach movies. Here are some suggestions:
- Sharktopus Versus Pteracuda (2014) available on Amazon Prime and Blu-Ray
An American scientist creates a half-pterodactyl, half-barracuda monster which, of course, escapes, so the half-shark, half octopus creature from Sharktopus (2010) has to stop it. Hey! Why not make it a double feature! And, if you’re up to, it you can throw in Sharktopus Vs. Whalewolf (if you have Amazon Prime).
- Sand Sharks (2012) available on Amazon Prime, DVD and Blu-Ray
Sharks that have evolved to swim in sand are terrorizing local beaches. Yeah, that could totally happen.
- The Sand (2015) available on Amazon Prime and DVD
A munch of college grads party on the beach only to discover that the sand is carnivorous!
OK. That’s enough cheese. Perhaps you want something of a little higher quality.
- Jaws (1975) available on Amazon Prime and a variety of other formats
This Steven Spielberg classic made a lot of people afraid to go to the beach. Based on the novel by Peter Benchley, Roy Scheider stars as a local Sheriff who teams up with a marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and an old fisherman (Robert Shaw) who has to hunt down a killer shark and save the town’s tourist income.
- On the Beach (1959) available on DVD and Blu-Ray
Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner star in this post-apacalyptic film set in Australia about people coming to terms with the idea that all life will be destroyed in a matter of months.
- The Abyss (1989) available on Amazon Prime and DVD
This movie takes place more under the water than at the beach, but its close enough. When it first came out, I thought it was a horror film from the trailers and almost didn’t go see it. But it is really a first contact story that has a lot of intriguing science fiction and is supported by a good cast.
You can apply this same basic template to any type of vacation:
- Decorate your living room to fit the theme
- Gather a bunch of movies that fit the theme
- Serve appropriate food while watching your own personal themed movie festival
2. Can’t Travel to Far-Off Locals? Travel in Your Mind!
Pre-COVID, did you find it hard to keep up with the latest epic fantasy series you were reading? It can be hard to find time to read when you always seem to be busy with work. Why not take advantage of your government-suggested free time and relax with some good books. This is a great time to get some of those books collecting dust in your library read. Before the lockdown, I had purchased a few Doctor Who novelizations. Maybe I should follow my own advice and read them!
Who says travel has to be something you physically do? If you can’t travel to new locations, you can’t travel in your mind. A book is a great way to get there.
3. Spend a Day at the Movies
Depending on your location, there may be a cinema that has re-opened its doors. My husband and I found one in Red Wing, MN, that has been playing older films while they way for the new releases to come out sometime this month or later. In the first two weeks we saw Black Panther (again) and the live-action Beauty and the Beast, which I had missed when it was originally released.
It is pretty clever how they’re maintaining social distancing and keeping things safe. This particular theatre markets off three seats between guest parties and only has every other row open. In addition, they are allowing over an hour between showing for clean-up and disinfecting.
On a really hot summer day, you might even be able to pack in three or more movies on the same day. The real cost is food. Consider watching one movie, then heading out for lunch (if you can find an open restaurant). You’ll be full and satisfied for the next couple of movies.
Genre Travelers Can Have Fun at Home
A staycation can be a better option than going out of town. The sights might be familiar, but you’ll have more money to spend on entertainment if you stay at home. Use your vacation time wisely, get out of the house when you can, and enjoy your time off.