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How To Plan The Perfect Staycation

Updated on June 14, 2016

A staycation (a portmanteau of "stay" and "vacation") is a period in which an individual or family stays home and participates in leisure activities within driving distance, sleeping in their own beds at night. - Wikipedia

Enjoy A Fun, Relaxing Vacation At Home

Staycationing is gaining more and more popularity and, in the opinion of this author, rightfully so. The first time I decided to take a staycation was just after my eldest daughter was born. Having recently moved to a new city combined with the logistics and stress of taking a young baby out on the road we decided that a Staycation would be the perfect solution for us to rest, enjoy ourselves and get to see some local attractions which we otherwise wouldn’t have had the time to visit.

Many people use their vacation time to visit other cities or even other countries, so they never have the time to explore their own back yards. One of our most fun staycations was when we had visitors from overseas staying with us for the summer. We took time off to spend with them and enjoyed being tourists in our home town just as much as they did.

One of the main reasons that many people decide to stay at home during their vacations is to save money. Being on staycation you save a lot on travel and hotels, which is great but don’t ruin your vacation by trying to save on everything else as well. After all, you can’t really consider it a vacation if you still have to do all the cooking every day, can you?

It's All In The Planning

The trick to a great staycation is planning.

The first thing to plan is the dates – synchronize your vacation time and get those dates off work.

Once you’ve made the decision to stay home this vacation it’s time to make the plans and rules. This is very important - if you’re staying home you need to set clear rules.

Cooking – decide how often (if at all) you are going to do any real cooking – don’t forget that if you cook you also have to clean up. If you enjoy cooking and find it relaxing then by all means, add it to your schedule. But, if you are like me and would prefer to use the time to relax by the pool or read a book you can make a strictly no cooking rule. Some people enjoy summer barbeques, just don’t forget that this involves shopping, cooking and cleaning up.

Unplug – so, you’re on vacation but you’re at home. Does that mean that you should answer every email that comes in? Check your email once a day? Leave your emails untouched until the end of your staycation? You are probably close to your place of work. Does that mean that you are available if they call you from work and need you to come in for a while? Establish your boundaries before you start your staycation and let your workplace know that you are on vacation and cannot be reached, unless it is a real emergency.

Home – you’ll be home for a long period of time and you might be tempted to start on all those projects and chores that you’ve been putting off for so long (like painting the bedroom or fixing the taps). Do you really want to use your precious family staycation time doing this?

These are the things that can make or break your staycation. Set the rules in advance and don’t break them, unless it’s absolutely necessary.


Preparation Is Key

Once you’ve made your ground rules it’s time to plan what you’re going to do during your staycation and then you need to prepare.

The internet is your friend. Look up things to do in your local area and see what attractions it has to offer. You may have lived there all your life but are unware of some of the fun things to do around town that are worth a visit. Look for free local attractions, there are always sure to be a few. Also, get a local travel guide. Check sites like Yelp for recommendations of local restaurants and attractions.

Budget – As with any other vacation you must budget. Decide how much you are able to pay for meals and other attractions and then see if you have find deals and coupons for restaurants and things to do in your area (try Groupon and other online coupon sites), you don’t want to blow all the money you’ve saved by taking a staycation on these things.

Plan activities for all types of weather.

Visit the library a couple of days before your planned staycation date and borrow some books for the whole family. While you’re there check if there are any family friendly events planned during your staycation.

Find a babysitter for the evenings that you want to go out as a couple.

Give the house a thorough cleaning before your staycation starts, because during this period you won’t be spending much time on cleaning.


What Exactly Do You Do On A Staycation?

Well, just like any other vacation, each family does whatever it is that they enjoy doing best.

Here are a few ideas for starter staycationers:

  • Sleep late! That is, if the kids let you.
  • Spend time at the pool – whether it is in your backyard or a local community pool.
  • Visit a local water park.
  • Beach time – if you live near the beach make a point of going at least once during your staycation.
  • Boat or ferry trip – check if there is a short boat trip around your area.
  • Visit the mall.
  • Zoo or aquarium – the kids will love it!
  • Discover a new café, restaurant or a new type of food.
  • Hike – if you enjoy hiking visit local nature parks and do a day hike route.
  • Visit a local museum.
  • Visit a local science center.
  • Go for a walk – go somewhere new by foot, a fun way to get some exercise and to get to know your town.
  • Visit a local park – this could include a picnic.
  • Visit a local historic place of interest. Teach your kids about the history of their home town.
  • Visit an amusement park.
  • Take a class – this is a great opportunity to try that pottery or woodworking class you’ve always wanted to take.
  • Meet up with friends at a café or restaurant (you won’t have the stress or bother of hosting and cooking).
  • Visit a spa.
  • Visit local festivals.
  • Travel differently – explore your city by bike, or if you usually travel by car take the kids on a train ride.
  • Movie night – either at the local cinema or at home, snuggled under the blankets with popcorn.
  • Family fun activities – paintball, laser tag, mini golf and bowling.
  • Culture – enjoy an evening at the theater.
  • Family games night at home.
  • Take a tour of a local factory, winery or brewery.
  • Go camping in a nearby campsite.
  • Spend a day volunteering (find information on the internet).

It can be lots of fun rediscovering your city and exploring places you haven’t visited before, relaxing at home and spending time together as a family. Whatever you choose to do on your staycation I hope there’s lots of laughter involved and lots of wonderful memories are made.

Have you ever taken a staycation? I’d love to hear about your staycations.


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    • Happymommy2520 profile image

      Amy 16 months ago from East Coast

      O am loving your list on staycation ideas. The winter break is coming up and we are saving our pennies for our spring vacation. We will be enjoying a staycation and love the idea of visiting an indoor pool or waterpark. I also like the camping suggestion if the weather is ok. Thanks for the inspiration!