Staycation- Take Your Next Vacation Right at Home!
10 reasons to consider a staycation
When money is tight, vacations are usually the first thing to get crossed off your bucket list. If you are part of a large family, the sheer logistics of planning a trip to an exotic locale requires a vacation after you are done! Enter the staycation- a solution to worn out parents and pocketbooks. Here are the top ten reasons you should consider a vacation in your own backyard.
10. If the kid's get sick, you are right near your local physician or hospital. No late night trips to random seedy ER's in the middle of nowhere.
9. No packing!
8. No unpacking!
7. Freedom from trying to find someone to water the plants, feed the animals, and collect the mail.
6. The length of staycation is flexible. You may start with three days and decide you want to extend it to seven.
5. No weird bedbugs or bizarre sleeping accommodations that looked great on TripAdvisor but didn't measure up.
4. Enjoy more time with family and friends as you explore places in your own backyard that you always meant to get to.
3. Flexibility with the food situation. If you are the type that likes to eat you, go for it! If you prefer staying home where kids can hang out, then you are in your own comfy kitchen!
2. A promised good night's sleep every night because you aren't in a foreign place or squeezed in a hotel room.
And the number one reason?
1. All of this helps you to save thousands of dollars while getting the rest and relaxation you need. No outrageous credit card bills at the end of the month.
Start with the main idea
Since you will be vacationing at home, you need to do a little planning and research to make the week stand out from any other week. Gather the family around the table and ask yourselves these questions:
1. Do we want it to be an outdoor adventure?
2. Are we wanting to simply relax and enjoy each other? How best do we do this?
3. Are we wanting to plan lots of day trips to explore our state?
4. Will we break up our staycation into segments? Any overnights planned?
5. Do we want to involve other friends and family?
Planning a one week staycation from the ground up
Once you've hashed out the goal of your staycation, you are ready to begin planning. This is one of the most pleasurable parts of a staycation because it often doesn't require too many logistics or advanced notice. Here are some tips:
Pretend you are actually going away
That means, you'll want to do the same things you normally do to prepare. Clean the house, catch up on laundry, etc. For our staycation, I actually planned seven day's worth of outfits and left a pile at the end of each kid's bed. That way I didn't have to worry too much about keeping up with laundry (unless I had a free minute and wanted to). We cleaned the house thoroughly, went to the grocery store, and everyone picked out several of their favorite treats. You can have special items in the house such as:
- Wine and beer, fun mixes for Shirley Temples, Pina Colada's, etc.
- Sugary cereals or baked pastries for the morning
- Ice cream and other novelties
- Chips and dip, fun snacks
Turn the kids room into a fort
Simply add a sheet and tack it to the walls. Put up a couple Christmas lights around the room or supply each kid with a flashlight. Let them all sleep in one room or in sleeping bags. Do something out of the ordinary so it feels more "festive". Parents, you will be just happy to be sleeping under your own covers!
Make a list of local restaurants you have never tried
Yes go ahead and go to your favorite place, but why not add some adventure? Plan to try out several local restaurants you have never been to? Maybe one night will be Thai food and you can do something that day to match the Asian theme. Plan a couple meals out- alternate with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Start off with a bang!
When the kids come home from school or you come home from work, plan a night out to dinner or a fancy meal. Celebrate the start of your staycation with a party, movie and popcorn, or a bonfire. Do something out of the ordinary.
Oh the places you will go!
If you are planning a one week vacation, one or two big day trips should be enough. Plan smaller outings on the alternate days to rest weary feet. Here are some ideas to try:
- Theme or amusement parks
- Beaches, lakes, or ponds for swimming
- Go to the movies
- Check out local museums
- Find a theater and see a live show
- Go fresh fruit picking
- Hiking in the woods
- Playgrounds or sprinkler parks
- Visit a nearby city
- Find local farmer's markets and eat fresh produce for dinner
- Bonfires with s'mores
- Sleep outside in a tent
- Go fishing or horseback riding
- Take a chartered boat ride
- Take a tour in a nearby city (architecture, gardens, etc.)
- Find a cheap local hotel and spend a night, just for fun
- min-golf, go-carts, batting cages
- Find a team building park that offers zip lining and other fun sports
- Go to a local sports game
- Go play bingo with the old people! Use your winnings to buy ice cream
- Visit the malls or outlets for some shopping
- If it is around a holiday, find special events in the newspaper or online (fireworks, tree lightings, hayrides, etc.)
My Recent Staycation
- Staycation Saturday- The Beach and Fish Tale | Life According to Julie
Tales of our personal staycation!
Vacations are not always just about traveling. You will want a good dose of relaxation and bonding. Why not add a few of these quirky ideas to your staycation?
- Parents, plan a scavenger hunt that requires you and the kid's to run around town collecting local items
- Film it and add hilarious music- put it up on YouTube
- Go to a bookstore and buy a recipe book- then cook an outrageous meal for the whole family
- Plan a backyard party for family and friends to come watch your video and eat the food you prepared
- Plan a harmless and humorous prank to pull off on your neighbor- the more elaborate the better
- Go to a store and dress up in crazy clothes- take photos and make a collage of the weirdest photoshopped family album ever
- Make a music video together
- Find a fun arts and crafts project and work on it during the day as a family- have a gathering at night to showcase your work to family and friends
- Go on family bike rides
- Buy local postcards and send them to family and friends
Stay away from your normal routine
Part of what makes vacation so much fun, is the break from the mundane day-to-day. You'll have to work a bit harder to avoid the usual pitstops you make everyday. Try to change up your routine to trick your mind into feeling like you are somewhere else. Here are some ideas:
- Buy paper goods for the week so you don't have to do any dishes
- If you normally wake up early to get chores done, use the time to take an early morning bike ride
- If you can't afford meals out, go out for dessert instead
- Hire a teenager or neighbor to come in each day and act like the hotel maid- make the beds, etc.
- Don't answer your home phone. Put a message on the machine explaining your on vacation
Get a babysitter for at least one night
Remember, this is your vacation too. Get your favorite sitter and have one date night. Eat at a fancy restaurant and go park that car and make out like teenagers. Make sure you have a bottle of wine at home waiting for you. Candles couldn't hurt either.
Take lots of photos
Do all the same things you would do if you were on vacation. Even though you know the area, you will feel like you are on vacation if you are snapping photos of even the small outings. At the end of your staycation, make an album of all the things you did. If you continue with the staycation idea year after year, you will have to work that creative brain to continue finding new parts of your state that you haven't seen yet. It's almost a challenge!
You can vacation longer when you staycate
Whereas a vacation far away costs hundreds of dollars a day, there is no reason why you can't make your staycation at least a week. The longer it is, the more likely that you will get to a feeling of true rest and relaxation. When we staycated, the vacation lasted 10 days, longer than we could ever normally afford. By the time it was over, we were sufficiently relaxed and looking forward to coming home.
That is the whole reason to vacation right? You want to experience something new, but you also want to appreciate home and routine. A staycation can do just that if you let yourself dive headfirst into the planning and fun of it all. No house projects, no work. Just fun, family time, and bonding.