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Staycation- Take Your Next Vacation Right at Home!

Updated on August 20, 2012

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.

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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

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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.


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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.)

Get creative

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.

-Julie DeNeen

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    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      Great Hub!

      I used to spend so much time on the road that the staycation was a must. I wish I'd of had some of your ideas to have pleased the kids a little more back then. Interesting and Up

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

      I really enjoyed reading this hub. Lots of great suggestions....many of which I already do....being a stay at home dad....I am always looking for places near the house that are fun and interesting....so I will be using this hub for not only a stay at home vacation...but for our everyday living. Voted up and awesome.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 4 years ago from South Africa

      You've worded my idea of a vacation to home perfectly. Most of my vacations are staycations ~ I do recommend this at least once per year for at least 7 days.

      Voted up and awesome suggestions for a vacation right at home :)

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      How did I miss this the first time out truly puzzles me. That said I love the idea of a staycation. Seriously we went away last month for 3 days to a beach house with my husband's family in the next state and the packing alone for myself, 2 kids and my husband was enough to stress me out. Thanks for this and will definitely try some of your tips here. voted and shared too.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      This is great information on how to create a wonderful staycation, Julie! :) We do this about once a month. We make day trips to national parks or neighboring interesting places. I'll be using some of your ideas to get even more out of our little trips. :) VUM!

    • sujithbeta profile image

      Sreejith k 4 years ago from Kerala, India

      yeah thats a good idea. im going to think about it

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      This is an awesome idea! We will have to try it. Great hub!

    • profile image

      Emer420 4 years ago

      I love staycations! I do this all the time so I can break my stressful routine and relax for a day or two on days off. These are some great ideas, and there was some stuff on here I didn't think of and will have to try. Thank you, this was amazingly useful. :)

    • Julie DeNeen profile image
      Author

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      @savingkathy- thanks! It really did make a difference for us.

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      There are so many great ideas in this hub - definitely enough for a few staycations! I particularly like your suggestion of planning ahead so you can concentrate on relaxing and having fun, instead of grocery shopping and doing housework during your vacation. Well done!

    • tipstoretireearly profile image

      tipstoretireearly 4 years ago from New York

      Great tips! I'm always amazed at how many people (myself included) have never visited close tourist sites that attract thousands of people from out of town.

    • Julie DeNeen profile image
      Author

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      @Rbj33- no forgiveness needed! Thanks for stopping by!

    • RBJ33 profile image

      RBJ33 4 years ago

      Julie - forgive ny lateness - I am on aquest to visit each of my followers, read selective hubs and comment.

      There is a real opportunity in staycations. No matter where you staycation there is history all around you. Take the kids and explore your local history. There are many cities where people live, but they go elsewhwere to visit interesting and historical sites. What are yours? Go exploring.

    • Julie DeNeen profile image
      Author

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      @RbJ33- Thanks for the tip!

    • RBJ33 profile image

      RBJ33 4 years ago

      Great stuff Julie - one point I would emphazise - check out all the great attractions that you live nearby - people come from other states to visit the places you neglect because you are there already. Do a history quest with the kids and explore the historical sites in you own area.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 4 years ago

      Hi Julie, I love the bush, but I also love coming home. Dave and I are both quite happy to stay at home and enjoy the staycation, especially at Christmas when the whole world seems to travel. Up, interesting and useful!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 4 years ago

      You are so right and so smart. For the first time in 20 years my husband and I stayed home for two weeks. I loved it. I didn't have to worry about flying, airport security, bugs or anything else. We ate out, we barbecued and we swam in our own pool that I know is perfectly clean! Great hub and great ideas. Up, interesting ,useful and awesome!

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Julie,

      Great ideas! I need to bookmark this hub for my future family. A staycation, genius! :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Indeed it is, Julie!

    • Julie DeNeen profile image
      Author

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      @billy- thanks! Guess what? Tomorrow is Wednesday (wheee! LOL)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great job Julie! I'm somewhat of a homebody and I get bored on vacation quite quickly. Makes me wonder why I ever bothered to go away. Love your suggestions!

    • Julie DeNeen profile image
      Author

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      @weestro- thanks!

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 4 years ago from Virginia

      Wow, great ideas here juliedeneen! I like the idea of staying at home...I'm often ready to come back from a beach trip after 3 or 4 days so this is right up my alley. It's true that we often overlook the places right in our own cities...voted up!

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