So what is a “staycation”? It’s simply a designated time when a family, or an individual, stays home and takes advantage of leisurely activities within their own home town or within driving distance, and in their own home.
My family and I live in Charlotte, NC, which is a large city with tons of activities, museums, parks, festivals, aquariums, lakes, tourist attractions, hiking, great restaurants, and much more. But do I take advantage of all the neat things there are to do in my own wonderful home town? Ummm, rarely.
Not because I don’t want to or because I don’t think we would enjoy them, but simply because I never set aside time to do so. We typically frequent the same restaurants and activities out of habit, and the nearby tourist adventures fall outside of our normal busy routines. We don’t take time to see the local sights and attractions, and usually leave town when we have time off.
But the more I look into the concept of staycations, it might be a viable option for us sometime in the future. We could do a lot of fun and different activities, still sleep in our own beds, enjoy family time, have less stress and save money. It certainly seems appealing!
But there are some things to consider when planning a staycation, in fact, it may take a similar amount of devoted planning and consideration as a traveling vacation would need.
For example, although staying at home does save money, it is likely that some local activities might be as expensive as if you ventured into a new environment or popular tourist area. So if the budget won’t allow you to check out all the tourist attractions in your own city, you could consider spending time in a friend’s pool (or your own), visiting local family parks, free beaches at lakes or oceans, or camping out in the backyard or on the deck while pretending you’re in the middle of nowhere.
Other ideas could include cleaning out the garage and setting up a projector screen (or large white sheet) to watch movies or sports, with some lounge or foldup chairs available, and a fridge and snacks nearby. Borrow some volleyball or Badminton sets to set up in the backyard. If you have sand in your yard, you could purchase a Bocce ball set. Also have some of your favorite board games on hand and maybe a few new ones your family might enjoy. Purchase some seeds and dirt and invite the kids to plant a small garden which you can watch grow long after the staycation is over. If your family enjoys football or soccer, spray paint field lines in your grass.
To make it even more vacation-like, you could consider setting some family rules for the staycation, such as scheduling a specific beginning and end date to coordinate with work time off; leaving mobile phones and computers untouched just as if you were somewhere with no cell or internet service; enforcing a no-visitors rule to insure quality family time (if you have teens this rule might be hard, but the quality family time will be worth it)j; and planning activities in advance for each day of your staycation (however, you don’t want to be too scheduled in order to meet the goal of creating the feel of a traditional vacation).
Make a commitment to boycott the news and the stress that comes with it. And whatever you do – do NOT tell the boss you will be at home for vacation!
The thought of a staycation may not be something you’ve ever considered,but with the right amount of brainstorming, it can be one of the greatest breaks from work and life that you’ve ever had. And staycations offer some great benefits.
For example, staycations are much less expensive, so if the family budget doesn’t allow for a big vacation, it’s a great alternative. There is no stress of packing, traffic jams, or long airport lines or delays. No chances of embarrassing toddler temper tantrums from fatigue and over stimulation. No big crowds. No ticket expenses. No being stuck in one hotel room with all the family. No overpriced, price-gouged tourist prices for food or drinks. And for the most part, worry-free!
The best thing about a staycation….. you won’t need another vacation after your vacation is over!
Below are a few suggestions to consider if you think a Staycation is something your family might enjoy:
1. Determine when you can take your vacation, and put in a request for time off work (if needed). Make plans to be away from all obligations and make sure your absence will be covered and that you make the right people aware of your unavailability so you won’t have to worry about missing things (such as volunteering, church meetings, school or sports functions, etc.)
2. Assess your budget. Consider how much you can spend on activities and do some online research for local tourist attractions and options. Budget what you want to spend each day on food, activities, souvenirs from local tourist places, etc. Keep in mind what your normal grocery budget is and spend that money on vacation food instead, like foods you like to eat at the beach, the park, or just grilling out. Plan to splurge on summer fruits and snacks that you might not normally buy.
3. Think about what sorts of things would best help you and your family relax and unwind. Consider hobbies, crafts, self-spa services, and some of the things I mentioned above, that you can do at home. Think about what excites your kids and figure out how to recreate some of their favorite past-times at home. Contemplate special projects you want to get done (if you enjoy doing them) and recruit the whole family to participate.
4. Brainstorm a list of ideas of what you could do on your staycation based on what you know you’ll all enjoy. Allow your family to have some input, and discuss the idea of a staycation with them. They may not be receptive at first, and maybe even call you weird as kids tend to do, but they might warm up to the concept after hearing how much fun is in store.
5. Think about what you’ll need to for your home or in the yard to make your staycation feel real and enjoyable, Make a list of all the items you’ll need to purchase to make your awesome staycation vision become a reality. This also helps with budgeting.
6. Then get your camera ready and enjoy your staycation!
THE WINNER OF THIS WEEK’S SUMMER GIVEAWAY IS:
Michelle M., who posted at July 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm.
Please email your physical mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org. Congrats!