Everyone needs a vacation—moms more than most. An expensive flight or a long road trip isn’t always doable though, especially with a family. Forget the vacation. Say hi to a staycation, a term you’ve probably heard but might not know much about.
What is a staycation? In short, a “staycation” is a vacation that’s close to home. It has all the fun and bonding of a vacation, but usually involves less money and fewer travel hassles.
The staycation basics
Before you think about the fun stuff a summer staycation can entail (such as relaxation and fewer fights between siblings), consider these planning details.
- Budget: For some families, a staycation is all about saving money while they explore close to home. For others, a staycation might mean spending a little more on lodging or an attraction since there are no major travel costs.
- Length: One of the luxuries of a staycation is that it can be as long or short as you wish. Whether you just need a long weekend to recharge, or want to spend a few more days getting reacquainted with your area, both are simple.
- Sleep: Although it’s an ideal way to save money, a staycation doesn’t necessarily mean staying at home. After all, everyone in the family would likely enjoy burning off some energy in a hotel pool. Even if you do stay at home, that doesn’t mean everyone has to sleep in their own beds—consider camping out in the backyard or even setting up sleeping bags for everyone in the living room.
Family staycation ideas
Now, the fun stuff. Think there’s no way a staycation can be as memorable as a vacation? Consider these great staycation ideas!
Plan a free day
Vacations are often pricey, but a budget staycation is hardly out of the question. While activities vary by location, many areas have free petting farms, historical museums, or factory tours. Depending on family interests, you could also include a park, nature hike, or neighborhood walk in staycation, too.
If your staycation days are flexible, do some searching before deciding on dates—even popular attractions often have free full or reduced-fee days for local residents.
Whether you’ve lived in your town for one year or 15, chances are you often go to the same places and do the same things. There’s nothing wrong with that, but a family staycation gives you the opportunity to enjoy your area in a new way.
What do tourists in your area find interesting? A nearby zoo or children’s museum that you haven’t been to in years, maybe? If nothing comes to mind, do a quick Internet search for your city and see what visitors are saying.
Have fun with food
Vacations are often all about trying new foods, so consider how you can do that with a staycation, too. For your family, maybe that means trying a new type of restaurant or even going to an old favorite and ordering all appetizers for your meal. Staying in can be fun, too, if you’re a little flexible—for kids, nothing beats eating dessert first!
Make memories at home
How long has it been since you’ve had a family movie night? Sometimes picking a movie the whole family can enjoy is a pain, but streaming services make new releases more accessible than ever. Tons of blankets and pillows in the living room and plenty of popcorn can make even an old family favorite seem new.
If your family is always on the go, a simple picnic usually isn’t possible, either. Order in a pizza (don’t make food; this is a staycation!) and eat it outside on paper plates—voila! Instant picnic, and easy clean up, too.
Don’t forget date night
A staycation is perfect for planning a fun date night with your significant other because it’s easy to use a babysitter your kids already know and love. Whether you and your partner stick to the staycation theme and do something out of the ordinary like an escape room or cooking class, or just stick with dinner and a movie, some adult-only time will surely be welcome.