Vacations are great, but sometimes, they don’t end up being quite as great as we imagine. For one thing, they can get expensive, especially if you’re going to be flying. Secondly, travelling long distances, changing routines or time zones and minor planning hiccups are all made more challenging when you have a young family. You might just end up coming home feeling more tired and frazzled than when you left.
The solution? Have you thought about planning a staycation this summer?
A staycation is taking time off from work to explore your own city and the surrounding area. Maybe that sounds boring initially, but think about it for a minute. Do other people take vacations to visit your city or surrounding area? What is it that draws them there? Maybe you’ve never really taken the time to explore the shops and cafes and parks and festivals and live music and farmer’s markets and ice cream stands your city has to offer. If not, maybe this is the summer to save a pile of money on an expensive family excursion and check out the sights and sounds of your own hometown.
Here are a few tips for planning the perfect staycation:
1. Hit up your local tourism information office. This is where you find the staycation gurus! The tourism information personnel are paid to know what’s fun and exciting in your area. Ask them for maps, guide books, brochures, tips, ideas, coupons…whatever you need to find the places and events that interest you and your family most.
2. Resist the urge to be productive. No sneaking into the office for a day here and there. No answering work emails if you can avoid it. No picking up an extra shift for the co-worker begging you to bail them out. No using your free time to clean your house or “get ahead” on other home projects. You’re on vacation! Just relax and do all the things you’d normally do on a vacation…sit on your deck with a book, eat out, find some water to swim in, have a campfire, buy an iced coffee, and all those other wonderful vacationy things that rejuvenate you.
3. Go camping. Pack up your gear and head to a nearby campground and use it as a base for your daytrips. Or camp out in your yard or a friend’s yard.
4. Be more like a kid than a grownup. As grownups, most of us are tired. And when we’re tired, we just want to sit and veg out…which is probably why kids think grownups are boring. And sometimes they’re right. Once you feel your batteries recharging after a day or two of staycation, enter into the excitement of seeing things through your kids’ eyes as you explore together. Believe me, they’re never going to forget the way you chased them into the water, even though it was cold.
5. Stick together as a family. If you were on a family vacation, you’d all be together and your kids’ friends wouldn’t be around asking them to come over and play. The same goes for a staycation. You take your day trips together, eat out together, make a big breakfast together, watch a movie together, etc. Most of your staycation should be spent together as a family.
6. Plan a weekend staycation. If summer vacation time is just not an option for you, plan a weekend staycation. Just getting away from the daily grind might refresh you more than you realize.