7 Tips for Having the Best Staycation Ever!

Get ready for a family vacation that’s affordable and fun.

Jun 22, 2020

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Summer is here! Traditionally, this is the ideal time for family trips, exploring new places, and enjoying the outdoors. Recent restrictions may change the way we travel, but not the fun aspect. In fact, your new style of vacation is stress free and will save you money.  

Many holidaymakers feel that vacations are times to spend freely and Marketwatch reports that 75 percent of Americans go into debt on vacation. So how does one have the best family vacay ever and save money? You take a vacation from the comfort of your home.

The staycation concept is simple: no need to stress about packing, standing in airport lines, or flying. No jet lag, currency exchange, hotel, or restaurant bills. Here’s how you can save money, have quality family time and relax on your family staycation this summer.

Be creative and plan together

Make sure everyone is onboard and set some ground rules for the family. Living Well Spending Less spells out these ground rules. Tell everyone to put away their smartphones and laptops. Also make it clear to your children that fighting is not permissible and TV is a “no no” unless it is part of a planned activity. Parents cannot do laundry or cleaning, so plan for this in advance. And don’t forget to add an autoresponder message to your office email, because you will be on vacation!

Now for the creative part! Order customized family vacay T-shirts online to get everyone excited. Then ask every family member to come up with their own wish list and write them down. Put them in a hat and pick one child’s favorite activity a day. Come up with your own ideas that you think everyone will enjoy.

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Explore the great outdoors

It’s summer, so make sure you include outdoor family time. Pack up a picnic with your children’s favorite sandwiches and snacks then head out. If you are unable to get outside, head to the balcony or claim any green patch nearby. And if you have a yard, set up a water park complete with a slip ‘n slide.

 

When outdoors, encourage your children to appreciate nature; look for birds, interesting flowers, or simply watch a formation of ants march by. When we are all in the moment, we can appreciate small details that slip by unnoticed.

 

Everyone loves a treasure hunt! If you can venture out, make your own treasure hunt right on your street or in a local park. Or, check out Geocaching – there may be a fun treasure hunt already set up in your area.

 

Time for a tournament. Buy a few trophies (everyone’s a winner) and divide up into teams. If you have a small family, arrange to have another family over. If you cannot get to the park or baseball diamond, wiffle ball, badminton, and croquet are fun games for smaller spaces. Don’t forget to wear those family T-shirts!

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Take day trips in town

Be a tourist in your own hometown or city. When life is hectic, we have limited opportunities to see the local sites and walk around, so now is the time to slow down and appreciate where you live. Do some research online to find interesting places to explore. Then pack up the family, crank up the road trip tunes and head out. Assign one of your kids to be the photographer and videographer for the day.

(Evgeny Atamanenko / Shutterstock.com)

Let the adventure begin

Adventure can happen in your own backyard! Good Housekeeping knows how to get families in the camping mood: pitch a tent or two in your garden and when it’s really dark, take out a flashlight and tell a ghost story. Don’t forget to make lots of s’mores (there is a microwave recipe if you can’t make a campfire). You can also download an app that helps your children identify stars, planets and constellations. This is a precious time to lie back, stargaze and appreciate the twinkling sky.

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Make time to bond

When there are no distractions, families have an opportunity to grow closer. Buy a 1,000-piece puzzle and sit around the table together. Every Dollar suggests you make a games day and bring out all the favorite board games, deck of cards, and video games. You can also make this into a tournament. Other great bonding activities are DIY crafts, art projects, and baking.

(Ben Molyneux / Shutterstock.com)

Prepare a cultural night

Pick a country, any country. Learn about the cuisine, then cook the recipes together while listening to music from that place. Invite some friends over for your exotic meal. Movies can also offer cultural insights. Get into your pajamas and snuggle on the couch with a huge bowl of popcorn. There are many incredibly inspiring family films and documentaries to watch – or binge watch an entire series. Your kids can stay up, then luxuriously sleep late the next day because you are all on vacation!

(Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock.com)

Create family memories

Make sure you document your at-home vacay. Cafe Mom suggests you find fun props like scarves and hats, then pose for a special family photo shoot. (Don’t forget to wear your T-shirts!) Download the videos and pictures from each day so you can make a mini movie of your vacation. After the “trip,” allot some time with the family to select photos and create a custom photo book – because your family will want to remember your staycation as the best family vacation ever!

 

 

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NICOLE NATHAN BEM, CONTRIBUTOR
Nicole is an editor, blogger and author who has recently left her urban life in order to be more connected with nature. In her spare time, she’s outdoors hiking in the forest, mountain biking or tending to her new permaculture garden.