Originally published inNorth Texas Kids magazine, March issue.
Staycation has become a popular buzz word of late and a new sales gimmick used by local businesses to attract attention. But in all honesty, many of us have often taken “staycations” and they can be both fun and cost-effective. According to WiseGeek.com“A staycation is a unique kind of vacation in which vacationers, or staycationers in this case, stay at home instead of going away. One might ask how a staycation can be a vacation if it is spent at home. The idea behind a staycation is that one take time away from their everyday life, without actually having to travel away.” Whether money is tight, time is short or you just don’t like to fly and car trips make you crazy, a “staycation” can be a fun alternative. Here are a few tips on how to make the most out of your staycation.
First, here are a few tips for making the most of your staycation:
– Set specific dates and times, just as you would for a normal vacation away from home. Don’t answer the phone or check email unless absolutely necessary. Or pick a certain hour or two of the day for checking-in (if you are as addicted to email as I am, the thought of spending a week away is just too much for me!). The goal is to act like you are in the Carribean on an island for a week away from the stresses of every day life.
– Avoid the activities that are part of your every day life. Have your laundry done, errands run and your house clean before your staycation begins so that you can relax and devote your time to playing with your children. Order food in or eat out as your budget allows. You should not have to wash dishes on your staycation unless absolutely necessary.
– Replace those activities with other ones you would do on vacation: read books, play board games, do a puzzle, visit a local museum or park, go to the zoo, a local festival, etc. If it’s warm, go to a local pool, lake or sprayground and get wet! Make sure to take lots of photos, just like you would on a regular vacation! Maybe creating a family scrapbook could be part of the fun activities you plan.
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– Turn off the alarm clock unless you have an early tour date planned! Let the kids stay up late (and hopefully sleep late the next morning.)
– Make a list or plan activities ahead of time so that you can maintain the “vacation” feel for the duration. Your are less likely to spend all day playing video games or sitting on the couch if you have a plan in place. Let your kids help create the list. If you have a budget, give them choices and allow them to particpate in the planning and show them how to make the most of the time and money.
– Pick a theme and make a list of activities around that theme. If you love the beach, see how many water-filled ideas you can come up with. A hose or a sprinkler in the backyard can be tons of fun. When was the last time you played with water balloons or water guns?
– Don’t forget to schedule some down time, too! Read a book, take a bubble bath, watch a family-friendly video and eat popcorn or spend a whole day in your pajamas!
– Stay at a local hotel and take advantage of nearby activities, sight seeing and restaurants. You still save on gas and airline tickets. Check out Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine for a truly unique local get away.
Written by Minette Riordan, PhD and Certified Parent Coach. She is the owner and publisher of North Texas Kids Magazine.