For whatever reason, you're not boarding a plane or packing the kids' snorkel gear this summer. While it's hard to watch your friends coming home with an exotic copper tan, there's no reason you have to succumb to beaded cornrows from the Bahamas, and if you spray tan yourself and return to life happy, no one will be the wiser that you stayed home.
Do's of a Staycation:
- Do research a 3-4 hour radius around your town to find all the interesting things that you don't already know about. Plan ahead just like you would for a vacation. You don't want to waste your Monday off with research and a family argument.
- Do clean your house before your staycation begins, so you don't have chores to do during your down time.
- Do cook and bake a few things in advance so you have yummy choices for picnics and lazy meals; also plan some crockpot dinners so you can have fun all day and come home to a finished meal.
- Do clean your car beforehand. A shiny exterior and clean interior will make your day trips feel much less cluttered. But keep a stroller (if needed), blanket, small cooler and sun screen in the trunk.
- Turn off your phone and computer. No pussyfooting around with this one. Turn them OFF.
When I was growing up, sometimes we would tell everyone that we were going out of town for the weekend and then we'd stay home. Literally, my parents would lock the gate at the end of our driveway, turn off the phone and we would just chill on our farm.
At the time it seemed extreme...ly crazy. Now as an adult, I would give anything to unplug like that.
But What Will We DOOOOO?
I went to school in Evansville, Indiana. It's the most flat, boring place ever, but I could plan a staycation there. If it's possible in Evansville, it's possible anywhere. Stop whining.
- Start with your local Visitors Bureau. Even little towns have web pages now, and most cities have an actual office where you can pick up brochures and advice.
- Look into the closest National Park and State Parks. Most have activities, guided nature walks, kids education and camping options. Some parks even provide rangers who will teach you how to camp!
- Include something for everyone. If one kid wants to watch a minor league baseball game and the other wants to shop at the outlet mall, either divide and conquer or tell everyone to take turns with your family activities (grin and bear it :)
- Plan separate time, too. Get a babysitter or enter your kids in a 1-day camp while your husband plays 18 holes of golf and you get a massage and mani-pedi.
- Go out to eat. Spending SOME money is ok. A staycation should mostly be about saving on travel fees. Try the brunch place you glance at on weekends. Order apps and dessert when you go out for dinner.
- Find the tourist scenes. Many places offer riverboat rides, mountain trams, train tours, etc, depending on your geography.
- Have you ever been to the museums in your city or town? Barring that, many areas include interests off the beaten path. You can even call your local college and ask your favorite department for resources.
- Learn something new. Horseback riding, fly fishing, origami...whatever floats your boat.
- Plan some down time, too. An afternoon nap followed by an easy meal on the grill and a glass of wine on the deck sounds divine to me.
What's your favorite staycation memory or local activity?