How to Have a Great Staycation - Top 10 Tips For Parents

by Samantha on July 6, 2013

Samsonite

So here’s the scoop:

You’ve got kids, you’re tired and you want a family vacation. The problem is, you don’t have the funds to do it the way you’d like to. As a matter of fact, money’s pretty tight all around and you’re dreading having to tell the kids that their dreams of an unrestrained Disneyland vacation will have to wait until your finances are just a tad healthier.

Instead of feeling guilty followed by sheepishly telling your kids that their fantasies will have to wait, how about putting on your game face and let the family know that you’re going to tear up the town on your staycation?

That’s right - The family’s going to enjoy their respite from their daily routine by looking at their hometown, city, province or state through new eyes. The “staycation” - the vacation that’s just a few steps from home - is an increasingly popular alternative to the expensive and often stressful family vacations that we at once embrace and dread (for financial reasons and more). Surprisingly, there are a number of things that can be found close to home that are both interesting and entertaining.

Following is advice about How to Have a Great Staycation: Top 10 Tips For Parents

1) Do your research - Of course, start with our old standby, Google, but don’t stop there. Ask friends, read local write-ups, review online sites for your destinations and find out what’s on the go. Oftentimes, there are seasonally-focused programs or events occurring which may fit in perfectly with your family staycation. Gather your information together, enter your coupon codes and go!

2) Prime your Kids - It’s important to set the stage and let the kids know that this year’s family holiday is going to be a little different. Get them ready and let them know that this staycation is going to be just as exciting as any trip abroad. Rally the troops and get them primed for their time in their home city.

3) Have and Agenda - Don’t “let the chips fall where they may” and take for granted that you’re in familiar surroundings. Like any other vacation, have a plan of attack, map out your days and have focal points of interest where you’ll be visiting. Make every day of your staycation count by having a full schedule of things to do that will be of interest to both the older and younger members of the family.

4) Mix it up - To keep things interesting, mix up your staycation with days where you’re enjoying culture and other days where you’re having some good, old-fashioned fun. One day could be a day where the destinations are of an educational bent, another could be cultural. The key is to make it interesting by planning a diverse schedule that will keep everybody entertained.

5) Consider a Theme - If you have some extended time off, consider having themes that are followed as part of your staycation. For example, one week could be dedicated to leisure, e.g. a beach visit, the following week could be focused on culture, etc. If you have a shorter period of time, consider daily themes that will change things up and make the kids more engaged.

6) Check Your Finances - Have a budget allocated and stick to it. Most cities have day passes or weekly passes for transit; as well, there are a number of free festivals and events for families. Daily deal websites and group discounts or special offers are there for the taking - just do your research and you’ll find that there are savings to be had. You can also make the most of your budget by limiting your staycation to a finite number of days. For example, why not do a few two or three-day local excursions as part of your vacation? Consider getting a professional to help you plan a local staycation jaunt so that you can get the most “bang” for your buck.

7) Be One With Nature - The “family staycation” is a perfect opportunity to appreciate nature and to get the kids outside. Venture into the great outdoors by visiting parks, going for walks, and if you’re lucky enough to be close to water, enjoying the waterfront. Have a picnic with the family, go bike riding, plan a scenic hike with the kids. The key is to stop and smell the roses in your hometown - literally and figuratively.

8) Have a “Plan B” - Mother Nature can be a real drag sometimes. Because of this, make sure to have a contingency plan. Inclement weather, illness or otherwise could put a damper on your staycation.  For these reasons, make sure that you have a backup plan regarding your itinerary. So, for example, what will you do if it’s pouring rain when you have a walking tour of the city planned? What if one of your kids comes down with a fever or cold? In the first instance, you may want to consider some of your options that are indoor, e.g. museums, galleries, etc. In the latter case, consider splitting up if you can: one parent could take one or two of the kids out for the day while the other is on nursing duty at home. Whatever the case, make sure to be prepared.

9) Act Like a Tourist - You are on vacation after all, so do the things you don’t normally do at home. These include eating at that new popular restaurant in your city, taking a guided tour of some of your town’s landmarks and buying souvenirs. Take pictures of those historical buildings and look at your city through the eyes of a tourist. You’ll be surprised at what you see.

10) Unplug - You’re on vacation, remember? For this reason alone, give technology a break, and other than taking pictures of your good times, forget about email, texting and the computer for a while. Turn off the tech, tell everyone that you’re on holidays and relax.

As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home!”

Are you going on a staycation with your family? Have you gone on one with the kids? What additional advice and tips would you offer? Answer in the comments section below!
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Arianna Pierce July 11, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Hello! I had a question for you about possibly collaborating on something and was hoping you could email me back to discuss? Thanks so much!

- Arianna

ariannapierce2 (at) gmail (dot) com

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