In this month’s Teen Travel Chat, our teen correspondent Brooke offers great insights into planning a family staycation.
A staycation is a vacation spent closer to home and is ideal for fun day trips. Oftentimes, when we have the opportunity to travel, staycations are overlooked or seem less appealing to the kids, compared to a trip to some place tropical, warm, and far away from home. However, staycations have great potential to be full of excitement, wonder, and new experiences just like any other vacation. Remember that staycations are an option to consider during spring, winter, and summer breaks. This can save money and still provide the same feeling of delight that is often felt when traveling away from home. Here are some tips and ideas for planning a staycation for families.
Adventure to places you have never been before
You do not have to travel far from home to create unique and memorable vacation experiences. Consider thinking about why people travel to where you live. Maybe your family can go to these popular tourist attractions if you have never been to them before or if you haven’t been in quite a while. If you live outside of the city, you could stay a night or two in the city; conversely, if you live in the city, maybe it would be interesting to visit a rural area and experience a change of pace. Both cities and rural areas have plenty to offer for all travelers. Whether it be a family picnic at a local forest preserve, dining at top-rated restaurants nearby, swimming at a water park, lake, or beach, or simply spending time outside the hustle and bustle of the city. You can also check the Chamber of Commerce for your town and surrounding areas to see what local events may be going on during your staycation. In addition to those options, families can go to a musical, museum, go sightseeing, or go shopping in the city. Look for opportunities to explore by trying new things. You never know what you will find.
Carve out time for relaxation
A staycation is another perfect time to relax and forget about daily obligations such as work and school. So, just like you may choose to chill on the beach in Mexico, carve out time to chill closer to home as well. Allow yourself to take time to unwind and enjoy your surroundings and those around you.
While planning your staycation, include some down time for everyone. You can look for creative ways to express yourself such as painting and other arts and crafts. Check if there are any pottery barns or painting studios close by. Going to a library that the family has never gone to is another laid back option. The kids can read and probably play games as well, while adults or teens can read, write, or draw.
Have a clear start and finish
Another tip is for the staycation to have a clearly defined start and end time. Just like vacations where you may travel far away from home on a plane, bus, or train there is an obvious start and finish time. Establish a beginning and end for your staycation just like you would for a normal vacation. At your start time, check out from work and try not to check back in until the end of the staycation, just as you would for a normal vacation. This will help everyone to let go and have fun, and still allow them to get back on track with daily life once the staycation comes to a close. You can plan a fun activity to kick off the start of the staycation like eating at your favorite breakfast restaurant followed by a day of shopping. Do something to end your staycation with a bang, such as going to a concert, play, or broadway musical.
Parents, Plan Some Time Away From the Kids
Although it is a lot of fun to spend time with the entire family, I think it is a good idea for the adults to get some time away from the kids. This allows for everyone to do more individual activities. Whether that be the adults going out to eat or the kids playing games outside, spending some time doing what everyone wants will make people happier. The family can always regroup at a set time to resume activities they want to do all together. And let’s be honest, kids can get on their parents nerves sometimes and the time away from them is needed and appreciated.
Next time your family is able to spend some time away from the daily grind, maybe try planning a staycation as a cost effective alternative to traveling. Remember to enjoy yourself, relax, try new things, spend time with those you love, and most of all have fun! Be sure to check out my next article about the vacation I’m planning to enjoy during my spring break.
I am Brooke Lauryn. I am a high school student with diverse interests. I enjoy being a member of my high school band and marching at Friday night football games, along with participating in basketball and track & field. I appreciate art and music and learning about other cultures. I love spending time with my family and friends. Since I was a child I have always enjoyed traveling, and I look forward to sharing some of my favorite places and “cool” things to do with you.