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.
Chasing Joy says
I think having a clear start and finish is so important. That way it feels like a special time and not random.
Brooke Lauryn says
That is so true. I think it helps to distinguish vacation time from regular days of work, school, and other obligations.
I love Staycations. Sometimes just unplugging from the digital world is enough of a vacation for me 🙂 . I also love discovering what’s in my backyard. We tend to take it for granted.
Reginia Cordell says
I’m a huge supporter of staycations. We do one weekend per month. We typically visit a hotel in the area with a great pool and food options. Brooke is correct, parents should schedule adult time in order to maximize the experience.
Having a clear start and finish is very helpful. Also going somewhere new in your own town can be like going out of town!
stay-cation are financially helpful when having a large family.
Mimi "MimiCuteLips" Green says
I agree with all of this, we’ve done several staycations. It gave us a chance to visit some of museums in DC we’ve been meaning to visit. We certainly drop the kids off to daycare and day camps so we can get some peace.
Kirstin N. Fuller (@thetravelindiva) says
Great idea! I absolutely adore staycations and believe they should be scheduled often especially for Moms & Dads while the kids are in school. My favorite couples staycation idea is a day at the spa followed by shopping and a fabulous meal!
Move Masters says
This is very nice article for vacation lovers. It has everything that is needed for a perfect stay. The best part is that we can enjoy a gateway with our family during the weekends itself. Interesting read.
Angelic Sinova says
Although I’m a big traveler, I do love a good staycation every once in a while. That’s one of the reasons I LOVE living in Chicago. It’s such a great city to explore (even for us who already live here!) <3
I am all about the staycation. There are so many attractions and places to visit locally. Great ideas plus it’s a great way to support your local city’s economy.
Jenn @ EngineerMommy says
A staycation is great! I love that a staycation allows us to see parts of our town or state that we might not have visited otherwise- and see it in a unique light. These are great tips for having a successful staycation.
We have done several staycations over the years and they have really helped us discover new things in our area that are fun to do. Some of the spots, like national parks, we visited on our staycations are now frequent destinations for us.
I agree! We really enjoy our staycations. We sometimes put a lot of planing in to them, but other times they are spur of the moment, but they are always fun.
I love staycations. We just put in an in ground pool last summer so a staycation is definitely in order this summer.
We are lucky that we have a lot of places within a reasonable driving distance to have a fun staycation. I think getting away closer to home is such a great idea!
Liz Mays says
I could probably use a staycation sometime soon. I really want to enjoy the nice weather we’ve been having lately.
Great tips. We don’t often do staycations, but sometimes you don’t have the money to travel so it’s a better alternative.
Vera Sweeney says
We have done quite a few staycation over the years. I have a preteen and she loves when we don’t go far since she doesn’t have to be far from friends.
I really need to plan a staycation where I live in Florida. There are so many places to see in my own backyard. Traveling far away can be really expensive and exhausting.
Great tips! I totally love having a getaway with my son, there’s something so satisfying in showing him different places, different cultures and hoping he would love traveling as much as his mom one day and he will have appreciation of how beautiful our world is.
Thanks for sharing these awesome tips. We are so ready for summer break and I am planning a family travel to Asia 🙂
Staycations are a must because as must as we are in town, we don’t take time to discover its gems. Being a tourist at home is always fun
I love a good stay cation! These are all great tips and tricks to ensure a great time!
aaronica @ the crunchy mommy says
planning the time away from the kids is so important. staycations can be awesome–once you’re out of the toddler phase!