A week and a half ago I presented several reasons why staycations aren’t as lame as you might think. Today we’re going to explore some ways to make staycations fun and interesting.
I believe that one significant reason staycations have a reputation of being boring is that vacationers often don’t treat them as true vacations. Instead, they simply try to do something fun as they go about everyday life. Of course this isn’t particularly exciting! In order to have enjoyable staycations, we have to break out of our routines and create the atmosphere of a traditional vacation.
Dos and don’ts of enjoyable staycations
- Do activities that aren’t routine. If you go to the zoo every summer, then a trip to the zoo isn’t a staycation. If you live on the beach, then spending the day at the beach isn’t a staycation. In order to have exciting staycations, we have to choose activities that are out of the ordinary.
- Don’t do all of your regular chores. One great thing about traveling is that it generally eliminates the need to complete common chores (e.g., cooking dinner, washing dishes, picking up the house). If you stay at home during a staycation, then it’s tempting to keep up with these chores. It’s important to resist this urge so the staycation is a true break. Consider eating out, getting takeout, or preparing convenience foods to minimize time spent in the kitchen. Allow laundry to pile up a bit. Don’t worry about the smudges on the windows that need to be wiped clean. These tasks can wait until the staycation is over.
- Do spend time together as a family. When we get away for vacations, we have lots of uninterrupted time to spend with our families. When staycationing, interruptions are more difficult to avoid. We have to be disciplined to say “no” to non-staycation activities. In other words, mom needs to skip her sewing circle, Suzie needs to skip her friend’s sleepover, and Tommy needs to skip baseball practice.
- Don’t spend lots of time on social media or watching TV. It’s easy to veg out in front of a screen (e.g., TV, computer, tablet) when we have downtime. However, screen time isn’t generally an activity that creates special memories or fosters closeness with our family members. Subsequently, it’s best to limit screen time and maximize face-to-face interactions during staycations.
- Do take lots of photos. Break out the camera and take some photos to help you preserve memories of your staycation! You’d likely do this if you were traveling for a vacation, so you should definitely do it while staycationing, too.
- Don’t complete home improvement projects. The break you have for your staycation is not a time to get caught up on work around the home. You’re not really taking a break if you paint the house or make repairs to the fence. It’s fine to take time off specifically to address projects like these, but it should be time that is delineated from your staycation.
Where to stay
Because staycations occur at or near your home, there are just a few options when it comes to accommodations.
- Your home. Staying in your home is an obvious choice. This keeps costs low and is super convenient. As noted above, you’ll need to be careful not to spend your time on routine chores or home improvement projects.
- Nearby hotel or camping. Staying at a hotel, bed and breakfast, or going camping in a nearby area will cost you a bit, but it does get you into an environment that is free of the distractions and demands of your home. Consider going at an off-peak time to save a little money.
- Home swap or exchange. In a home swap, two families exchange homes for a set period of time. There is typically no cost involved in the swap, so this is an affordable option. For your safety and comfort, be sure to do some research before doing a home exchange.
What to do
As I stated earlier, the key to an enjoyable staycation is to break out of the routine and create the atmosphere of a traditional vacation. What is routine for my family will differ from what is routine for your family. Therefore, you’ll have to sift through staycation ideas until you find some that are novel for your family. I’ve listed some ideas below, but they are just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. If you do a quick search online, you’ll find scores of additional ideas.
- Go on factory, farm, or manufacturing tours
- Visit nearby national parks
- Go geocaching or letterboxing
- Visit local waterparks or amusement parks
- Check out hole-in-the-wall restaurants in your city
- Go camping in your backyard
- Visit aquariums, zoos, and museums
- Go on a scenic train ride
- Visit historical sites in your community
- Go backpacking
- Attend local sporting events
- Visit a nearby botanical garden
- Go antiquing
- Take the kids to visit every playground in your city
What staycation ideas and tips do you have? Share them in the comments section below.