Many families don’t have the means to travel far and wide during their spring breaks, summer vacations, or winter holidays, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t have fun at home! Staycations have become more popular over the past four or five years, especially in North America, due to recent financial crises and the rise in unemployment. The term was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2009 who defined it as “a vacation spent at home or nearby”.
Planning a Staycation
For a staycation to feel like a vacation, consider planning it as you would a regular vacation. Have start and end dates, daily planned activities, and have a budget. Just as one would plan excursions and activities while on vacation, families can replicate this feeling by ensuring to plan at least a part of every day. Don’t forget to plan time for relaxation!
Become a Tourist at Home
Dust off a local guidebook and become a tourist! Many people who have lived in their hometown for a long time have never visited all of the local sites. Take a trip to a local museum, art gallery, amusement park, zoo or theatre. Explore new shops or eat at restaurants you’ve always wanted to try. Get out a camera and take photos of the family having fun at home. Even pop into a souvenir shop or two and get a souvenir of your staycation.
Most towns and cities will have local tourist boards and tourism websites that can help families find local sites and events that they may not already know about. They are a great way to get you thinking like a tourist, too.
Pick Favourite Vacation Activities
Dad may love to dine out while on vacation, Mom may love to visit the spa, and the kids may love swimming. Make all of these favourites part of your staycation. Check out local events calendars to find activities and events taking place during your holiday. Planning your vacation at home during a holiday season will make it more likely for events to be taking place during this time.
Be a Day Tripper
Day trips are a great way to visit a new place without having to spend money on hotels and long haul transportation. Take a day trip to another city, a local park for hiking, or even a nearby amusement park. Pack a lunch or treat the family to a nice lunch out.
Everyone Gets a Vote
For a staycation to be enjoyable for all and to get the kids involved, let everyone in the family plan a day. Eat at their favourite restaurants, visit their favourite local sites, and take part in their favourite activities. Letting the kids get involved in the planning process will help get them excited about staying around home for their vacation.
Get it for Free
Find free events and activities in the area that will keep the family entertained. Again, check out local tourism websites for ideas. Free places to visit include: parks, playgrounds, libraries, some local pools and zoos, and some museums and galleries. Look for free programs for kids at local libraries and nature conservation areas, especially during school holidays. If free isn’t an option, go for the discount. Many tourist sites offer discounts for holders of certain membership cards, teachers, or students. Always ask about discounts before you pay full price. For free eats, check out samples at local wineries, gourmet food shops or wholesale stores.
Skipping the holiday abroad this year doesn’t have to mean a boring week at home. Planning a vacation at home for the family can actually be much more enjoyable. It’s cheaper, easier, and doesn’t include the stress of travel and cost. Kids may appreciate being able to sleep in their own beds each night and getting to do more than they would if they were away because cost isn’t as much of a factor. The staycation is definitely the family vacation of the future. Contribute to local economy this holiday and stay home!