Staycations Are The New Best Family Holiday
A staycation or holistay is when you stay at home and do leisure activities within driving distance of your house. These family vacations have become the new norm with international travel and even some domestic travel being out for now.
With unemployment being at record highs across the globe people have been cutting back on discretionary spending. One of the first cuts, and even more so now due to travel restrictions, is the annual family vacation. This is why a staycation is best for everybody right now to enjoy the summer holidays.
We All Need To Take A Break
Having a family with young babies and children is really expensive and we are suddenly spending a lot more time with each other due to lockdown. In many places across the world we are limited in how far from our houses we are able to travel.
For many travel inclined folks with a real case of wanderlust this can be a total drag. A staycation could be just the answer to get away from work and enjoy a fun family vacation.
Rest and relaxation doesn’t have to happen at a destination far away, that is what a staycation is all about. We all need to enjoy a little break from the daily grind and it seems a lot more often these days.
“Mental health research shows in taking any form of vacation it’s important to disconnect as fully as possible from the root causes of stress. This appears for most working people in digital form. Emails, text messages, social media and all manner of smart phone notifications that can infringe on the very purpose of the physical escape.”
So a mini staycation for anybody is to get away from all devices for at least a day.
Ellen Levitov, a licensed therapist says, “Even if you’re just staying close to home, it’s a good idea to announce to everyone that you’re going on vacation. Tell your employer, coworkers and friends that you’ll be unavailable, and if necessary set up an automatic email reply indicating the times you’ll be away.”
An affordable compromise for many families can be to drive just an hour or two outside of your usual stomping grounds.
Familiar Sights From A New Perspective
You know how it is! When you live in a place for a while and travel the same roads everyday you don’t even see what is outside your window.
A great staycation idea is to get away from your usual mode of travel. If you drive or take the train to work everyday do something different and get on a bike or walk around your neighbourhood.
I guarantee you will find things to do in your area that you never knew were there. Let the kids lead the way – I bet they know more about what fun things there are to do close to your home.
Pretend you are hosting visitors from out of town and explore your own city just like a tourist would. When we had kids we quickly discovered that we’d be exploring areas that were not very familiar to us. That in and of itself was pretty exciting.
Today the prospect of a staycation, day trip, or short road trip is filled with the magic of a further destination. We are loving having some mini family vacations around our city and area.
Staycation Benefits For Parents
You get a break from work, even if it’s a short one. Even one day doing fun activities will re-energize you and help you unwind from the stress of these crazy days.
All of your baby and kid supplies are right there with you, so there’s no packing beyond what you’ll need for a day trip.
You don’t need to spend time at the airport or on an unending highway when you have a family vacation at home. This means you’ll have more time for lengthy naps and punctual bed times after a day of adventure.
You’ll save money by sleeping and cooking at home and taking local transport. If activities are close you could even look to walk or ride.
You are still taking the time to unplug and spend deliberate quality time with your loved ones, which is a huge win!
You are supporting your local economy when you staycation.
Getting lost won’t be an issue, since you’re close to home, which will limit the stress often associated with travel.
10 Staycation Ideas For Any Time of The Year
Try creating a bucket list with your kids or partner. Make some of the local day trips fun items to cross off the list while you staycay!
You can look for Groupons and online deals for family friendly activities all year round. This will help you plan ahead, spread out the expenses and have lots of fun things to look forward to.
1. Have a Pamper Day
Get the whole family involved and treat yourselves to some pampering. Even with younger kids you can have facials, do hair treatments and give mini massages.
Look at manicures and pedicures, foot massages and get some funky music playing to have fun with.
2. Plan a Tourist Day
Put yourself in the shoes of someone visiting your city, town or area. Get online to do some research on what interesting things there are to see and do.
When you travel away from home for a family vacation you always put a little effort into what you will do once you get there.
With a staycation just do the same but keep the distance to within an hour or two from your home. This may get you to somewhere new but will give ample time to enjoy any activities.
3. Take a Day Trip
Get in the car and go for a drive. Once again look at interesting things around your location that will keep the whole family engaged.
Plan the trip so that the kids know how far it will be between stops to minimise any whining. Create a playlist with some fun sing-along songs to keep the whole family involved.
Play some games like “I spy” or counting yellow cars. A great game we do is to make up fun phrases using the licence plates.
Read our article about Keeping Road Trips Fun for some great parenting advice to keep the kids busy.
4. Swap Houses With Family or Friends
This can be a fantastic staycation for overnight, a weekend or even longer. The fact that you are not staying in your own home will make it feel even more like a family vacation.
Even if the house you are going to is just around the corner, the fact that you are out of home will allow you to relax. You won’t feel the need to get in and do any of the chores that beckon if you are at home.
Make sure you are a great house guest and leave the place neat and tidy.
5. Camp Out In The Backyard
Kids love camping so if you don’t have a backyard set up the tent in the courtyard or on your balcony.
Get a little creative for your staycation and organise a firepit to sit around and roast marshmallows to make s’mores.
Cook out on the barbecue, sing songs and tell spooky stories by flashlight. Your kids will talk for years about the time you went camping in the backyard.
6. Go To The Beach
If you live near the coast then a day at the beach is usually part of family vacations. For those living further away, plan to get up early and make a fun day trip to the coast.
Pack a picnic, buy some fish and chips or cook up some hot dogs for lunch.
Spend the day as a family in the sun and surf. As a staycation you will be heading home late in the day with the kids wiped out in the back seat.
7. Cook Up a Feast
Get the family together and spend the day in the kitchen. Have a menu planned and include breakfast, lunch and dinner.
You could even go all out and have dinner be a formal affair. Dress up and have a full restaurant style table setting.
Try out some new recipes and keep the whole family busy for the day. Best of all you spend a fun day, the kids are learning and you get to eat some delicious food – all in your own home!
8. Get On Your Bike
If you don’t own your own bikes you could try to borrow from friends or see if there is somewhere close to hire some.
Plan a trip around the city or a lake and stop to have some ice-cream by the shore.
9. Have a Film Festival
Spend the day in your pyjamas. Screen a series like Star Wars, Harry Potter or some of the Marvel movies.
Get some popcorn popping and have some quality time together on the lounge.
10. Take a Hike
After a day lounging around watching movies getting out and about is just what you will need.
Lace your hiking boots on, get a backpack sorted and head out the door with the family and the dog. Let Mother Nature inspire you as you discover lots of lifes little wonders.
Affordable Staycation Alternatives
Splurge on one or two nights at a nice place not too far away. Plan for middle of the week stays and watch for deals to save even more cash!
Camping is an affordable and fun way to enjoy the great outdoors. Check out your regional and national parks to find one with amenities and locations that meet your needs.
Camping too rough for you and your family? More and more parks are offering accommodations that fit into the spectrum of glamping. They’re still affordable, but have real beds, bathrooms and shared kitchens available for use.
Operations like Kampgrounds of America specialize in the fun family experience on a budget.
We wish you happy and safe family vacations this summer. With the world looking to stay in lockdown for the forseeable future staycations and holidays close to home have become the new normal.
We hope our staycation ideas help you and your family enjoy some quality time together.
Sara is a freelance writer, award winning parenting blogger, and public relations specialist from Toronto, Canada. She is mother to fraternal girl/boy twins, loves music, hiking, and offbeat pop culture.