Today, we’re joined by guest blogger Carol Robson of Tiny House Plans. Carol offers her passion-infused expertise in living simply and enjoying a frugal lifestyle. I absolutely applaud her message that family vacations don’t have to cost thousands; it’s more about investing time with your family. Enjoy these tips today from Carol!
Image Credit: Evil Erin (Creative Commons)
Although vacations can be a fun and exciting way for the family to get away from the daily grind, going to a distant locale can become quite costly. Fortunately, you can plan a staycation for a fraction of the cost without sacrificing any of the fun!
To ensure that you have a truly satisfying vacation, you need to plan as though you are visiting your hometown rather than just hanging out at home during your staycation. Without an itinerary, everyone may end up sleeping in, playing games or whatever else may come up. You and your family deserve more than that for your break from the everyday demands of life.
Once you have coordinated schedules, determine your staycation budget. While minimizing spending, in general, is a good idea, without the reward of an enjoyable vacation here and there, you may become disappointed with the whole thing. You are saving plenty of dough on travel and lodging expenses already so plan for enough money that your family can enjoy several types of activities during your time together.
Fun Ways to Enjoy a Family Staycation
Plan a family meeting and allow everyone to contribute staycation activity suggestions. While it is unlikely that you can include them all, add at least one suggestion from each person to the itinerary. Make sure your kids understand that not every suggestion will be possible.
Rather than rely on the first venues that pop into your minds, grab some Internet-connected devices and search as though you had never been there before. By looking at the city with fresh eyes, you never know what type of venue gems you may find tucked away. Determine the maximum distance before the meeting.
Before the staycation, make sure your home is clean. The beds should be freshly made and all of the laundry put away. Clean out your fridge and kitchen cabinets and clear all of the garbage around your house, including those little piles of junk mail and magazines you keep meaning to donate back to the library.
A clean environment will help to set the mood for your staycation. Although you should eat several meals out during the week, you can prepare and freeze some of the family favorites. Have sandwich stuff, cereals and snacks handy as well. Use paper plates and other disposables when possible to reduce the amount of cleaning that must be done.
Visiting a museum can be a fun and educational way to spend an afternoon. You might find children’s museums or specialized ones in your city that the entire family can enjoy. Many of the science-based museums offer hands-on opportunities for children and sometimes even adults.
Another idea is to find a zoo, aquarium or related animal exhibit. Depending on the size and activities, you may even want to spend two days at one of these venues. Check the prices of family passes, annual passes and discounts for locals.
Similarly, you may choose a nearby theme or water park to visit. As with the other venues, investigate pricing variations. It is often easy to overlook those places down the highway when dreaming about Space Mountain and the teacups at Disney. However, you can have just as much fun at other parks!
If your family enjoys the water and there are no water parks within driving distance, you may want to visit a local lake, swimming pool or beach if you are fortunate enough to live on the coast. Nearby rivers may have canoe rentals. Pack a picnic lunch and stop to enjoy the terrain lining the water.
At home, you can set up some outdoor water slides and similar toys. Enjoy them with some iced tea, watermelon and plenty of sunblock.
Set up a tent in your yard for a night or two of the staycation. Grill dinner, roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories before laying back to stargaze. Install an app on your phone that will help to identify the constellations overhead.
Of course, you do not always have to go elsewhere to enjoy your staycation. Let everyone pick out a movie and have a marathon in the living room. You can also set up a home disco, playing age appropriate music and dancing one night after a delicious dinner.
Your choices will depend on the venues available in your area. However, in most places, you will find more than enough to entertain your whole family during the staycation. Take the time to unwind and have fun without breaking the bank. You deserve it!
Carol Robson is a retired social worker who believes in living simply, being ecologically friendly, and leaving a small footprint. For more helpful information for others looking to do the same, check out Tiny House Plans.