Have some free time coming up but can’t get out of town for a long getaway? A staycation is a perfect solution.
Staycations are still a form of travel but planned closer to where you live. It is traditionally done locally — or as day trips — so no expensive travel or lodging is required.
Staycations are a great way to spend quality time with the whole family, including kids and grandparents. Here is the ultimate family staycation planning guide.
Get Good Recommendations
When it comes to finding fun things to do near where you live, recommendations are often the best way to go. Talk to your family and friends about exciting things to do and explore in the area. Talk to your local travel agency or Chamber of Commerce to get ideas.
There are usually hidden gems in most communities that are worth exploring. In all likelihood, you’ll uncover something you haven’t done before. Whether it’s a monument, museum, park, restaurant, or activity, there are plenty of spaces and activities waiting to be discovered.
Consider Staycationing at Home
Most people associate staycations with some sort of travel, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be true. If you have young kids or grandparents with limited mobility, you can still create a fun environment without ever leaving the house. For example, pick a staycation theme and get creative with at-home activities based on your theme.
Themes can include things like:
- International destination
With just a little research and effort, you can plan meals, games, movies, and more around your theme. You can even decorate the house accordingly and create a fun environment for the whole family. Kids have active imaginations, so a staycation at home can feel just as special as a trip across the world.
Pick Target Activities and Backups
If you decide to venture outside your home, it’s time to nail down exactly what you’d like to do during your trip. The easiest way to spoil your staycation is to have no plan. Failing to think in advance can lead to uncertainty and stressful last-minute planning.
Avoid the headache and pick your top choice for activities, and get tickets in advance if you can. You can also seek the help of a local travel agent who can take all of the guesswork out of planning.
Whether you have reservations or not, it’s always a good idea to pick a backup in the event something unexpected comes up. If your schedule changes, the weather doesn’t cooperate, or something else happens, you’ll still be able to enjoy your staycation.
And remember, if your first choice doesn’t work out, you aren’t far away and can always come back another time.
Build in a Learning Element
Staycations mean that the adults will be away from work, and the kids will be away from school. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t learning opportunities along the way for the whole family. Try to think about chances to learn new things during your trip or teach the kids about a new topic.
A learning moment can be something as simple as map-reading on the way to your destination. On the other end of the spectrum, you can visit a historic site or museum and focus the whole trip on learning. Decide what works for your family and make an effort to create teachable moments.
Document Your Adventure
With all of the planning involved in a staycation, some families forget to document their experience. Memories are fleeting, and kids are only young for a little while. You never know if you’ll have the opportunity to replicate this experience or if it will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Make an effort to take family pictures and videos. You can also document your adventure through souvenirs or collectibles. Items and photos give you and your family something tangible to look back on and remember your staycation.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
Having a solid plan is critical to the success of your staycation. However, you should never let the planning overshadow your experience. Stay flexible and understand that you can’t plan for the unexpected.
The most important thing about a staycation is spending quality time as a family, which you can still do no matter your activity or destination!