There are few things in life worse than the sound of the alarm clock the morning after returning home from a vacation. Most Americans are allotted precious few vacation days. Taking off more than a week at a time is a rare luxury. The time it takes to travel to and from the destination eats up a big percentage of the vacation. We just start feeling relaxed at the beach, mountains or family farm when it’s time to pack up for home. It is common to arrive home feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and stressed out instead of refreshed. Many people show up at work the day after they return home and say, “I need a vacation from that vacation!”
If this sounds familiar, consider a “staycation” instead of a traditional vacation. Take your time off, but do it from the comfort of your own home.
What exactly is a staycation?
My husband and daughter both get very anxious away from home. Managing their stress along with planning, packing, traveling, and navigating around an unknown location has me exhausted by the time we return home. Plus, leaving town is expensive. I’m a freelance writer and my husband is a substitute teacher, which means he isn’t paid when school is out for the summer. Shelling out big bucks from our shaky stream of income adds even more stress to vacationing.
Staycations are perfect for us. They allow us to take our vacation time from work and enjoy time together as a family from the comfort of our own home. We take in sites we typically take for granted around our hometown, leisurely enjoy our favorite activities and take short day trips to surrounding areas. We can all relax and recharge and we save a ton of money. My only regret is not switching to staycations sooner.
Staying home has many benefits:
- It is usually significantly cheaper. Staycations have gained popularity in recent years because many people don’t have the funds available to travel. A Marketwire study reveals that over 60% of people who take staycations do so to save money. Enjoy low cost activities that you never have time for, such as spending the day reading by the pool or visiting local museums. Eat at your favorite restaurant for lunch or during the week when it is less crowded – and often less expensive – or cook an elaborate meal at home. A staycation allows you to stretch your dollars and still participate in your favorite activities.
- There is no travel time. The moment you clock out of work, you are at your vacation destination! Even better, you won’t have to spend your last day of vacation driving in traffic or sitting in airports.
- It is easier on children. You won’t have to hear, “Are we there yet?” even once! They don’t have to leave behind the family pet, favorite cereal or video game system. You can keep some of the structure and routines that come with being in the comfort of their own home. This will make for a less stressful week for everyone.
- You don’t have to pack or unpack. I enjoy packing. I’m fresh and filled with anticipation of the trip. Unpacking is one of my least favorite chores. I still have an overnight bag of toiletries sitting on my bathroom counter from a weekend trip I took with my daughter last month. Staycations eliminate packing, unpacking and the pile of dirty laundry that accumulate when away on vacation.
- There is no pressure. There’s no schedule to keep. There’s no need to cram in as many activities as possible to make the most out of your time away. If the family decides spending the day in pajamas watching old movies is what sounds relaxing, go for it! Focus on spending quality time recharging together instead of getting caught up in busy itineraries.
- Do not spend the whole week cleaning, catching up on chores or running errands. You are on vacation, so treat it as such!
- Do not run to the office “for just a few hours.” Again, you are on vacation!
- Do not allow friends or family members to convince you to babysit or do other favors just because you are home. Say, “Sorry, I’m on vacation.”
- Spend time together, just as you would if you went away.
- Chose activities that are fun and relaxing.
Kids may be resistant to the idea of a staycation at first. Allow them to help you brainstorm activities. Some fun family activities include:
- Miniature Golf
- Indoor bounce houses
- Visiting the zoo
- Exploring thrift shops and flea markets
- Seeing a play or movie
- Spending an afternoon at a favorite park
Consider taking road trips to visit attractions in nearby towns. The money you save on travel expenses may allow room in the budget for a day trip to a theme or water park. Try out a new hobby together. For example, sign up for surfing lessons if you live near the ocean. Make sure you take time to pursue activities and interests important to each member of the family.
My family took a week-long staycation the week before school resumed last summer. We slept in and then spent time cuddling in bed before starting each day. I made big, yummy breakfasts. We went to the park after dinner where my husband pushed my daughter as high as she wanted on the swings. We spent hours in the pool. We drove an hour south to visit a children’s museum. We caught up on our favorite shows. We remembered how much we enjoy spending time together. My husband and I settled back into work relaxed and our daughter started the school year off with great stories to tell her friends about her summer vacation. We can’t wait to do it again this summer!
After you try a staycation, they just might become a tradition in your family, as well.