Staycations are a mainstay of our summer adventure – part tradition, part necessity.
With several children at different stages of life, a family vacation seemed daunting. What part of traveling with a one year old, three, seven and nine year old seemed appealing? The next year isn’t any better. They’re all one year older and vacationing is none less daunting. If we wait till the babes grow up to venture out, we miss out on the adventures in the “in between”.
If we minus the wee ones and leave them at home, you’ve got potential for lots of fun but realistically that can’t happen every year or maybe any year at all – add in mandatory naps, snacks and early bed times and you’ve got the recipe for the vacation from hell if you ask me.
Welcome the Staycation – A budget and kid friendly alternative to the Vacation. What I love about staying local is the planning is minimal & the load is light. For thorough planners like myself, the tendency to check and recheck and recheck lists is eliminated because the possibility of forgetting a necessity is eliminated. No bag packing (except for day trips), no airport delays or packing toys for 5 days, no forgetting favorite blankies & naps are close by when experiencing the crankies.
It’s quite light on the stress register and I LOVE that!!
These are some of the elements we include in our adventures:
1. I make a schedule, shop for food and collect discounted attraction coupons/deals ahead of time so the ship runs smoothly throughout our time together. I plan all of our meals and snacks and write them on a 5-day grid along with our activities for the day so I don’t have to think about anything.
2. We play for 5 days, Wednesday thru Sun during the last week in July. We always use the same week for ease of planning ahead. Mike takes off of work and puts strict boundaries up about no work interference.
3. Because we want it to feel special and set-apart, we clear the living room floor and blow up air beds and all sleep in the same room (just like a hotel with terrible mattresses). If you are use to having younger kids going to bed earlier than the rest of the family, this totally screws that up.
4. We rarely go out to eat but during staycation, we do the fun things and eat out at the places that are reserved for once a year. Also, rather than dine in the establishment, we get the food to go so that we are not only in the comfort of our own home, but we aren’t wasting money on restaurant soda & dessert prices when your pantry/fridge is much more economical.
5. We guard our time together during that 5 days like we are far away. This is a bonding time for our family and we keep it tight.
6. This IS a VACATION!! Ideally, a break from phones, social media and other distractions are encouraged.
7. Allow for plenty of down time. We try to sleep in most mornings to account for the late movie nights that tend to occur every evening.
8. I used to decorate the space we slept in but found that I didn’t want to waste $$ at the dollar store for crepe paper, beads and such. If you have decorations already, it is a detail the kids LOVE!
9. I leave mints on pillows every night for the tradition factor. Little things like this are easy and cheap and something my kids talk about every year.
10. I take pictures for the memories, but am sure to put that lens away and share in the moments too.
Remember to be flexible. Sleep schedules will get messed up, every one will probably get cranky eventually and not every one will enjoy every activity. If you get stressed out, don’t show it – let the children be obliviously unaware and ignore the “less than enthused” teenagers while you’re making those irreplaceable memories together!! Soon this season of having kids under your roof will end and there will be no memories to look back on if you don’t make them.
These two jumped off the top rung of the rope swing together – some of the adults wouldn’t even do it.
This is the point in every adventure where I tell my husband, “I don’t think our marriage will survive if my children die because of this.” I have a
high need for safety, he has a high need for adventure. Meeting in the middle means the kids are having a blast and mom isn’t the fun killer.
It is definitely easier said then done but life is death without adventure & adventure only comes to those who are willing to be daring & take chances.
Are you a staycationer or considering going on one? I’d love to hear about your plans and adventures!
Let your life sing!