Guest Post: StayCations

by GettingFreedom on July 10, 2009

This is Part 2 of the Frugal Vacation Series. You can see Part 1 here.

Tiffany is a Homeschool mom of 4 kids, ranging in age from 17 to 6 years old. On her blog, Eat at Home she shares recipes and tips to help families put dinner on the table quickly and economically.

Staycations can be an affordable, relaxing alternative to going away for vacation. There’s no need to pack and you get to sleep in your own bed. On the other hand, if you’re really going to feel like you’ve had a vacation you are going to need to do a bit of planning.

Set a budget – Staycations can be very affordable, since you aren’t paying for transportation or lodging, but you do need to have a budget. Don’t forget to include ticket prices for activities you may want to do, gas costs for daytrips and food costs. Knowing ahead of time how much money you can spend will keep you from experiencing the stress of a high credit card bill later on.

Decide what your goal for the vacation is – Do you just need a break from the normal routines of housework, email, bills, running kids around or your day job? Do you want to be able to spend some time at home enjoying your own porch or maybe just sleep in and have a lazy breakfast? This might be important for someone who travels a lot for work. Maybe your goal is to do things together as a family, focusing on fun activities. Knowing your hopes for the vacation will help you plan a great time together.

Prepping for the vacation – No, you don’t have to pack but a little bit of prep work will go a long way in your enjoyment of the staycation.
- Try to clean your house before the staycation starts. It doesn’t need to be spotless, but if it’s reasonably clean and picked up you won’t feel the need to do that during your time off.
- Plan a menu. You might plan to eat out for some or all of your meals. If so, go ahead and think about where you’d like to eat so you can formulate a budget. If you’re planning to eat at home, find your favorite crockpot recipes or meals that can be prepared and popped in the freezer. You want to keep it simple, but still have it taste good.
- Consider having your mail or newspaper stopped. This may be more important for some people than others, but having a break from going through the daily mail can add to the feeling of “getting away from it all”.
- Agree on the amount of computer/phone time that you will spend each day. You might want to skip checking email and messages altogether or maybe you want to allow yourself a quick check each day. This tip is especially important for those people who have trouble unplugging.

Here’s a list of fun things to consider doing – Try to make some kind of plan for each day. This will keep you from sitting around wondering what to do and also give you a sense of anticipation for the week.
- Explore the free things available near your home. Many towns have special festivals and events during the summer. Whether it’s a street fair or movie night at the park, you might want to take advantage of these things.
- Explore the parks and arboretums within an hour from your home.
- Visit museums, zoos and aquariums, amusement parks or water parks that you enjoy or choose one you’ve never had a chance to visit before.
- Pack a picnic lunch and take a hike.
- Have a special treat: ice cream sundaes, smores, waffles for breakfast, etc.
- Do a “pajama run” for ice cream one night. This is fun if you have little kids. Get them all ready for bed and then announce a pajama run, pile them in the car and drive to Sonic or Dairy Queen for ice cream.
- Catch lightening bugs. Do some star gazing together.

Have you done a staycation before or are you planning one this summer? What are your favorite family activities that could be worked in to a staycation?

This post is linked to Frugal Friday.
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