If your budget or outside commitments are keeping you close to home this summer, Bethany has some planning tips for creating a memory-making family staycation.
The world is a homeschool family’s classroom, and, for many, summer is a time to plan family vacations that double as elaborate, fun-filled, educational field trips. Unfortunately, even if your family loves to travel, doing so isn’t always an option.
Your kids’ summer activities may keep you close to home. Or maybe the budget is stretched thin this year, and a far-flung trip isn’t an option. Whatever the reason, it’s possible to have summer fun closer to home with all the memories that go along with time together.
Yet, sometimes the idea of missing out on a summer trip seems like the recipe for a dull and dismal season. If you love visiting new places, how can you make staying home exciting? It seems impossible, but it’s not.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when planning your family’s staycation to make it one for the memory books.
Set a Budget and Look for Deals
Before you start making your grand staycation plans, it’s essential to set a budget. Having an idea of what you are willing to spend will help in the planning phase.
Do you have enough to go to the amusement or water park? With a large family, this is always a treat. Or do you need to keep the budget even lower? Scout out the low-cost travel alternatives that are available in your community.
Having an idea of how much you can spend and what your options include makes planning much easier.
Do Some Planning
Even though a staycation doesn’t require as much planning as a long journey, you’ll make the most of it with a little advanced planning.
Our daily lives often become routine and predictable – we do the same things over and over again. We even visit the same museums and bookstores. However, when embarking on a summer vacation closer to home, it’s good to think beyond our comfortable bubble.
Are their attractions or sights in the area that you’ve never visited? Do you have any national or state parks nearby? What about zoos or aquariums? Could you visit something unusual in a short drive? These are all things to consider when planning your summer fun.
Also, since we’re homeschoolers, are there any historical sites or museums nearby that you’ve never made a point of visiting? Now is the time. You still want your staycation to be fun, but all of our family trips usually include at least a couple of museums or historic locations.
We joke that it doesn’t count as a trip without a stop at a battlefield.
When planning, look for some bargains. Is there a half-price ticket day? Can you find a deal on Groupon or LivingSocial? Are there any reciprocal membership benefits available on your existing memberships? I’m all about saving money when I can.
Make a Schedule
Scheduling may be the hardest part of a family staycation. You’re at home! It’s easy to get caught up in your routine and all the things that you need to do. Plus, if you’re a homebody like me, you don’t like to leave the house day after day.
So I find it necessary to pick the days and make the plan. It’s good to buy the tickets in advance, so you don’t talk yourself out of going somewhere, which I’m very good at doing.
Also, be realistic with your plans. Maybe no one in your family does well with a non-stop schedule, even for a week. If so, spread your staycation out as much as you can.
There is no rule that you have to complete a proper staycation in a single week. Instead, try planning an activity once a week throughout the summer.
Get Creative and Have Fun
Coming up with your staycation plan is an opportunity to get creative and do those things you never get around to in your busy life. Try these suggestions to get the ideas flowing:
- Camp in the backyard (or local park)
- Visit a local splash park
- Find a discount day at a movie theater
- Take a day trip to an amusement park, museum, or zoo
- Go for a hike
- Become a tourist in your town
Most importantly, choose something your family will enjoy. Unhappy campers aren’t fun on any vacation, and it won’t be any different at home. I find it best to make the decision and keep it a secret. When I ask for opinions, there is never an agreement, and the plans fall apart.
Family Staycation Fun is Possible
We had our heart set on a major road trip or a cruise this year, but things change, and neither is the right choice for our family right now. If something similar has happened to you, it’s okay to be sad for a bit. But, then, use that energy to plan a summer that will create lasting memories closer to home.
With a little planning and some creativity, it’s possible to create a summer of memories right in your own backyard!
What have been some of your family’s most memorable staycation activities?