My daughter said she was going to take a staycation this year. Her family had some financial priorities and she was trying to be prudent. Honestly, my first response was, “You live in an area where beautiful beaches, Busch Gardens, Disney World, and a few other great attractions are just two to three hours away by car. How hard can that be?” Then I got to thinking that we don’t always see what’s in our own backyards. So often, when people think of vacations, they believe they have to travel far from home to have a good time. This is not necessarily so. Every locale has its attractions. You just have to find out what they are and take advantage of them.
How did Jenna resolve this issue? First off, she invited family to come visit. This gave Daisy and Luke the opportunity to spend time with family (which included me and Jones) and play with cousins they had not seen in a long time. Then, she planned some day trips, one of which was to a beach that was less than an hour’s drive away. The moms packed the lunch while the dads packed the cars. If anyone got hungry or thirsty, there would be plenty of healthy food and drinks. The only thing we had to pay for was parking which was less than five dollars per car. The kids had a great time playing in the water, building sand castles, and just being together.
Another day trip took us to a state park for a day of fishing. Daisy and Luke look forward to fishing with Jones, although it’s usually in Indiana. This time, he would take them fishing in their neck of the woods and cousins, Lovie and Rosie, would get to go, too. Once again, the moms packed snacks while the dads packed fishing tackle and got directions to the park. The only thing we had to pay for was bait and park entrance fees.
Two other low-cost, but very fun activities were roasting marshmallows and sleeping on the patio. When the stars came out, we gathered in the backyard around the fire pit. Marshmallows were pushed onto skewers and stuck into the fire. Hershey’s chocolate bars and cinnamon graham crackers were passed around to make s’mores. There was lots of laughter, sticky fingers, and a few burnt marshmallows. Then, the children bedded down on the patio to “camp out.” They watched a movie, laughed, and sang a few songs. We eventually moved the “camp” into the family room because the children would not go to sleep and the parents were tired. Eventually, one by one, the kids nodded off and the parents drifted off to bed.
This turned out to be one of the best and most cost-effective vacations I’ve taken in years. I got to see my three children and four grandchildren in one place, which doesn’t happen often since we live in three different states. We picked one day to eat out at a nice restaurant, but the rest of the time, we ate dinner at home. We made eating at home fun by grilling hot dogs, burgers, fish, and chicken in the back yard; we held a fish fry; and one day, we ordered in a bunch of goodies and ate picnic style on the patio. It was just fun. And the best thing about it was nobody broke the bank. Jenna got to show her family what’s fun to do in Florida and saved a bundle of money on her family’s staycation.
What’s in your backyard? What attractions are close to you? How can you plan a stay-cation, save some money, and still have a really, good time? I’d love to hear about it. Reply with a comment. Subscribe. Share this link with family and friends. If it saves you money, I want to know about it because every dime counts.