For a variety of reasons, more families are finding it necessary to spend summer vacations at home. They are taking staycations instead of vacations.
How does a staycation differ from a vacation?
A staycation allows you to spend the night at home. This means that your destination is probably within a hundred miles of where you live. You can go, enjoy yourself, and return home for the night. Since lodging is usually one of the biggest expenses associated with vacations, the savings can be significant.
So how do you go about planning a staycation?
1. Get your family involved.
The first thing you want to do when planning a staycation is get your family members involved. Let them know that this year, you are planning to enjoy sites close to home and ask them what they would like to do and see. Give them an idea what close to home means – right in your own home town or within a couple of hours’ drive time.
2. Contact your local Visitors’ Bureau or Tourist Center.
Most cities have a Visitors’ Bureau or Tourist Center which highlights the features or attractions local to the area. Contact them directly and request a brochure or go online. Whereas the categories may differ from city to city, most will include topics like Local Attractions, Family Fun, Dining, Festivals and Special Events, or Art and Culture. The topic headings may differ but the meaning is the same – this is what we have to offer here.
3. Go online and see what’s available within your driving radius.
Let’s say you live within two hours’ drive time of Indianapolis, Indiana. Go online and search for Indianapolis. Visit Indy – Your Official Guide to Indianapolis comes up and the menu bar gives you Things To Do, Where To Eat and more. Under Things To Do you see Top Local Restaurants, Top Family Attractions, Family Adventures and more. Once you’ve taken a look at what there is to do within your designated driving radius, let each family member pick one or two things that he or she would like to do. Then, decide which of the attractions you can and will do in the time you have available. Don’t rule out planning activities in your own back yard.
4. Plan your itinerary.
Figure out what day you are going to go where and when and determine ahead of time how you are going to handle meals.
5. Decide how you are going to handle meals.
Food can be costly so plan carefully. For me, half the fun of being on vacation is eating out. I like to visit different restaurants and sample regional favorites. You can do this too, but make it a part of the plan. Dinner is usually the most expensive meal while breakfast and lunch are more cost-effective. Consider eating breakfast at home, packing a lunch and snacks, and eating dinner at a restaurant as a part of the day’s activities. Or, if you’re leaving early in the morning and the children are still drowsy, pack take-along foods like fruit and yogurt. Or, stop for breakfast once everyone is awake but before you get to your destination. Whatever you choose is fine as long as you make it a part of your plan. Regardless of what you decide to do about food, be sure to bring along some bottled water, soft drinks, and a few healthy snacks. This will eliminate spur of the moment spending and the use of monies meant for something else.
6. Go and have fun.
Once your trip is planned and the car is packed, go and have fun. Don’t think about where you did n’t get to go or what you wish you could have done. Enjoy where you are, who you’re with, and what you’re doing. You’re creating memories that will last a life time and saving money while you’re at it.
If you want to see how one family saved money and took a great staycation, check out How to Save Money with Staycation. Every dime counts. Darcy Jones