It's great to be able to take a break from work and routine and take the family on a vacation. Unfortunately, many of us can't afford a vacation or we just may not feel comfortable spending money on a vacation. If you're one of those people who can't afford a family vacation, take heart! You can still manage to take a break from work and routine with a staycation. Even though you don't spend a week or two away from home, staycations can still be fun and relaxing. They usually do require some planning, but planning is half of the fun!
Here are some ideas for relaxing at home. Some cost nothing, and some cost a little, but all are less expensive than a vacation away from home and can be just as relaxing and just as much fun.
Unplugging is pretty much the cheapest staycation idea you'll find. All it means is that you unplug all your electronic devices for the time you are allotting for your staycation. That means no TV, no phones (cell or landline), no Internet, no computer...just no electronic devices. This can strike fear into the hearts of many good people, particularly teens. What on earth can you do without any electronic devices?
You can do plenty! All it takes is just a little imagination. The family can play games together, whether indoor board games, such as strategy games or language games, or outdoor games. Everyone can spend time reading and during dinner, each member of the family can share what they've been reading. Or everyone can do some writing. The writing can be journal writing, with an agreed on topic for each day. During dinner, each person can share their thoughts on the topic. The family can also go out for nature walks.
These activities can be combined so that there is enough for everyone to do each day. Part of the challenge of unplugging is to find things to do, and meeting that challenge is part of the fun.
Stay at a Local Hotel
This one is going to cost more than just staying home, but it's still going to cost less than spending one or two weeks away from home. Staying at a local hotel can be the culmination of a staycation spent mostly at home. For example, if the family has spend a week unplugged, they can spend the last night or two of the staycation at a hotel, preferably one with amenities favored by travelors, like a swimming pool.
During the day, the family can explore the area as though they were tourists. Most places have places of historic significance, but when we live near them and they aren't well-known and popular, they can escape our attention. Or we might live near a dairy farm that conducts tours or a factory that allows visitors to take a tour. For example, the Jelly Belly factory in California or warehouse in Wisconsin both have tours available. Keep in mind that near home just means within a relatively short driving distance. What you want to visit would determine which hotel you choose.
When the family comes back to the hotel after a day's worth of being local tourists, they can go for a swim in the pool and then have a nice meal, perhaps room service would be a fun treat!
Travel to a Foreign Country - From Home!
It can be costly enough to take a vacation in your own country, so traveling to another country for a vacation is pretty close to impossible for many families. But if you can't go to another country, bring the country to you!
During your staycation, you can learn all about the country you are "traveling" to. You can study the history of the country as well as its geography. Just be sure to pay a visit to the library to get books about the country for everyone in the family. If you like, each family member can choose one aspect (history, climate, government, geography, etc.) to learn and then share the new knowledge with the rest of the family. And while you're at the library, look for literature of the country as well. Novels, short stories, poetry, and folklore are great ways to learn about the culture.
As much as possible, serve foods eaten in the country you are "visiting." The whole family can participate in preparing the foods in order to learn about what the foods are, how the foods are cooked, and what kinds of seasonings are used. Many recipes from other cultures are readily available on the Internet. You just need to do a quick search for recipesof the country, like "German recipes."
The family can also study the language of the country. You probably won't become fluent speakers of the language by the time your staycation is over, but you can certainly learn many words and common phrases, like "thank you." Be sure to look for language books at the libary before starting your staycation. Even the youngest children can learn a few words.