Wouldn’t it be great to escape the chaos and day-to-day responsibilities of our everyday lives for a week of fun and relaxation somewhere far away? But what if it’s not in the budget? Airfare, hotel rooms, rental car, dining out, and other travel expenses can make getting away very expensive. And even if money isn’t a factor, sometimes health issues or work obligations prevent us from going away anytime we feel like it. Downtime is great to take.
But that doesn’t mean when the kids are home from school for summer vacation or March Break that you can’t still have a great time! Why not plan to take a vacation right in your own backyard? A true Staycation is more than just time off at home, it’s an intentional time of fun and relaxation for your family. It may take a little effort to do it right, but ultimately, it can be just as fun as going out of town.
- Set ground rules. The point of a Staycation is to make it feel as much like a real vacation as possible, without leaving home. To make sure the whole family is on the same page, it’s good to set some ground rules that everyone can agree on. These could include some or all of the following:
- No email
- No computer or video games
- No work
- No fighting
- Family time only—no independent activities
- No cooking, cleaning or doing laundry
- Spruce up your bedroom. Make sure you have cosy soft sheets and that they are freshly washed. Add some scented fabric softener to the laundry so they smell great. Unplug the alarm clock and hide it in the closet. Put fresh flowers on your nightstand along with a book you’ve been looking forward to reading. Fill a basket with your favourite snacks and some bottled water to keep in your room. Place scented candles around to encourage relaxation.
- Be a tourist. Do you live in or near a city like we do where there are lots of tourist attractions? If you do, you’ve likely never been a tourist in your own hometown. This is the time to explore where you live. Visit local museums or monuments, try out a couple of the “hot spots” for dinner, go to the zoo, attend a sporting event or get theatre or concert tickets. Here in Toronto, there are lots to do, and lots of them are free.
- Spend time in the great outdoors. Go on a nature walk at a nearby national park. With Rouge Park being a National Park it makes a great spot to get into the outdoors. The TTC even takes you close to the park entrance. Do you live within a couple hours’ drive from a beach? Take a day trip. If you’re not close to a beach or hiking area, go to a local park for a game of Frisbee, a long walk or some fishing. Go camping or watch movies in the backyard. Here in Toronto, you might want to head over to the Toronto Islands which are just a short ride away.
- Enjoy a family night in. Play a board game together. Have a movie night complete with popcorn and hot fudge sundaes. Work on a puzzle or invent a new game. Build a fire to roast marshmallows and tell scary stories.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money, or even travel out of town to enjoy a fun and relaxing family vacation. I hope these ideas have inspired a few ideas of your own! We are looking forward to our next staycation right here at home.