Ideas For a Budget-Friendly Family ‘Staycation’

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If you are like me, you are getting wistful about getting the family together for one more adventure before summer comes to a close. However, with so much to do for back to school preparation, who has time to organize a family trip?

A weekend ‘staycation’ is the perfect way to get the family time you are looking for, without the stress and hassle of planning a trip. Below are my favorite ideas for getting everyone together and doing your staycation as soon as this weekend!

1. Camp at home or in your backyard

One of my favorite memories as a child was when my parents would let my sisters and I set up the tent in the backyard, or inside when it was too hot! We brought out all the blankets we could find to make our bed and would make hot dogs, campfire popcorn and s’mores, play campfire games, and scare each other with silly ghost stories. We would make up stories about the constellations and stars.

My parents let us all stay up late. After sleeping inside our tent, we would wake up at sunrise and go on a nature walk. Our overnight ‘camping’ experience ended with a nice breakfast…and a mid-morning nap!

2. Use hotel points or miles to book a local hotel

This is my favorite way to do a local staycation now! Using the points I have earned throughout the year on my credit card, I find a local hotel that has a pool and request an early check in.

At the hotel, we spend the day using the pool and amenities, order delivery pizza, and then swim some more! By the end of the day, and after a quick dinner, we enjoy an in-movie, and the adults a little wine on the balcony. You can recreate this based on your family’s preferences!

3. Become tourists in your own city

How many times have your heard someone mention a new museum, restaurant, activity center, or park that you wanted to visit, but fell off of your radar? For me, it’s more times than I can count. Why not take an hour, scour the internet for a list of all those great things happening in your town, and make a day visiting these hotspots together? Make sure to check for open times and days and plan a full day of discovering what is new, and great, about your hometown! It is also a great way to be prepared next time you have out of town guests.

4. Jar of decision

In my house, deciding ‘what to do’ is not as easy as it should be.  I can easily write a list of 20 activities we all love to do; go to the beach, hike in the desert, have picnics, go to our favorite places or meals, etc. You understand what I mean! Our challenge is remembering all those ideas when we are trying to schedule our free days. For a staycation, a little bit of planning can go a long way!

Enter, the jar of decision! On scraps of paper, write all of those things you like to do, fold them, and then place them in a jar.  On days you cannot figure out what to do, select a piece of paper (or two, or three – time permitting), and that is what you will do that day! This idea also works we well for adults and date night!

5. Kid’s Choice Day

I know, I know! This sounds daunting but ends up being some of the best family days you can have.  This can also be a great way to teach planning, problem solving, and budgeting to your kids as well!

Have a family meeting and tell the kids that this Saturday, for the family, they get to chose the entire day’s activities!  If your kids are younger, you can give them a list of options. For older kids, you can set parameters like budget, distance, and time. There is just one rule – kids get to decide, unanimously on the activities and the parents cannot say no!

You can assist your kids researching their ideas online (does the beach and zoo outing meet our budget? Do you know how to check prices online?) and also assist them with coming up with a plan. For instance, kids do not always realize that the movie they want to see at the theatre is too far from the beach they want to visit, but maybe there is a new theatre or show time you can assist them in finding.

When they have made their decisions, have another family meeting where your kids can present the day’s activities. It is sure to be a blast for the entire family!

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