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Family Staycation Tips

I Went on a Staycation With My Family — Here's What It's Really Like

Family Staycation Tips
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Earlier this year, when I was in the beginning stages of planning a family vacation, I had this sinking feeling: this is not going to be fun.

I hadn't even settled on a destination yet, but I was already not looking forward to the time off. I don't want to point fingers, but it was my toddler who was to blame.

For my husband and me, the idea of traveling with our young daughter wasn't a thrilling concept. We know plenty of parents who venture the world with their kids strapped to their chests, and more power to them. We also know of families who bring nannies and rent homes and orchestrate a host of other miraculous feats to make it all work seamlessly, but most of those are wildly out of our budget. Our options were mildly bleak: we could go to a place we'd been dying to visit, spend all our disposable income on luggage fees, and stay in a cramped inn, or we could go to a rented cabin somewhere within driving distance that we didn't really care to visit in the first place.

"Should we just not take a vacation this year?" we asked each other.

That felt too depressing, especially considering we hadn't taken a proper one since our little travel companion was born. That's when I remembered a friend of mine who, in her 20s, found herself overloaded with vacation days yet close to broke. Instead of forgoing the time off, she gave herself a staycation to remember.

If it was good enough for her, it certainly was more than acceptable for our young family. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized just how clever an idea it was, given our situation of feeding schedules, naptimes, and semistrict bedtime routines (not to mention a dog we'd no longer have to ask a neighbor to pet-sit). Sure, it might not sound especially adventurous, but when my husband and I weighed the stresses involved in planning a family-friendly getaway vs. those in just staying put, our new plan seemed perfect.

Turns out, it was. But to make sure we made the most of it, we set up some key ground rules. Read on for tips on how to make the most of a staycation and for seven reasons it's just as good an alternative to a vacation . . . if not better.

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