The Ground Rules
- What you wouldn't do on a vacation, don't do on a staycation.
- No cooking.
- Plan at least two activities for each day.
- Take a day trip if you can.
Outside of an extremely strict Airbnb home-share scenario, you are very likely not going to have to run the dishwasher or mop the floors on vacation. Do your best to limit such housework on a staycation.
And, sure, you might think that all that extra time at home means you can catch up on chores — repainting the playroom, fixing a broken window lock, or organizing your closet — and errands, but don't. Even just one trip to the hardware store can mentally remove you from vacation mode, and it can be a snowball effect that leads to an entire day devoted to housekeeping.
One of the key ways to keep from doing housework is to limit the use of your house. Sure, with kids, it's nice to be able to serve some meals at home, but keep away from the stove as much as possible. Before your staycation begins, stock up on prepared food items at the grocery store and plan to order in delivery or takeout on nights you know you'll be home for dinner.
Just because you're working around nap schedules doesn't mean you can't leave home. Make sure you are getting out of the house at least twice each day, even if one is just for a picnic in the local park.
For us, we tried to organize one easy activity in the morning — breakfast in a cool neighborhood — and another, longer excursion, like a train ride to the conservatory or a museum visit, in the late afternoon. Some days, she'd sleep in her stroller or in her car seat, so we'd stay out the entire day, but on others we stayed closer to home.
By definition, staycations involve staying put, but our reasoning was, as long as we all ended up at home at the end of each night, where we went during the day was entirely up to us.
Once during our time off, we ventured outside state lines and took a day trip to a city we'd long wanted to visit that was a two-hour drive away. It was one of the week's highlights because it offered some of the thrills that come with a vacation — exploring a new area, being out of one's comfort zone — without the anxiety.
Now that the logistics are squared away, here's why a staycation can be just as fun as your last family vacation . . .