August 9th 2017 - by Amanda Perkins
The days of shorts, sunscreen and flip flops are nearing an end but there is still time to fit in a few more vacation days before the kids are back to school. Long distance road trips or flights to foreign countries sound amazing but the costs can add up, especially when travelling with your whole family. Between food and drink, hotels, shopping, activities and attraction costs plus hotel and airfare, 1 week away for the family can take up a huge chunk of your yearly “entertainment and travel” budget.
So why not consider a staycation? It doesn’t have to be a second choice or just a week of sitting around the house, it can be packed full of inexpensive or free activities with the whole family close to home.
A staycation is when you still use your vacation time off work, but instead of travelling a far distance or even taking a flight away, you stick closer to home. This can be packed full of day trips, fun events at your home like BBQ’s with friends, a weekend getaway to a family member or close friend’s cottage for a day or two or attending inexpensive or free events around your community.
Some helpful hints to make for a successful staycation are:
1) Plan ahead of time. Research local events or activities that are available for your family during the time you plan to be off work. It would be a complete letdown if you and the family prepared for certain days off work and the one big event you wanted to go to was not running that same week. Prepare for rainy days, hot days or activities both at home or on the road in case things come up there are alternatives for the family to take part in.
2) Budget for your week. Whether you choose to stay at home and just do things during the day or you plan on doing a small trip over night for a day or so, it’s important to budget for everything. Travel expenses should be a part of your yearly budget. If you notice early on that the events you want to attend are adding up, google some free events near by to cut down on costs. Now is also a great time to call in that offer to attend your friend’s cottage instead of paying for a rental.
3) Stay busy. Keeping the vacation time full of activities doesn’t give it the feel that you are just sitting around at home and wasting your vacation days. Have friends over, let your kids do sleep overs, enjoy your backyard space, and explore your neighbourhood. Even rainy days can be filled with inside activities like trying new local restaurants, catching the latest flick or going bowling with the family.
4) Enjoy time with loved ones. It doesn’t take a beach to make a lasting memory. It can be as simple as setting up an inflatable pool in the backyard for the week or attending events and attractions you don’t normally get to see, but spending quality time with your family is still the most important part of any vacation or staycation.