A good thing too, with air travel cited as the least environmental form of transport. A staycation is basically a vacation at home. Here are some of the ways to make your staycation a family event to remember…
Planning to ‘holiday at home’ has many benefits: no travel, no sudden disappointments upon arrival, no need to pack or book insurance or any of the last minute travel stresses. It also offers the opportunity to enjoy your home and surrounding area anew. It’s unlikely that you have explored every corner of the town, city or countryside you call home. There are some important things to consider when planning a stay-cation, however, to avoid it becoming just a boring old week stuck at home. We’ve been honing our stay-cation skills over several years, having made a complete hash of it at first by using it as a means to catch up on work! Kids will want to feel that there’s a real holiday element, especially if you’re foregoing a traditional break away. So, novelty and fun are key to making it a bit special.
Clean the house – top to bottom
Imagine you were renting your house out to a holidaying family. No matter that that holidaying family is you! Spend a day preparing the house; cleaning surfaces, the fridge, bedrooms and bathrooms. Pack away everything you won’t be enjoying on your staycation – the aim is for a clean, clutter-free environment. Put clean sheets on the beds and fresh towels in the bathrooms. Take photos of your house in all its staycation glory, then remind ‘guests’ that upon ‘departure’, they must leave the house as they find it!
Be strict about the rules
Because you’re at home, you’re far more likely to be tempted to turn on the computer and send a few emails, or make a couple of work calls during the holiday. If you want to get the most out of the staycation, set some rules that you all agree to abide by. Depending on your usual holiday activities, these might include turning off mobile phones, not using the computer or the internet and only answering the landline in the evenings. I find this the hardest aspect of a staycation as both my partner and I work from home at times, so the temptation to answer or make calls and emails can be overwhelming. As soon as I’ve made a work call, though, I find that I’ve broken the staycation spell and work troubles start to encroach on my holiday time. Thank goodness for ‘out of office’ emails and answer phones – these simple tools can put your staycation on the right track from the off. When you write, “I’ll reply to emails upon my return on the…”, stick to that date and don’t check them before.
Treat yourself to some lavish toiletries
You’re saving money with your staycation, so a few lavish toiletries will hardly break the bank. Treat yourself to a few favourites and get rid of the old bottles clogging up the bathroom shelves. When you’re having your morning shower, it will feel less like your bog-standard weekday if you tart up the bathroom a bit. On that note, a really nice towel is a bit decadent, but can add to the hotel feel.
Get hold of local maps
Visit the library before your staycation, and get hold of maps of the local area, plus any books on the locality that spark your interest. If you have really explored your town to its furthest boundaries, then why not plan a train trip somewhere nearby. Take the same kind of care you would if you were travelling abroad by booking your tickets beforehand and finding out about the area you’re going to visit to ensure you make the most of your day trip.
Book a tour of the local area
Better yet, see if you can find anyone offering tours of the local area. Most towns have an enthusiastic historian, geologist or naturalist willing to share their knowledge – look at listings in your local paper. Some towns and cities offer tour bus rides too, and if you have always sauntered past with the belief that there’s nothing more for you to learn about the area, jump on and find out! A quick scour of our local offerings turned up a ghost tour of our nearest city, a history walk and a guided walk with a bird enthusiast.
Order in an organic food box
One of the best aspects of holidays is the sampling of tasty local fare. Treat your family to a really decadent organic food delivery, complete with all the favourites. Most organic delivery companies offer gastro treats such as clotted cream, so even if you aren’t sipping a cream tea in the Devonshire countryside you can enjoy the taste in the comfort of your very own home! Plan your menus for the week in advance, with easy recipes you enjoy cooking, and take it in turns to prepare etc.
Stock your living room with board games and books
Another great aspect of holiday homes is a well-stocked games library. But it can go both ways: sometimes there’s nothing but a grubby jigsaw with most of the pieces missing. Make sure your staycation games library is bursting with fun activities, favourite board games, craft boxes and books. See if you can find a chest or large box to store it all in which adds an element of discovery when you ‘arrive’!
Jazz up the kids’ rooms
Surprise your children while they’re out by moving the furniture in their rooms around, putting up new pictures, using different bedclothes or adding new toys – to give the impression of a different bedroom (but avoid too much moving of stuff if your child hates change or is precious about where things are in their room). Even little changes such as a new lampshade or little rug will make the staycation home feel like a more fun environment than the ordinary home. The point you’re making to even the most reluctant of staycating children is that you aim to make this as special as possible.
Harness that holiday spontaneity
Most of us let our hair down a bit on holiday. The rules are looser: the kids stay up later and eat foods with ingredients list we haven’t checked. We wake up in the morning with a sense of excitement and freedom at how the day might unfold. A good staycation encompasses all those wonderful devil-may-care feelings. Have fun, let loose, eat ice cream.
Invite friends to stay
One way to create a holiday feeling at home is to invite friends who live far away to stay with you. They bring a new energy to the house and, in the best case scenarios, a willingness to share cooking and cleaning. (Avoid inviting friends for whom you have to wait on hand and foot as this somewhat eliminates the holiday feeling for you!) This way your house becomes a bit like a shared holiday home, and hopefully the invitation will be returned next year – bonus!