Easy ways to make your staycation feel like a true vacation

It’s almost spring break time for my kiddos. Finally! Our break is rather late this year, because our school district always plans it for the week prior to Easter. We don’t typically do a big trip over spring break, but we do often go to visit relatives out-of-state. This year, however, my budding entrepreneur has taken on some pet-sitting jobs, so we are definitely tied to home!

We’ve had enough snow days this school year for me to know that a full week of bickering  togetherness at home is not what we need! But, we are fortunate to live near a major city, and day trips are no problem at all. I recently went to the Missouri History Museum with friends, and it’s so embarrassing that I had never been to this free museum before. I think most of us are guilty of this, though, aren’t we? Not fully exploring our own backyards?

The good news is that my museum visit inspired me to plan a full-on staycation with my family, and even to plan a theme. It just so happened that my museum visit coincided with the Winter Olympics. I had been considering all the planning, construction, and then deconstruction that goes into events like these. Then when I saw the 1904 World’s Fair exhibit at the museum, it reminded me that this very thing had happened here in St. Louis. While I’ve known that, I’ve not taken the time to ever really explore it! Now is our chance. We’ll spend spring break exploring all things related to the fair!

If you can't go out of town, consider going back in time on an historical staycation.

 I’m chattering to you about it because I am clearly super excited to be doing this. Obviously, unless you live in or near St. Louis, this won’t apply to your staycation. But, below are some things you can do to make the most of your staycation, no matter where you’re staying.

Plan your staycation.

It’s too easy to take time off from school and work with the intention to go do some fun things, but suddenly a week has come and gone and you don’t have a single vacation photo or souvenir to show for it! Just as you would if you were leaving town, determine when you will “depart” and “return.” Take off from work. Avoid scheduling volunteer or other commitments. Treat your calendar the same as you would if you were leaving town.

How to Make the Most of Your Staycation

Decide on destinations.

I’ve planned our destinations around a theme. You’re welcome to run with that idea, but it’s not necessary. You might choose to visit everyone’s favorite destinations, or destinations you’ve not yet been to. To make sure your staycation appeals to everyone in the family, ask each person what’s at the top of their list and try to include it in your plans.

Expect expenses.

Scour local travel guides and group discount sites to save on your staycation.Most people wouldn’t head to Disney World without a budget already figured out. Treat your staycation the same. As a local, you have the advantage of stocking up on local coupons or group deals ahead of time, and you probably have insight into many free and cheap activities or events. It’s still smart to create a budget of how much you’re willing and able to spend on your staycation. This helps in deciding how many times you’ll dine out, how many souvenirs will come back home with you, and what activities you’ll choose to do.

Deal with meals and more.

Speaking of dining out… a staycation does not come with the all-inclusive meal plan or maid service, unfortunately. You and your family will still need to eat. Dishes will still be dirtied. And, laundry will still pile up. Hopefully, you can let the bulk of this go and enjoy some R&R. It is, after all, supposed to be vacation! You also have to temper this with reality. It helps to decide upfront how you’ll deal with meals, mess and more.

For example, I decided to have our meals planned and prepped as much as possible so that I’ve only got a few steps to finish up. I also plan for us to dine out far more than we typically do. We’re going to give the house a good cleaning the day before our “departure,” and the day after we “return.” In the meantime, we’ll do quick-tidy sessions and work together to keep the kitchen cleaned up. Laundry and other chores will go on the back-burner for us this week!

Put on your vacation persona.

Is it safe to say most of us have a “vacation self” that comes out to play when we’re truly off? I know I do. When you set off for your staycation, flip the switch that puts you into your vacation persona. Be silly. Take risks. Be open to adventure. Say “yes” more. Stay up late. Sleep in. Smile easily. Laugh hard. Be your vacation you. And, enjoy it!

Happy staycationing!