Spring is just around the corner and that means that you’re probably starting to think about your summer vacation. I know I’ve certainly been hearing vacation rumblings around my office water cooler these days. Everyone seems to have a few ideas as to where they’d like to go and are trying to weigh the pros and cons of each before picking a final destination. But what if you don’t have the money to drop on a family vacation this summer? You’re probably not the only one in that boat. Believe it or not, most of the people around you planning their vacations probably don’t have the money to drop either, but they’re going to do it anyway. What if you don’t want to go into debt to go to the beach or go see a giant-eared mouse? You’ll be happy to know there is an inexpensive alternative. Why not try a family staycation this year?
Last year we dropped way more than I’d like to think about traveling to Disney World in Orlando to give our daughter the vacation of a lifetime. We don’t plan on going back anytime soon and even though we paid cash, we also don’t plan on spending an equivalent amount on our family vacation this year.
If a staycation is being considered because of financial constraints, the decision to pull the plug on the traditional vaca will no doubt ease tension and enable the family to have a lot more fun. If you can’t comfortably spend money on a traditional vacation, the vacation will suffer and your memories won’t be as cherished. You will be watching every penny and that will increase stress and worry around an event that is supposed to be FUN. Let’s face it, when you’re on vacation and you cringe when the kids want to order dessert, there’s a problem.
THE BIG 3 DECIDING FACTORS:
-MONEY: Are there sufficient funds for a traditional vacation?
-TIME: Is there sufficient time for a traditional vacation?
-ENERGY: Is there sufficient energy for a traditional vacation?
Opting for a staycation over a traditional vacation certainly has its financial advantages, but that’s not all. Staycations are great if you’re pressed for time or you just don’t want to embark on an arduous journey across the country or globe.
Last fall we had such a decision to make. We had already been on the BIG vacation over the summer and we were supposed to go on a mini weekend jaunt to Salem, Mass in late October. The closer and closer we inched toward our mini weekend getaway the more and more stress we started to feel. It was supposed to be a 2-night stay at a B&B and 2 days traipsing around the town to see the seasonal sights. Although Mr. MMM and I would’ve enjoyed this immensely, we couldn’t say the same for our 7-year old daughter. We also didn’t like how much it was going to end up costing us after we started adding everything up.
Then I had a wonderful idea. We would still have an awesome 2 days, but we were could cancel our B&B in Salem and turn our weekend vacation into a weekend staycation. Perfect. No need to pay for a hotel or B&B, no need to spend money on traveling to get to and fro (even though we were driving, it still would’ve cost us a nice chunk o’ change for gas and tolls), and no being stressed or frazzled because of traveling 8 hours from home for only 2 days. Ahh. The pressure was off and we were going to see and do stuff that was right in our backyard for a teeny tiny fraction of the cost.
-MONEY: Here we go again, but yes, money is still a factor.
-DISTANCE: How far are you willing to venture from home?
-FOCUS: What is your focus? Are you camping or exploring local museums?
Staycations are a wonderful low-cost alternative to a traditional family vacation. We are big on building memories through traditional and non-traditional vacations. We’re also big on NOT going into debt to do it. If we have to choose between a traditional vacation with a credit card balance waiting for us at the end, we’re choosing the staycation EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
When you opt for a staycation you still need to mind your money. If you’re not careful, you could end up spending close to what you would’ve spent on a traditional vacation. It’s important to think about everything you want out of it. I’m going to assume you want quality family time and some pretty awesome memories to go along with it. The key to a staycation is that it allows you to SAVE money by eliminating the cost of hotel and travel while still giving you some much needed down time. I highly recommend you not travel so far away from home that you are required to have an overnight stay. That would completely defeat the point of said staycation. Not to worry, there are so many things you can add to your itinerary, you might not even realize you’re still in your zip code!
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The Possibilities Are Endless
Just like heading out of town for vacation, the possibilities when you choose to stay closer to home are also endless. You might not have a white, sandy beach at your tippy-toes, but I’m sure there are many unique and interesting areas within driving distance of your front door that you have yet explore.
The trick is to not allow yourself to get sucked into any household chore or any semblance of your daily grind while you’re on your staycation! Feel free to indulge a bit, spend a little money if you want to, and enjoy your family!
-Camping (campground, backyard, or family room!)
-Movie at the theater
-Attend a sporting event
-Go play some sports
-Try a new restaurant
When we decided on our staycation, everything we did was close by and something we never did before. We went horseback riding, we did a glow-in-the-dark indoor trampoline park, we made homemade ice cream, we got lost in a corn-maze, and we had a slumber party in our family room. We made memories we’ll never forget and our daughter talks about our staycation just as much as she talks about Disney. Go figure.
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And, Go! The family staycation seed has now been firmly planted in your mind as a possibility and a great alternative to your traditional vacation. If you’re feeling a little light on funds or like you might want to use that tax refund or work bonus to pay down debt instead of creating more, why not try a family staycation and see how awesome they can truly be!
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What do you think? Are you convinced that a staycation is a viable alternative to a traditional family vacation? We’d love to hear your thoughts and what kind of family vacation you’re planning this year.
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