Family Stay-cation – Save Money and Have Fun!


In these difficult economic times, many families go through the traditional summer vacation to save money. Going on the road has become an expensive proposition with high gas prices, and airfare prices can be quite hostile to families trying to make ends meet. This is where the residence code comes from. It's an inexpensive alternative that solves the problem of getting quality fun time with your kids without the great price and little travel involved.

What exactly is a stay?

My personal definition would be the amount of time your regular routine is suspended so you can concentrate on just having fun with your family. Kids really want time with you. It is not necessary if this happens in a theme park or in your backyard. Traveling on vacation can be exhausting and overly stimulating for children who often crave for thought (you know what I'm talking about – you read that same storybook to Joey 132 times and counted).

Research and do things you wouldn't normally do. Take the time to really see the best locations your city has to offer. Your local tourist office or chamber of commerce can help you highlight the most popular or overlooked places to visit. Often times, cultural gems that you have forgotten are sitting in front of you. Try to think like a tourist. What would you like to see if you've only been here a week or two? "Mom, remember that time we changed clothes and went to the Star Wars Convention. That was great!"

Some simple, fun ideas for stay activities may include:

1. Focusing on the topic. Pretend you're going to another state or state. Go to Hawaii for a day rent a video on how to teach Hula to dance, decorate with fake tropical flowers from a shop, and wear Hawaiian print T-shirts all day. Try camping in the yard. Set up a tent, cook all your meals outside, and play Frisbee and other outdoor games.

2. Try a family project. It might be the ticket to the best ice cream within 50 miles. Have your children research and compile a list of all local ice cream shops, locate and label them. Take a notebook with you when you visit each location so everyone can write down their favorite flavors and shops. Then you can vote for your top three places.

3. Check out new destinations and activities.

  • Museums and parks usually host free events throughout the year. Everything from music programs, child-friendly art and hands-on exhibits can be fun and educational.
  • Public libraries often have stories, arts and crafts, children's music performances and perhaps a puppet show thrown in.
  • Don't overlook local colleges. Community events and sports happen all the time at universities. Go check out what's happening on campus.
  • Community festivals are held year-round throughout the country. Maybe something happens to you in the neck of the woods. They could focus on all sorts of things like Chili's cooking, blues music, lavender, and one of my favorite, Skijoring (when dragging on snow skis behind a galloping horse through an obstacle course – Yes, people really sign up to do this).

The family stay-cation is alive and well. Your "trip" could be in the weekend or even a few weeks. Go out to your town or even just your yard and explore. Happy trails!