This Summer … Vacation at Home!

A cash shortage need not eliminate the idea of a family vacation. Clever and creative parents can turn several days off work into an amazing vacation experience—without leaving town.

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MAKE A PLAN. Call it a Stay-At-Home Adventure. Create a schedule and itinerary that includes activities and meals. Make a big colorful chart and allow the kids to participate in the planning.

NOTIFICATION. Let everyone know the dates you’ll be on vacation. In the same way you would not be available if you were flying to another country, they need to know you will not be available during your vacation.

THINK LIKE A TOURIST. Google the name of your town plus the word “tourist.” You’ll be amazed what you discover. We’re talking hiking trails, bike paths, community events even museums and play grounds that you may not even know exist. Look for special deals, coupons and other goodies local merchants are offering.

CHANGE ALL THE RULES. This is the fun part. Break all the rules during your stay-at-home vacation—within reason. Sleep in late, stay up really late, watch videos, play games, go on bike rides, explore places you’ve never been. A few days of junk food is not likely to create any serious problems. 

CAMP OUT. Kids love to camp, so haul out your basic camping gear (borrow or rent) and set up in the back yard. With proper care and being mindful of local rules and guidelines create a fire pit so you can sit around the campfire late into the night. Brush up on the old campfire songs. Determine that you’ll cook, eat and sleep outdoors during your camping staycation.

UNPLUG. This is the big challenge for parents especially. Everyone has to surrender their cellphones and computers to a central holding area for the duration. Sure it will be an adjustment, but possibly the best move of all. Let the mail collect to be opened when you return to normal home life. Letting your kids know they have your undivided attention—at least during the times you are not taking some well-deserved naps—will make this a true vacation when you “vacate” the normal routines and stresses of life.

MEMORIES. Be sure to take lots of pictures and let the kids help to create a scrapbook of memories. And don’t be surprised when they call it the best vacation ever!

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