Nothing brings me more joy than when my family is enjoying time together. I love how summer seems to slow life down and help us to be more intentional about relaxing and having fun. We try to eat outside most nights. We all swim in the pool together. We pull out the hangers and roast S’mores more often. We also love having friends and family over. But summer is also a great time to vacation.
Now, here is where I need to confess. Since we are a homeschooling family, we tend to vacation during the school year. We find places are less crowded. However, we still take the same week off every year during the summer, and we have ourselves a little “stay-cation.”
Have you heard of that term before? Well, it’s a vacation in your own home. Before you throw up your arms in disgust and declare that you’re not really on vacation if you’re still at home, let me explain a bit more.
I get it. There is an extra element of relaxation when you are away from your normal to-do list that you naturally have in your own house. You really have to fight the urge to get things done around the house during your stay-cation, but it’s still so worth it.
Time for another confession. We live in San Diego. Super fun, right? Well, I’m sure it is, but we rarely get out and “play” tourists. My husband and I used to laugh that our friends and family had seen more of San Diego and done more fun things in our area than we have done. People come here all the time to vacation, so I guess you can say that we decided to vacation here, too.
There are actually lots of great benefits to stay-cations. First, the obvious one, it’s cheaper! No hotel or travel costs. Another added bonus is that there is no packing up the whole family to get on the road. You have all the normal comforts of home, because you are home.
Our stay-cation is actually one of our favorite vacations. But I’ve found through the years that I needed some ground rules to make our stay-cations truly great — and truly relaxing.
- Don’t cook. Do plan for some simple meals. This was the firm rule I had when my husband first brought up stay-cationing. Most vacations we take I usually pack some food and have a basic meal plan for our time away. So, I do cook on vacation in order to help us save money. However, since we are saving money by staying in our own house, we do feel like we have some flexibility to go out to eat more. We try to find restaurants that we haven’t gone to before. We will barbecue and have some meals at home, however, I plan for them to be basic and really easy. Basically, I don’t cook anything that requires much work. It helps me to feel like I’m really on vacation when I’m not cooking all the time. I’ve even been known to make some freezer meals ahead of time, so I can just throw them in the crockpot.
- Don’t tell anyone you are home. Do protect your family time. Ha! We did this for years. We kept it a little secret. Now our friends know our routine too well for us to get away with it. We used to tell folks that we were on vacation and just not mention where. This does seem like a funny tip, but the real reason I mention this is because you might have the tendency to not truly unplug. It’s important that we try protect your family time together. We have actually invited friends from out of town to “stay-cation” with us. They actually come and stay with us and vacation.
- Don’t get work done. Do have fun. Keep asking yourself this, “If I was on vacation, would I do this?” This helps with the projects that you might be tempted to tackle while at home with not much to do. Keep reminding yourself that you are on vacation. You can even go as far as to put your mail on hold. You literally need to treat your home as though it was a bed and breakfast. Don’t do yard work or fix things. Just stay there. It’s your home base for fun.
- Don’t just sit around the house. Do plan like a tourist. We ask our friends what they loved doing here. We collect brochures from around town to see what might be fun. Yes, we have a pool, so some days are pool days. However, we really try to plan for fun and even plan for long day trips. We actually try to keep a list of fun things that we hear about in our area. This makes planning our week extra fun since we’ve been anticipating doing those activities.
You don’t have to live in San Diego to have a great time in your area. There are usually lots of fun things that you can do near your home. You can even enjoy time at home. Just be sure to plan for fun activities to do together as a family. Be strategic, but have fun.
Happy Summer! I’d love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite things to do on your stay-cations?
Blessings and joy,
P.S. If you’d like a free copy of my Sanity Savers for Moms eBook, you can get a copy here. I hope it blesses you.