The Value of the Staycation

Summertime is the time of vacation.  For kids it’s the vacation from school, but for many families, they use the time to get away as well.  The problem?  Everyone in the travel industry – from hotels to airlines to car rentals – seems to realize this and charges quite the premium for any family travel at this time (i.e., the premium seems to be at those places where family travel is the business of the day).  Unless you’ve been saving for quite some time, this type of vacation can be impossible for many families and yet they are equally as stressed and run down as those families who are able to take vacations.  What’s a family to do?

Enter the staycation.  A staycation, for those unaware of the concept, is when people take a “vacation” in their home town or city.  By eliminating the need for any long-distance travel, the staycation cuts out one of the most expensive parts of any family vacation: Getting to your destination.  Most people live close enough to a hotel or campgrounds that they can call home for as little as a night or as much as they want, and as such you gain the benefits of vacation without the cost.

The benefits?

1)      You get away and don’t need to worry about cleaning, laundry (until after), and other chores.  In short, you get to relax in a way that is never possible at home, especially if you have kids like mine that can make a clean house look like a cyclone hit it right after it was cleaned.  Of course, as there is someone else cleaning up after your kids, please be kind and leave a nice tip for them, it’s only fair.

2)      You can see your city in a new light.  Let’s be honest, most of us don’t do the “touristy” stuff in the town we already live in.  Why would we?  Yet a lot of what draws others to the places we live are the very things we’re avoiding.  As a staycationer, it’s your right – heck, your duty – to see your hometown as those around the world see it.  You may even discover some cool things you’ll return to after you go “home” again.

3)      The pool.  For us, this is a must and I imagine it is for all families: You have to find a place to stay with a pool (or if camping, a lake or some form of water to swim in).  Our kids don’t really care where they are so long as they can spend hours down by the pool.  In the summer, an outdoor pool rules where us adults can sit back with a drink, going in when needed, while the kids splash around and have a blast or conk out on the

4)      Try out new cuisine.  If you’re like us, we don’t eat out too often at home – it’s just too expensive.  However, staycations are the time to try those restaurants friends have been raving about that you have wanted to go to but couldn’t justify when you have a kitchen filled with food.  If you do eat out regularly, use this time to explore other places you wouldn’t normally try.  Some people don’t mind the cooking bit and you can save even more money if you pick a hotel that has a kitchenette in it because, as you aren’t traveling, you can pack up the food that would have gone bad in your house and bring it with you.

5)      But the biggest benefit of all?  Having family time without the stress of travel.  No kids asking when you’ll be there over and over, or others giving you the death glare on the plane as your child melts down, or delayed flights, missed connections, or any of the other thousand things that can go wrong as you try to get to where you’re supposed to be relaxing.  And that is totally worth it.

Image via flattop341/Flickr

By Tracy Cassels

August 04, 2014