5 Staycation Tips to Make Them Suck Less

I think staycations are a terrible idea and the only time one “takes” one is when one has no choice. 
There, I said it. Staycations suck.
But when time is scarce or money is tight (or both) a staycation is sometimes your only option. I know. So trust me when I say these staycation tips will truly help you make the most of your precious vacation time that you have to spend at home.
5 Staycation Tips:
#1 – Schedule Your Household Stuff
Probably my number one complaint about a staycation is how distracted I can get by all of the unfinished items on my household To-Do List. You too?? But even if that section of baseboard has needed to be painted for years, you probably won’t get around to it and then you’ll feel like you wasted your time off anyway. If there are tasks that you’ve been meaning to get to and are counting on your time off to actually complete them, schedule that time and ACTUALLY DO IT. Your best bet is to cram it all in the first day so that you are free to actually enjoy the rest of your days off.
My arm is getting a bit sore from patting myself on the back for actually organizing my closet on Day 1 of our Canada Day weekend. 
#2 – Make Actual Plans
If you have a limited number of days and some definite must-dos or must-sees for while you’re off, don’t be loosey goosey and try to “go with the flow.” One of my staycation tips I’ve learned the hard way is that trying to be spontaneous means we usually spontaneously laze about and do nothing and then get grumpy about it.
Treat your staycation days as you would actual vacation days if you were not at home. Get up with purpose and get out the door when you say you will. Even if your actual plans are just hitting the new local coffee shop and heading to the local park, actually do it. 
#3 – Don’t Cook
For me, cooking and tidying up are probably the biggest bummers of a staycation because, on top of everything else at home that is calling for my attention (besides the kids), there’s the (self-imposed) expectation that the time off from work should necessitate more elaborate meals. Which in turn creates more dishes and more things to clean up. So, nope. No more.
Just as I (half-assedly) meal plan for our daily life of work and school, I do (less half-assedly) for my staycations too. Meals out at tried and true restaurants are planned and budgeted for, as are a few at new places we’ve been meaning to (but never found the time to) try. Having babies and toddlers with early bedtimes means you can take advantage of early-bird dinner specials, and when they’re a bit older, lazy brunches out are big hits.
Another option is to try a local meal delivery service for time you’re off at home. Some are for specialty diets, but some sound amazingly gourmet and are a fraction of the price you’d pay for similar dishes in a restaurant. A trip to buy wine goes without saying
#4 – Don’t Clean
My baseboards are a disaster. But who has the time to scrub them down on top of everything else that needs doing? Oh, right… I’m supposed to use my vacation time to tackle that super-fun task. Nope again.
I still struggle with the notion that I should (or even could) outsource the dreaded housecleaning, but time off at home is the perfect opportunity to give it a try. One of the best staycation tips I can share is to hire a housecleaning service to give your place a once-over while you’re out on a fabulous day trip. I love coming home to a tidy hotel room on vacation, and this is kind of the staycation version of that.
#5 – Look for Local Deals
You may not be leaving the city, but that doesn’t mean you HAVE to stay at home. Many hotels offer mid-week and/or package deals that include breakfast and passes to local attractions, so you can get away for even a night or two without being far from home. This is also a good idea if you’ve been thinking about taking a mini-break for just the two of you without the kids but are nervous about being too far away. 
Depending on where you live CityPASS is a great way to visit nearby attractions and museums at a fraction of the cost, and your local parenting websites will often have discount codes or promotions as well.
But please don’t dread a staycation. My family lives a very busy–likely over-schedule–life with very little downtime. Which is probably why the notion of staying at home kind of feels like a waste. But we just completed a very enjoyable holiday weekend that was equal parts productive and relaxing. Success! I hope these staycation tips will help you make the most yours as well. 
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This post is part of The Whole Family Happiness Project, in partnership with Social Currents and the Low Carbon Economy Narrative Initiative. The Whole Family Happiness Project poses the question, “What is the connection between our individual purpose, our family happiness, and the happiness of the world around us?”
To learn more or get involved, visit Whole Family Happiness on Facebook. #wholefamilyhappiness
Image Source:  Charles Keene [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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