Should you stay or should you go? That’s a question many families face this summer when debating the best use of their vacation time. There are multiple benefits to both staying at home and enjoying your vacation time and taking a trek together to explore new and exciting places. To help you in your staycation vs vacation decision, we’ve compiled a list of benefits for both the family staycation and the family vacation.
Staycations have always been a thing, but recent years have seen an increase in the number of families who choose to spend their vacation time and dollars at home. Families are cutting back and making lifestyle changes all across the country in an effort to build savings and better manage their budgets. To help save money, many families have done away with cable and satellite television subscriptions and taken up watching their favorite shows and movies online. Others have switched from using traditional cell phone carriers to carrying prepaid phones, traded in their SUVs for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars and said goodbye to the two-week long extravagant vacations of the past. As a solution, the staycation was born.
Staycations offer significant financial savings by eliminating the cost of flights, hotel rooms, rental cars, expensive tourist attractions, and dining in restaurants every night, which can significantly reduce expenses during your time off. On a staycation, you can save the headaches of traveling (which can be exhausting!) and enjoy some true relaxation. Although vacations can be exciting and offer your family a change of scenery, they are often stressful toward the beginning with all the preparations necessary for being away from home for an extended period of time, and at the end when everyone realizes it’s time to go back home. Packing, getting to the airport, train station, or making sure your car can handle a long road trip are all stresses you can avoid with a staycation.
A word of caution: Don’t try to tackle the dripping faucet or break out your list of home repairs that need attention. A staycation should still be a vacation from work and all the other things that don’t spell FUN! Make your staycation a time to enjoy all the things your area offers that you can’t do while you’re working! You know what we mean, that museum you always tell visitors about but which you’ve never actually visited, the concert you want to attend but that falls on a weekday, the tourist attractions you’ve always wanted to check out but were too busy working to enjoy. A big advantage to the staycation is that you already know the area. There’s no danger of getting lost or being stranded because you followed your GPS into the middle of nowhere. Your local tourist attractions are “touristy” for a reason! Pick a few things your area is famous for that you’ve always wanted to try, and actually try them! You’ll not only have a good time, but now you’ll be a true authority whenever someone asks you what the fun things are to do in your town.
The best way to get the most out of your staycation is to get out there and explore the local sights and not lounge around in your pajamas all day. Ignore the undone housework and home repairs, kick laziness to the curb and go enjoy yourself! Another perk is the fact that you’re not spending hundreds of dollars a day on your vacation. That means more to spend on other things, like a spa day, or week, or month!
A well planned, well-budgeted family vacation can be an experience your entire family can look forward to and enjoy. The advantages of a family trip away from home are also many. While you may spend more money than you would if you stayed close to home, the very fact that you’re going somewhere new is exciting. You don’t have to go into debt to do it, either. By setting aside a sum of money every month, you can have the cash you need to enjoy your trip without paying for it later. Getting out of town, climbing a mountain or sitting on a sandy beach somewhere can be very exciting. Experiencing the sights, sounds, food, and culture of a different country can be a learning experience you just can’t get any other way, and a memory your family can look back on fondly for years to come. A change of scenery can be good for the soul!
Another great thing about actually getting away from your normal place and habit patterns is that it gives you an opportunity to grow. There are endless choices for your vacation destination. With a staycation, your options for adventure are limited to what’s available locally, but when choosing your vacation spot, the sky’s the limit. You can take a cruise to Alaska or a road trip to a state or national park (or several!). You can go outside the boundaries of the US and visit another country. Have you always wanted to visit Paris in the spring? You can do that! Are the shores of Jamaica calling your name? Done! Want to climb the Swiss Alps? You can do that, too. The choice is yours to make, and as you research possibilities for this year’s vacation, you may discover possible destinations for your family’s future vacations. There’s always next year’s vacation!
One of the best ways to get the most out of a family vacation is to pad your days away from home with a few days to recover once you’re home, before you have to get back into the routine of work and school. Also, be sure to educate yourself on how to best protect your family and your things while away (especially if you’re in another country) and budget diligently. Don’t allow yourself to spend more than you planned, and you won’t feel the pinch of unplanned expenditures once you get back home and get those credit card statements. Vacation trips are still extremely doable if you plan well, including a contingency fund for emergencies, and avoid overspending.