Everyday Cheapskate: 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 home. Call it a stay-at-home adventure -- a staycation!
There are many reasons why you might want to take a staycation, including wanting to save money, not having enough vacation days or simply needing to stay close to home.
A staycation differs from a vacation. A vacation means having to come up with the funds to cover the cost of gasoline, airfare or other transportation. It means paying for overnight accommodations. Eliminating the two most expensive parts of a typical vacation makes a staycation even more inviting.
MAKE A PLAN
Create a schedule and itinerary for each day that includes activities and meals. Make a big, colorful chart and allow the kids to participate in the planning. Excitement is contagious, so determine how you'll set the tone.
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.
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 it's possibly the best move of all. Let the mail collect until 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 -- is your gift to them and to yourselves, too. A true vacation happens when you "vacate" the normal routines and stresses of life.
THINK LIKE A TOURIST