Labor Day weekend is almost here! A few years ago that would have meant a fun trip somewhere, doing something exciting. This year due to budget and our schedule it means a Staycation.
What is a Staycation? Well, it means you are just staying in your town (or nearby) and having a vacation! The trick of a Staycation is to treat it like it is a REAL vacation. Staycations have become more and more popular in the last couple years due to the economy. Instead of splurging on airline tickets, hotels and constant eating out, you are staying close to home, driving and not going to be spending as much. The trick is to make sure it feels like a vacation. A vacation isn’t a vacation if you are just “going to clean the garage really quick and then go somewhere.” It means putting a little extra thought into the activities, planning in advance (even if it’s just a few days before) and doing the housework before you go. As a kid I LOVED the weekends we went to the beach as a mini Staycation. It meant we weren’t cleaning the garage, washing the floors or doing yard work. It meant we were going to go somewhere! And eat dinner out! It was something different, something fun and those memories are some of my favorites. With Labor Day just around the corner, it’s still not too late to plan one. Here are a few tips for planning a Staycation:
- Visit a hotel near you and pick up a few brochures. Not only will they have suggestions for things to do, many of them have coupons inside as well.
- Become a member sites such as Amazon Local Deals, or Groupon. Your city might even have a local daily deal site. They have deals on local things you can do for a discount (like amusement parks or golfing), or a percentage off at certain restaurants. If you want to visit a nearby city, check those sites for that city in advance, not only will you get ideas on things to do but you can save money in the process!
- With so much access to the Internet now, Google, Google, Google! Google where to go, what is fun, and you can even read reviews from people who have been there, done that. You might even visit the direct site of an activity you want to do and check for coupons.
- Use websites like Priceline.com for a hotel if you are going to stay in a nearby city, we have been able to land huge suites for less than what a local hotel would have cost if we waited til the day of to buy one!
Make it Feel like a Vacation:
- Get some friends in on the action-two heads are better than one, you could each plan a day or just share ideas. If you can carpool, even better!
- If you have kids, get them excited! Rarely do they know the difference between an expensive trip and one that hardly cost anything-to them it’s all about the ambiance, how did it feel!? If you are excited, they will be excited. Talk about where you are going ahead of time and how fun it is, or keep it a surprise and let them guess!
- Spend a little more than you normally would-if you normally take the kids to the zoo, but don’t always splurge for the train ride or feeding the animals, go for it this time! You’re on vacation!
- Let each kid (or your spouse) pick out something about the trip, it could be something as little as wearing a new shirt, taking them in advance to the Dollar Store and letting them get a new toy for the car ride, or even letting them pick from the brochures the top 3 things they would like to do to help you plan. If they are invested in the trip personally, they will enjoy it more.
Places to Go:
- Visit a fire or police station
- Visit a factory (mmm, like the Blue Bell creameries!)
- Visit a Radio Station (maybe they’ll even let you go on air!)
- Take a behind the scene tour of the local bakery, bowling alley or other place they’re interested in
- Water Parks
- The Zoo
- Miniature golfing
- Local Festivals
- Amusement Parks
- Go camping/fishing
- Go to a sports event
More for Adults:
- Local Winery
- Plane, helicopter or hot air balloon ride
- Bed and Breakfast
Be creative with your Staycations, and don’t let little things get in the way of having fun. If you planned on being outside and it looks like rain, have a back up plan. With life and little kids, it’s all about attitude and perception. If the kids think they are having fun, it will be fun. Get to know your city and don’t be afraid to be a tourist in your own backyard!
I am doing a little give away for a Groupon for a 2 hour bike ride in Central Park (NYC), valid until February 13th 2013. If you want a chance to win it, leave a comment on this post and tell me your plans for Labor Day! Give away ends at midnight August 30th.