It’s summer—the season for family vacations. Where has all the time for planning a trip gone? If you have yet to make reservations and finances are tight, or if the memory of a past trip is giving you travel-anxiety, the solution may be to enjoy a travel-less vacation at home.
What is your ultimate vacation goal? Most parents with preschoolers look forward to a change of routine, a little relaxation, and a break from household duties. You can enjoy that much needed break with all the comforts of home and without traveling to a new locale.
As with any vacation, the first step involves planning. Scheduling your vacation-at-home activities ahead of time is crucial for three reasons:
- So your precious time-off will not be consumed by everyday errands and chores
- To give everyone the chance to discuss what they want to do, and to build some excitement about your time together
- So that you have time to research special events, opening and closing times, and costs—just like any other vacation
A travel-less vacation offers the chance to see hometown sites and experience events that you rarely take time to enjoy, as well as to simply “decompress” at home. Check out your local map for new parks and “sites of interest,” call your chamber of commerce, and browse through the events section of the newspaper. Don’t hesitate to play tourist in your own town and visit the places “locals” avoid. If there’s no place like home for your family, invest in some games and play equipment to enjoy together, or choose from this list of travel-less things to do:
- buy a pass to the local pool or amusement park (indoor or outdoor)
- visit a hands-on children’s museum
- switch sleeping spots—camp out in your living room, porch, or backyard
- play at the best playground in town, followed by a picnic lunch
- attend an outdoor concert
- enjoy a treat at an ice cream parlor or drive-in restaurant
- play games outside early, then spend the afternoon reading and napping on a pile of pillows
- go someplace special like a museum, cave, butterfly house, or aquarium
Vacationing at home allows you to arrange outings and activities around your child’s schedule. But to make the most of your time off, decide ahead of time NOT to do laundry, answer the phone, clean the house, or pay bills, and try to fit as many meals out into your budget as possible. At the very least, use paper plates and disposable silverware when dining at home.
Enjoy the sights and activities your hometown has to offer. With a travel-less vacation you can get away from it all—while sleeping in your own bed and without having to pack up the kiddie gear.
Don’t forget to take pictures. You may remember this as the best time you’ve ever spent at home!