why staycations are better - couple sitting in a sunny backyard, lounging in lawn chairs, laughing with bubbles floating in the air

Why Staycations are Better for Families

Your Best Family Secret to More Adventures for Less Money

Today, let’s talk about Why Staycations are Better for Families.

Who doesn’t love a vacation? We all look forward to the time when we can get away from it all for a little fun and relaxation. For some people, due to the cost and time commitment, vacations are out of the question.

What if I told you that there was a way that you could get away more frequently, for less money?

As you may be aware, staycations are ‘vacations’ where, instead of traveling to another state, you vacation in the area where you live. For the purposes of this article, let’s broaden our definition to include day trips and longer trips, while remaining in your state.

They are a good option for single parents, not accustomed to traveling with kids, large families and what used to be “traditional” families.

Staycations are not a new concept, but since the onset of travel restrictions, they are gaining favor. People harbor a fear of germ exposure from others due to the pandemic. As such, air travel has lost its luster and travel by car is more appealing.

Save Money

How do you feel about saving some money?

Consider all of the costs associated with travel. To start, there are plane tickets, one for each family member. The price of a rental car for the duration of the trip. Food and accommodations. Not to mention the fees associated with your entertainment while you’re away!

No wonder why, especially in the U.S., families only take one vacation per year.

You may be surprised to learn that, in the United States, the average family of four can spend more than $6,000 for one week’s vacation.

Imagine the costs for two weeks!

If finances in general are a struggle, a staycation is an optimal solution. This assumes that the vacation is paid-time-off, of course. But that’s not always the case.

By simply opting for a staycation over a traditional vacation, you have the opportunity to save on most of the major expenditures you might otherwise expect to pay. Food can be made at home, with an inexpensive treat on the road.

Day trips eliminate the need for overnight accommodations. Use of your personal vehicle negates the need for plane tickets or a rental. But, should a place to stay be needed, the cost of a hotel or Airbnb for a few nights is miniscule compared to what you would be paying abroad.

Explore Where You Live

It’s funny, people often say they love where they live, but the reality is that most of us like where we live because of employment, schools, neighborhood, proximity to friends/ family and climate.

But how often have you actually explored where you live? Sure you might have a park that you like to go to or a city that you like to play in but what about the rest of your area?

How often do you play tourists in your own area? You might do the major things when you have friends or family come to town. Even then, you hit the touristy locations and possibly for the first time. I live in a great place and have only seen some of the things that my state has to offer. So my goal is to focus on being here.

I challenge you to try something new! Bo beyond your typical stops and see what’s out there. There are many hidden gems in towns you’ve driven right past or may not have heard of.

What a great opportunity to really immerse yourself in your city/ state and the surrounding areas. Find some new favorites. Get into the nooks and crannies and see what treasures are there. You may discover new hiking trails, secluded picnic/ camping spots or perhaps an interesting bit of history you never knew.

Take a chance and just hit the road. Or, if planning is better for your family, you could always take a tour! Nobody is going to stop you from having the same experiences as the tourists that come to visit.

Or, how about this? Grab a travel guide for your area. I bet you’ve never even looked at one of those. There could be surprises around every corner just waiting to be discovered and experienced by your family!

Travel More Frequently

Guess what? When taking a staycation, your vacation can start now! Like, right now! By taking your vacation closer to home, you can go on adventures more frequently.

Often, when flights are involved, the trip is planned well in advance and likely limited to once a year (if you’re lucky). Outside of that, the time and expense required for travel is prohibitive to do on a regular basis.

But, how do staycations allow for more frequent travel? Easy! By expanding your concept of a getaway to include day trips and weekends. There’s no reason to wait until you’ve amassed 2 weeks of vacation time to take a break. You can go as often as you want to.

Imagine waking up early, packing the car and heading off for the day! For the price of gas, (which is outrageous where I live but cheaper than a flight), you can do so much.

Or, plan for a little longer stay and make use of the entire weekend. There are 52 weekends/ 104 weekend days each year! Barring other commitments, that offers so many chances for exploration and relaxation.

Also, keep in mind that without the need to travel to/ from the airport, not to mention the flight itself, you don’t lose a day or more of travel. I’m not even accounting for transfers and delays. Additionally, no need to make any time zone adjustments or adding a recovery day upon returning home.

Economic Benefits of a Staycation

Another excellent bonus for keeping your travels closer to home is the opportunity to support local businesses. It’s so easy to latch onto the big guys when traveling abroad as they are easily accessible and their marketing budgets are attractive.

But what about the local mom & pop shops? The economic challenges in the past couple of years hit small businesses hard; Far too many have had to close their doors.

By spending your money locally, you can help keep those businesses open and keep your local economy alive. You have the chance to help people you know in a tangible way that could make a real difference in their lives.

Local merchants often invest locally as well. Their products and ingredients use materials found locally. So, supporting one business, trickles down to the support of others. The more viable an area remains, the more investment made by everyone connected to that area. Keeping jobs alive is keeping hope alive.

Spontaneous Adventure

What if you could just jump in the car and be somewhere great in the matter of a few minutes to a few hours? Where would you go?

My friends and I used to do it all the time when we were young and free. We would drive a couple of hours to spend the day at the beach or the weekend at the ocean. Very little planning went into these trips aside from packing a bag and hitting the road.

True, that was before having kids, but there’s no reason not to do the same now. If you own a car, you can just pick-up and go! Otherwise, you can rent the transportation you need through a rental company, or a service like Zipcar. And, why limit yourself to a car or SUV. Perhaps an RV (recreational vehicle) is what your adventure needs.

You don’t even need a plan. Not really. You can just fill up the tank and drive. There’s a lot to see when you’re on the road. Even if you have a destination in mind, what’s stopping you from taking a detour to venture somewhere else? Nothing!

If you change your mind and want to go somewhere else, you can do that. If the kids are fussy and home is best, that’s fine too. When you’re not bound by restrictive travel regulations, you can do whatever works best for your family. When younger children are involved, it’s important to be flexible.

Themed Outings

Usually, when you go on vacation out of the state or country, it’s common practice to hit all of the highlights, the main tourist trappings. If you had more time and opportunities to design your outings, imagine how they could be customized?

What about visiting all of the State Parks in your state? There are 124 in mine. There’s no way we could do that in a weekend, or even a year, but that’s something that we could work toward over time.

You could do the same for all of the museums. This could include historical, local, curiosity, transportation, science… you get the idea. Hang a state map on the wall and put pins in all the places you visit. This is something fun that people do for other trips, so why not do it for your staycations?

Additional Themes to Consider:

  • State/ National Parks
  • Museums
  • Beaches/ Lakes (Picnic, Ride Horses, Water Sports, Relax)
  • Hiking Trails
  • Cycling
  • Local Oddities/ Curiosities (Biggest Frying Pan, Largest Dresser..)
  • Amusement Parks/ Carnivals
  • Hidden Camping Spots
  • Fairs/ Festivals (music, local celebrations, etc.)
  • Zoo (Petting zoo)
  • Farm/ Ranch (There are working ranches where you can stay/ work in some places)
  • Snow sports (Ski, snowboard, sledding, etc.)
  • Local sports teams (minor league, collegiate, etc.)
  • Fireworks (follow them throughout the state)
  • Food Tours (Is your area known for a particular food? Visit the factory/ shop)

Activities for the Kids

When you have young kids, even the most spontaneous of getaways needs just a little planning. Involve the kids in planning the trip. Let them help decide where to go and what to do. Once they know where they’re going, they’ll need something to do.

Keeping kids entertained for car rides and sight seeing can be difficult. However, by planning a few, vacation related activities, the little ones could be more cooperative. Don’t forget to include the stuff every adventurer needs, like binoculars, a compass and magnifying glass!

Activity Ideas:

  • Keep a travel journal (kids): All you need is a blank notebook, pencil/ pen, glue stick
  • Make a local passport: You add stamps for the cities/ towns/ attractions you visit
  • Collect postcards: They can frame them or add to their journal or photo album
  • Collect keepsakes from each trip: I have a friend who collects a small jar of beach sand for every trip they take
  • Leave painted rocks along your route: Have to plan ahead and make the rocks at home (and remember to bring them)
  • Create a treasure hunt: Include items/ places for the kids to be on the lookout for (add some for the ride, others for the destination)

By giving them something to look forward to and allowing them to be a part of the process will help them feel like an important part of the family.

The Stay Home Staycation

When all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with creating a fun atmosphere at home. Decorations, music, themed food…it just takes is a little staging.

Does it feel like a beach day? Turn your backyard into a beach oasis. All you need is a blow-up swimming pool, any size can help create the illusion. Put on some tropical music, get some novelty cups from your favorite party store for some festive drinks. Lawn chairs, beach towels, the kids sandbox – you get the idea.

Looking for more inspiration, transform the backyard into a campground. Pitch a tent, roast marshmallows, the works. It might not be exactly the same, but there are no crowds and it can still be a lot of fun.

Consider this option! Rather than staying at your house, you can go home adjacent and enjoy a day or even a weekend at the hotel down the street!

This might sound odd, but just think of the perks. You don’t have to cook or clean. You may be closer to the city center for easier access to entertainment. Picture lounging by the pool sipping cocktails/ mocktails to your hearts content. You might feel like you’re in another place, even though your house is minutes away.

Remember, to kids, anything new and different is fun and special.

Take Away

Now more than ever, people are in need of a little fun. After living with so much negativity and uncertainty, having the opportunity to make positive memories with our loved ones is just what’s needed. It’s a no brainer.

Let’s face it, traveling with family is a big undertaking. The bigger the family, the more complex the logistics.

By enjoying a staycation with your family, you save time and money and have the flexibility that traveling by plane does not allow. Add to that, no need to learn a new language or change out your currency. Depending on how long you’re away, you might not even have to pack!! Can you imagine?!

To enhance the experience, don’t forget car snacks, road games and of course, your road trip playlists! And don’t forget, depending on your destination, your pet can travel with you, that way the whole family can enjoy the fun!

For people that want to take a more traditional vacation, the costs don’t have to be prohibitive. Advanced planning and creative thinking can help bring these costs down.

For example, staying with family and friends near your destination may eliminate the price of accommodations. And, you may go to a place where walking, biking or public transportation is preferable over driving. It might take a little work, but it can be done.

But, in the meantime, a staycation is a more immediate solution to your desire for a little fun now. Yes! Right now!

As with everything these days: Follow the guidance provided by the CDC and your local government. Take all precautions to keep your family safe.

Related Post: 7 Amazing Self-Care Ideas to Inspire You

When was the last time you took a road trip? Where did you go? Did you take the family along? I want to know everything! Tell me in the comments below.

32 thoughts on “Why Staycations are Better for Families”

  1. I love staycations while my boy is younger. It just makes travelling easier too as you can put a lot in a car compared to going on a plane. I also could not imagine a plane journey with a 1-year-old!

    Corinne x

    1. Hi Corrine,
      Yes! I love them too. You are so right about that. There’s so much stuff with our littlest ones. It takes longer to load/ unload the car than it does to go anywhere. The fact that you have to drastically limit things for a flight… well, I don’t know how parents do it, and some of them do it very well. I much prefer being prepared for whatever may happen. And, I’m with you, 1-year olds in some ways might be really easy to travel with (aside from the stuff), but challenging as well. If yours is anything like mine, it would definitely be a challenge!

      ~ Cassie

    1. Hi Lauren!
      First of all, thank you so much for reading and commenting! We stayed in a trailer for my daughter’s birthday last year and are planning on doing it again a couple of more times this year. I like that it puts you right in nature, but you still have some of the creature comforts that we enjoy at home. It can be a lot of work, but we still look back on that VERY RAINY weekend with joy.

      I would so love to be blogger friends! I love the blogging community and the open heart that people have in supporting and encouraging each other. After I hit send on this, I’m heading over to your blog. See you in a minute!

      ~ Cassie

  2. Great post. Packed full of useful information.

    We loved staycations in the UK before the pandemic. Even as a couple we would opt for sightseeing in the UK over a holiday abroad. We had an English Heritage membership which allowed entry to all historic sites, such as old ruins and monasteries.

    I also agree, it’s much cheaper!

      1. Thank you Nils! Themes and activities definitely make the trip more interesting, especially when kids are involved. But, they could also be enjoyed by adults as well. I guess anything that allows you to enjoy your time with the people you care for is worth the effort.

        Thanks for reading and commenting,

    1. Thank you. I would absolutely love to have access to all of the amazing buildings you have in the UK. There is just so much history there and the beauty and artistry of the architecture is something I’m sure would be even more amazing to see in person. I hope that you’re able to get out again soon. I know that here, to keep numbers down, places where large crowds might go (zoo, museums, etc.) have reservation blocks. You can no longer just go on a whim, you have to schedule time in advance. Perhaps an option like that will allow you to feel safer taking another staycation before too much more time passes.

      ~ Cassie

  3. Great Post cassie! I have not been out of this country for over 10 years now, why would I, we have some beautiful coastal staycations nearby. And some brilliant tips here for keeping the kids entertained here too.

    I’ve booked a week away in Devon (about 3 hours from where I live) in August and I can’t wait.

    1. Hi Jeanette! I love that you have a trip booked for August. I know where I want to go this summer, but have to wait until reservations open for the season. Like you, I am blessed to live in an amazing place. We have seasons and coast, mountains even a dessert and rain forest if you want to venture there. So much to explore and for me, the main thing holding me back is that we also have extremely high gas prices. I have a hard time keeping enough gas in the car for school runs. But, I will take a few trips over the spring and summer if I can help it.

      ~ Cassie

  4. These are some really great reasons why staycations are fun. When I was young we would have family holidays to Butlins and Devon and I loved it! I love the idea of more days out adventures, especially with young children. Thank you for sharing your suggestions.

    Lauren – bournemouthgirl

    1. Hi Lauren!
      I grew up like you. My parents often took us out for the day to the local mountain, or museum and we also would take longer vacations at one of the lakes in the area. I felt like my world was full of fun and adventure. I still look back on that time fondly. They had a great way of providing us with culture and adventure that I am so grateful for now. I hope that you do get out there and explore. Let me know if you discover a place you never knew existed. Better yet, write a post about it and I’ll read it there!

      ~ Cassie

  5. I love staycations! And they’re great for families. I love the idea of kids travelling abroad and learning new cultures but it’s also important to explore your local area as it often gets overlooked. Great post!

    1. Hi Vourneen,

      I with you 100%! I want my kid to be well-traveled in all aspects. I love how diverse the world we live in is and to be able to experience other customs and cultures is something to take advantage of. I also think that it’s important to be a real part of your community. It’s unfortunate that it seems to be easier to plan to get away than it is to immerse yourself into the place you live. I hope to find a little more of a balance of that in the next few years. Blessedly though, there is culture and experience to enjoy even close to home.

      ~ Cassie

  6. Great idea. For me, learning more about local areas seems intriguing. My wife and I did a bit of stay-cation – minus a 5 month trip to Panama – since July of 2020. We stayed in the USA LOL. For us, that was a staycatiion since we had been largely traveling abroad from May of 2011. We did however see much more of our native New Jersey, especially from July of 2021 to January of 2022, doing many house sits all around the state.

    1. Hi Ryan,
      What a change for you and your wife! Based on your pictures, I envision you in all of these exotic, unspoiled places! I hope that you discovered something new and interesting while travelling locally. There are great little family owned places that often get bypassed when you stick to the main streets. I don’t know much about New Jersey, but there have to be some gems that were just waiting for you to find them. What’s been the most interesting or fun experience there so far?

      ~ Cassie

  7. Staycations are such a great idea; I did one quite a number of years ago when I still lived in the UK. I think you’ve inspired me to try one out soon with my husband as I am sure there are some fun things we can do/find that we wouldn’t normally try out. Thanks!

    1. Hi Molly,

      You should definitely get out and explore the state with your husband! I know that there is something fun, curious and even interesting there that you just have to see! Who knows what you might be missing? It would be great if gas prices here were more favorable so I could go out more. I would have loved to be in the UK to do some exploring. The architecture and history there has always been so interesting to me.

      If you do go out and adventure in your area, please let me know how it goes!

      ~ Cassie

  8. Staycations are great and I have been doing more of these since Covid. I always look for ways to travel in a less polluting way so trains provide a good method of exploring your own country. Great post!

    1. Hi Jamie, Thanks for reading. Travelling in a way that’s kinder to the environment is a great idea! I wish the train system were as extensive in the U.S. as it is in the U.K. I used to take the train to the next state to visit a friend and not only was it scenic, it was nice not to have to do the driving. I hope you get to enjoy another staycation soon.

      ~ Cassie

  9. As much as I love traveling out of state/country, I must admit that the actual process of traveling can be overwhelming to me. Since having my little one, I have taken advantage of taking more staycations and I love them! Not only do you save money as you have mentioned but it provides a better experience of ease which is crucial when you have children. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Hi Angie,
      I’ve always done things all around the state I live in. My parents started us with that when we were kids and it just kept going. I did branch out when I got older (Hawaii, am I right?) but now that I’m a mom, staying close to home, even within a few hours is so much easier. We live in a beautiful place with a lot to offer so it’s fun sharing that with her. I hope you get out this spring and summer and have some fun with your family.

      ~ Cassie

    1. Thanks, Emily! One of the things I like most is that you can find new places, close to home, that can become favorites that you visit often. It’s both new and familiar. We take so much for granted in our daily lives that it’s nice to slow down and enjoy what’s around us. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      ~ Cassie

  10. I love going on staycations. It is a great way to explore not only your area but your country. I discover so many amazing and beautiful places. Thank you for sharing this post.

    1. I agree, Charlotte. There’s so much we miss just by taking our usual route and following our usual routines. But, if you head out with exploration and adventure in mind, it’s amazing to find out how much you’re missing out on! Even if it’s something as simple as a little restaurant or bakery that offers great food and supports the community. I hope that you are able to enjoy an adventure of your own soon.

      ~ Cassie

    1. I’m excited for you, Rupali! I don’t have any staycation plans this year, aside from a camping trip in September. But we do want to enjoy the outdoors when the weather is nicer. I hope that you did have a great time with the family and enjoy your adventures!

      ~ Cassie

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