Summertime is a perfect time to get the family together and spend time with each other. While traveling with your family may seem like a fun and exciting time, trying to do so on a budget can prove more challenging. So instead of making plans for a family vacation, plan a family staycation instead.
It is nice to take a break from your job and the normal routines of life and go on a fun family getaway, but with a little creativity you can take a break and relax on a staycation. Staycations still require some amount of planning, however. Below are some ideas for having a fun staycation this summer:
Unplug and Have Family Time
In the age of social media, iPads and online gaming, unplugging is the cheapest and the easiest staycation idea. All that is involved in unplugging your life is turning off ALL electronic devices (TV, landline and cellphones, computer, tablet, etc). So what are families to do with so much time on their hands?
- Play a family board game or play an outdoor game like horsehoes. If you start to have cabin fever, get out if the weather is permitting and go on a nature walk.
- Stay in and have a family movie night. Grab the popcorn and some of your family’s most favorite movies and have a movie marathon.
- Have an indoor scavenger hunt (this is great for families with young children or for those rainy days). Make a list of items to find for all of the players involved.
Have a Backyard Camping Trip
Camping has long been a summer past time for families worldwide. Unfortunately, there are a number of costs and craziness involved when camping with kids. For a low stress and fun filled camping excursion, try camping out in your own backyard. Kids will have plenty of time to run, scream and get dirty all within a few feet of the bathtub.
Roasting Marshmallows can be fun and safe even without a backyard fire pit. Portable fire pits can be purchased in various sizes from many big name stores like Target and Walmart and the prices generally range from $40 to over $200.
If you take part in any parenting groups or have a group of friends with children the same age as your you could make backyard camping into a yearly group event and choose a different house each time.
You could even register for free on the Great American Backyard Campout website and find local groups in your area that campout in their backyard.
What is the Great American Backyard Campout?
According to their website:
“On the fourth Saturday every June, thousands of people across the nation will gather in their backyards, neighborhoods, communities and parks to take part in a one-night event that will provide an experience for all generations to connect with nature. This year’s event is on June 22, 2013. You can join Great American Backyard Campout whether you are an experienced camper or first-time camper.“
You have the opportunity to make a donation or hold a fundraiser. All proceeds go to support the National Wildlife Federation. The NFW will then use the funds to fund programs that help get children up and moving to stay healthy.
Visit Local Events and Festivals
While a staycation means staying home, it does not mean you have to “stay” home, just stay local. Check in your local newspaper or your county calendar of events. Some local events will even allow for children under a certain age to enter for free, saving you even more money. Before school is out check with your child’s teacher or office staff for summer activities going on in your area for kids.
Sometimes it is not always about the rest of the family. Taking some time from having to go to work or cart the kids back and forth to school is needed to maintain sanity. Take a trip to the spa or have your significant other take the kids out in the backyard or to the park and draw a bath, light some candles and relax. Sometimes the best vacation, is a short, personal, mentail vacation.
If your kids are set on wanting to go to camp for the summer, contact your local Boys and Girls Club or YMCA to see what programs they offer. if you have low income status, some will offer a discount or ask you to come in and volunteer for one of their other youth programs for the summer. Many of the programs welcome children starting at age 5 and up. It is good to check with the centers in your area. Some churches even offer free day camps for kids during the summer.
Use some of the ideas mentioned above to make your summer staycation fun and memorable without breaking your budget.
Celeste Whitehead is an independent contractor, freelance writer and owner of the blog, Organic Mommy Today. When she’s not busy chasing after her two young children, you can find Celeste contributing to the CareOne Debt Relief Services blog, a community that provides debt consolidation and money-saving advice.