Staycation – A Good Family Vacation Travel Alternative
Presented by Charles L Harmon
Vacations, ah, who wouldn’t like to have a vacation? Most of us would love to go on a vacation but due to uncertain economic times vacations are often the first casualty. Since costs almost always rise, including family vacation travel costs, and jobs are unusually more of an uncertainly in these uncertain times – we recently had the biggest financial downturn in the financial markets since the great depression here in the United States, most of us have to watch our money carefully.
With the continual rising costs of gas, food and the expense of living in general, families are forced to cut back just to afford the necessities. One of the things being considered to scratch is the annual family vacation. But, you’ve worked hard all year and the family needs a break and time to get away and bond. Yet, it must be affordable.
A new word has been coined: Staycation. Staycation is a term whose origin is frequently attributed to a popular Canadian television series. A couple of years ago, back in 2006, a New York magazine further promoted the “staycation,” encouraging people to spend their vacation exploring what the city has to offer instead of leaving town.
Many families are making their home the base for a stay at home vacation. Do you really know what your hometown offers in the way of fun and adventure? I’ll bet some of us are so busy and have thoughts on so many other things we don’t know.
Call your local Chamber of Commerce or the Visitors and Tourists Bureau. If you belong to an auto club, that will do too. Either one should be able to offer a myriad of ideas for things to do close to home, many of which are free or very reasonable. There are special events, festivals, museums, parks and zoos, lakes and swimming pools. You save money by eating and sleeping at home.
To make this work you must treat it just like you’re on vacation in a new town. Include a couple of visits to a local fancy restaurant. Visit places you have been putting off, maybe since they are close to you that you figure you can always go there. Well now might just be the time to do just that. You could also schedule a short day trip to a nearby attraction. Mom should be on vacation too, no cooking, no cleaning up, or other household chores.
A camping trip is also a good inexpensive option and if you travel in off peak times such as October and March it’s less crowded and cheaper. Pitch a tent, cook over a campfire and hike in the woods. You’ll not only discover nature but yourselves. Some family camps can be had for a thousand dollars a week for four, including meals, lodging and activities. Another idea is a road trip to somewhere very close so the gas costs will be minimal.
If you must leave town, try to do the bookings yourself and dig deep for discount hotels. Stay in a two-star hotel instead of a four-star hotel. You may have to bring your own toiletries but the savings would be worth it. Many lower priced hotels offer a free breakfast. You can eat hearty and skip lunch.
If you are a member of an auto club they often have discounts on car rental, hotels and attractions. The same holds true for some larger companies. Don’t overlook these often forgotten opportunities to save money on your vacation.
Sometimes the price of a suite or a condo is cheaper than renting two rooms if you have a large family. Save money and enjoy the down time in a hotel pool, hot tub or health club. Relax and stay healthy. Take advantage of what’s already paid for.
An all-inclusive resort may be within your budget especially if it’s off season. It’s hard to find a venue that doesn’t cater to families and for one price everything is included from meals, drinks and lodging. Many are located on the beach with countless activities for all ages. Big travel bargains are being found south of the border in Mexico if you’re willing to do some research.
Theme parks are also a good choice for families. Once inside the park most everything (except food and drinks) is included. This means free shows, rides and picnic areas. You can usually stay several days at a theme park and never do the same thing twice. Check out their package deals and save.
Determine your dollar limits before you go. Study your destination and strive for the best value. Plan your trip or places to see if right in your own town or city, with a carefree spirit. Whether you opt for a staycation or vacation, your family will love the adventure. You will too, especially if you can get more bang for the buck and have a good time too.