10 Ways to Maximize Your Staycation
With the gas prices so high, are you changing your travel plans? Maybe staying home for your vacation this year? That's called a 'staycation,' and thousands of people are having one this summer. Think you'll be bored, or overworked, staying at home? Feeling like you need to mow the lawn, clean out the gutters, tackle that enormous home project that never gets done? NO!! Don't do it! Make your vacation a REAL vacation, even if you're not leaving home.
Here are ten ways to make your staycation a true vacation...
1. Load up on vacation food at the grocery store
My mom used to get us those little cereal boxes when we went camping. We LOVED them. Buy them now, and the kids will feel special. Likewise, get your favorite beverages, lots of yummy summer foods, fresh fruit, and make every meal an outdoor party. Visit ethnic groceries and stock up on new and different food items. Make mango lassi and freeze them into ice pops. Visit local farm markets and buy organic strawberries and eat them over slightly melted double vanilla ice cream. Yum....
2. Visit that attraction two towns over
Whether it is a winery, a museum, or an antique store that you never seem to have time for, make the time now. A day trip to something just 20 or 30 minutes away can be a pleasant surprise, and you may learn more about your own community!
It seems that every town has some sort of festival in the summer. Do a quick bit of research on the computer, or ask your neighbors. At the Danish Festival in the next town over from us, there are kids activities, free concerts every day and night, and a street filled with artisans selling their wares. How much fun is it, to actually participate in these festivals, rather than driving around them to get to the library and grocery store while running your errands?
If you don't live on a lake, maybe you live near one. Or, take a day trip to the nearest large body of water. Try to spend one day at the beach, if you can. It just isn't summer until you've slathered on sunscreen and gotten sand in between your toes.
5. Kid Camp
If you have kids, ask them to design a WHOLE DAY of multi-generational camp activities! Not only will this take several days of creativity, but they can invite their friends down, and maybe their friends' parents and the elderly neighbors. If you'd like, ask them to theme the activities, i.e., Highland Games, or a Gastronomic Tour of Asia. Fun activities that make everyone laugh will be a highlight of the summer that no one will forget.
6. Try that restaurant...
Not the one that might be your go-to place when you're tired after a long day, but that special restaurant that you never seem to have time for, or it is just a bit too far away for a work day. Recently my husband and I dined at this fantastic organic restaurant, with the yummiest artisanal foods around. Not an every day occurrence, but definitely a foodie highlight of the summer!
7. Throw an international party
Where is your favorite place to travel? Maybe you can't afford to go to India this year, but you can host an Indian party relatively inexpensively. Hang beautiful lights in the trees, swag some gorgeous fabric around. Prepare yummy Indian food, grill the rest. Invite friends, neighbors, your kids' friends - everyone is welcome! As they lounge around on silk cushions, nibbling on their tandoori chicken, everyone will agree that you've hosted a great international bash. If you can't decide on a geographic theme, throw a bring-your-own cuisine buffet! You can decorate with flags from around the world, and prepare beverages from different cultures. See what your friends bring, and be prepared to eat both globally and well!
8. Try something new
Always wanted to skydive, or go up in a hot air balloon? Both are pretty inexpensive, and may be a once-in-a-lifetime event for you. Have you always had a goal of learning to play the bagpipes? Find a teacher, and start taking lessons! Is the local dance studio offering Irish Dance or Tango lessons? Sign up! Want to learn to make a new summer skirt? Find some great fabric, and spend the day increasing your wardrobe. Learn to count to ten in a new language.
9. Travel vicariously
Spend part of your staycation learning about a new place you've always wanted to visit. Find a penpal there. Learn more about their culture, traditions, customs. Make food from that country, learn a few words in their language, and resolve to learn more so that when you visit, you'll feel a bit more familiar with a new place.
Many times we return from a vacation exhausted, and have to plunge back into the real world quickly. Sleep late. Do what you want. Listen to music, dance, sing. Spend time with people that you usually don't get to spend much time with. Make an effort not to do more chores, finish a huge project, or buckle down and put your nose to the grindstone. Have fun, read, take a mid-afternoon nap (or two). Have ice cream for dinner. Make fairy houses with found items from nature walks. Paint ein plein air. Sit and count clouds. Feel the tickle of grass as you lie under the big oak tree, watching the patterns of the sun filter through the leaves...Soar.
And when your staycation is over, maybe you'll find ways to put a little vacation into your daily life...