Can’t go anywhere this holiday? Here are some tips on how to staycation and feel like you’ve had a holiday.
You’re feeling frazzled.
You need a holiday.
But getting away just isn’t in the budget.
That’s where the infamous staycation comes in.
Staycationing means spending your holidays at home, which is straightforward enough. The trick is to have a heap of fun, relax and finish your home holiday feeling refreshed and re-energised, just as you would on a vacation while not going anywhere.
We’re slowly saving for a real holiday away, but in the meantime, we’re becoming experts in the staycation and the obligation (the holiday you take to your in-laws or other obligatory getaways).
To have a successful staycation, you need to look at it as if it were a holiday away. Plan your staycation, set a budget and throw your regular routine to the wind.
Tips on how to Staycation like a pro
1. Plan your staycation
A successful staycation needs to be planned just like you would if you were going away on a vacation.
First, set a budget. How much can you spend on your home holiday? The whole point of a staycation is to save money, but that doesn’t mean you can’t splurge a little.
Next, set a date for your staycation. When does it start and end. Mums need a holiday just like everyone else. Setting a date gives you the latitude to say ‘no housework on these dates!’. You want to avoid the everyday routine on your staycation.
Finally, do a little research of your home town. Use local resources like tourist information and local “What’s On” websites to plan your holiday at home.
What would a tourist do if they were visiting your town? Make like a tourist and tour your home town.
2. Get out of the House
My house is full of ‘shoulds’. I should wash the dishes. I should vacuum the floor. I should sort the third drawer down in the kitchen.
The beauty of a vacation is you get away from all those shoulds. You can leave them all behind with the wind of freedom blowing in your hair.
Ok, not quite. The kids still need to be fed, but there’s less to do on holiday.
If it’s in the budget, get away from the house for a night or two and stay in a local hotel, cabin or campground. You get a few days escape from the ‘shoulds’ and the kids can swim in the hotel/campground pool while you read a book and relax. Save on accommodation by using an accommodation comparison site*.
If accommodation is out of the budget, you might still be able to escape by house sitting. Do you have friends going away for the school holidays? You could offer to house sit and look after their pets while they are away. My friend is housesitting her friend’s house in a beautiful bushland setting. There is no TV. It’s a semi getaway 15 minutes down the road but it feels like a real holiday.
If you can’t get away overnight, plan to be out of the house as much as possible with all those touristy activities you’ve planned. And if you can take turns with the kids while the other partner relaxes, you’ll feel all the more refreshed for it.
3. Cook less
A meal out is almost as good as a holiday when you’re used to serving up 3 meals a day to a demanding family.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on eating out. Look around for shop-a-dockets and specials to enjoy some special meals out (I love the Kids Eat Free night at our local RSL). Even just fish and chips on the beach or a BBQ Chook and some bread rolls and salad at the park creates a holiday vibe and gives you a break from cooking.
You can also get the most out of your staycation by planning your meals ahead of time. Fill your freezer with homemade meals ready to go and the pantry with easy breakfast and lunch ideas that you might not normally allow.
4. Break Routine
Staying up and sleeping in late, watching more telly than normal, eating breakfast in bed…they say a change is as good as a holiday and breaking routine – just like you would if you were away – can make a nice change.
Make your staycation a real holiday by avoiding work, tuning out emails, forgetting about the cleaning and breaking the regular routines.
14 IDEAS FOR BEING A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN TOWN
1. Explore your natural attractions
Pack a picnic and a rug and escape the concrete jungle. Hike through your local national park, swim at the beach, explore your botanical garden, walk along the foreshore, wade through the river, climb the surrounding hills. Every town has it’s natural attractions and they are usually free to enjoy.
2. Visit your tourist precinct
Does your local area have a tourist spot? When was the last time you visited? Make like a tourist and spend time exploring the local hot spots.
3. Get cultural
Most major galleries and museums have free entry to the everyday exhibits, but don’t forget the small backstreet galleries and museums. Get a taste of culture and visit a gallery opening or a more alternate exhibition. TAFE, Uni and schools also have exhibitions of student’s work that is of a standard that may surprise you.
Many museums that charge an entry fee also have free days once a month. And if it’s school holidays, your local gallery and museum may have children’s activities.
4. Visit historical buildings
Historical buildings and churches can be great to explore especially if you’ve read up on the architectural style and history before hand.
5. Free events
What free events are on during your planned staycation. A concert? Night Markets? Festival? Fashion Parade?
6. Book Browse
My favourite thing to do is browse for books in the bookstores and libraries. Luckily my husband and kids also enjoy this pastime too.
Borrow a magazine from your local library and read it in the coffee shop or park – it’s a cheap way to relax and catch up with your favourite reading material.
Make the most of the free and cheap events and activities that your local library offers.
7. Ride public transport
Leave the car at home and avoid the rat race and use public transport. If you don’t normally commute on public transport, this can be an enjoyable novelty.
If your local area offers free public transport, make the most of this service and relax while enjoying a free ride.
8. Local’s discounts on tourist attractions
Sign up to newsletters at your local tourist attractions to find out about discounts for local residents in the off season. Some of our local attractions offer cheap yearly passes for locals. If you go often, then the price per visit can be quite small.
While we’re on the subject of discounts, keep an eye out for shop-a-docket discounts, newspaper adverts and online deals for cheap entertainment.
9. Explore a new suburb
Explore a suburb that you haven’t visited before. Do a little research first and plan your route and walk around. It will be more fun if you’ve read up on the history of the area at the library.
10. Support a local sports team
While big sporting events may set you back a few dollars, you can usually watch your local team play for free. Even better, join their club because clubs often have cheaper food, drinks and entertainment than regular nightspots.
11. Visit the markets
Bag a bargain or view the talent of local artists at your home town’s markets.
12. Café entertainment
Cafes and pubs offer free entertainment for patrons – it’s a cheap way to enjoy live music. All the better if you can while the way the afternoon with friends somewhere where there’s a playground for the kids and happy hour.
13. Look for small scale productions
Small scale local plays or plays at the smaller playhouses offer value for money over the big productions. Again, schools, unis and TAFE also offer quality productions for less.
14. People watch
Another favourite of mine. Sit and relax and watch the world pass by.
A getaway might not be in the budget right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your holiday. With a little bit of planning you can make the most of your staycation and enjoy lasting holiday memories.
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.