In writing about our personal experiences, we sometimes mention products or services that we use or recommend. This page may contain affiliate links for which we receive a commission.
It means you take a week off from work and stay home.
This is not a new phenomenon. Coming from a very meager background, I always thought a week’s vacation meant dad got the week off from work while the kids had to tip toe around and try not to make any noise. I am sure that this is not what Jean Chatzky had in mind when she wrote the article.
If you want to have a Staycation that is a lot more fun than playing “who can make the least noise,” I have some ideas that will take up a full week, save a ton of money, and make you feel like you had a real vacation.
Day 1: Visit relatives. Chances are, you have a relative who lives an hour or so away. If you always talk about visiting them but never quite make it there, today’s the day. Use this day to reconnect with family and friends who live within a 1- to 2-hour drive. Call ahead and let them know you’re coming. Then, take them out to dinner or cook for them at their home. Then spend the night.
Check out these fun ideas for kids studying their family history for the first time.
Here’s how to find cheap, local fun things to do together.
Day 2: Head home from your relative’s house, making a fun stop along the way. You don’t want to overstay your welcome, so leave after breakfast — even if they insist you stay longer. On the way home, stop at a local park or along the bank of the river for the perfect picnic. Take a long leisurely walk and let the kids play. Go to bed early in anticipation of a big day tomorrow.
Tips for a child’s first hike.
Day 3: Visit the nearest amusement park. This, of course, will be your splurge day. You don’t want to have a splurge day too early in the week, or the kids will expect more of the same every day. You also don’t want to have it too late in the week, as everyone will spend the entire week anticipating it.
Here’s a theme park locator to find amusement parks in your area.
Day 4: The amusement park will have worn you and the family out, so this is a good day for rest and relaxation. Let everyone sleep in until noon, and then go to a local restaurant for a casual brunch. When you get home, lay blankets out in the yard and read, tell stories, play backyard games, take another nap. This is the day to simply enjoy each others’ company. Have simple sandwiches for dinner.
Backyard fun for under $10.
210 fun things to do with little kids.
60 fun things to do for little or no money.
Day 5: Get up early, pack the family in the car, and head for the nearest big city. Depending on where you live, the ride can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours. See all of the sites that you promised yourself you would eventually take time to see. For example, if you live near New York City, go see the Today Show live. If you live near Chicago, visit the museums. If you live near Atlanta, go see the Martin Luther King museum and memorial, and visit Centennial Olympic Park. Have a fast food lunch — the type your city is most famous for and head home before rush hour starts.
Find National Historic Landmarks in your area.
How to be a tourist in your own hometown.
Here’s how to make a museum visit fun for toddlers, teens, and in-betweens!
Day 6: This time, get up early and go see the closest nature landmark or walking trails. Bring your bug repellent and sunscreen, and possibly even your bikes (if it’s appropriate). Be a tourist in your own town!
Check out this list of walking trails by city.
Find national parks in your area.
Day 7: On your final Staycation day, you will probably want to rest up for your return to work, while still having some fun. So take the time to go to your local swimming pool, lake, beach, or park. Then enjoy one last restaurant meal where you can spend time together, as a family, reminiscing about all the fun you had this week and the interesting things you each learned.
Check out these tips to bounce back fast after vacation.
I have been a certified tightwad since I became pregnant with my first child and decided to find a way to stay home with him. I enjoy sharing my experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future — which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.