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What I Did on My Summer Staycation

Categories: Making Time, The Juggle, Working? Living?


If vacationing close to home — or “staycationing” — is the newest travel trend, I’m waaaaaay ahead of the curve.

We almost always stay home for the summer. I say “almost” because there have been two exceptions: In 2003 we drove to Niagara Falls because the kids were complaining that they’d never been to another country (hello, Canada!), and last week I had to research a couple of family travel stories and so we went to an old-fashioned amusement park and careened down a snow-less ski slope on a bobsled and spent a night in a tree house. It was way cool. The kids loved it. My husband and I did, too, but I think that, while the kids came home re-energized after our little adventure, us parents were more exhausted after our “vacation” than we had been when we left.

With gas prices skyrocketing and airlines imposing new and bigger fees for everything from checked baggage to warm soda, “home” is becoming a hot travel destination. Hotels are marketing “getaway” packages to their local clientele. AAA offers “Drive Vacations” to make road tripping trendier (even with gas costing more than $4 a gallon, it’s still cheaper to drive than fly if you’re taking kids along). Camping and hiking have become popular again.

But for some of us, staycationing has always been the norm. Yes, gas prices are high, but stress levels are even higher when you cram five kids into a car and hit the road for hours at a time. Add in a handful of food allergies, which makes it impossible to indulge in fast food during the trip, and stress levels can reach a whole new high. And if any of your kids are still in diapers, it’s worth noting that hell hath no fury like that of a preteen stuck next to a toddler with a blow-out.

(That didn’t happen this trip, thank goodness.)

The biggest upside to staycationing, for this working mother, at any rate, is that I know the territory. There was a point in my life where exploring a new city would have made my heart go pitter-pat; lately, though, just the chance to avoid the daily commute makes me giddy. I live near a big city — there are plenty of museums to visit and cultural events to attend; they’re close enough to do easily if I have a few days off, and far enough away to be impossible with my regular work schedule. Staycationing gives me a chance to take advantage of the things right in my own backyard… why deal with packing and plane fare, especially during one of the most crowded travel times of the year?

Do you have summer vacation plans? Or will you be staycationing this summer?

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11 comments so far...

  • I spent my summer thinking, deciding to quit (this was for my old job) lol. And then at the last few weeks of May, I stayed at home for a while and landed a new job. :D My son’s still little so what we mostly do is walk with him in the mornings and afternoon. :)

    So yeah, I call it staycation of some sort. LOL.

    Yvie  |  June 26th, 2008 at 1:04 am

  • Dude, when we bought the house with the pool it was so we would never have to leave. ;) (Needless to say, I’m with you!)

    Mir  |  June 26th, 2008 at 6:27 am

  • After living in NYC for 10 years moving the Boston suburbs makes me feel like we’re on vacation all summer long:)

    Nataly  |  June 26th, 2008 at 6:59 am

  • Well, I am starting a new job so no summer vacation for me and my little man. I will just have to save for next year.

    Kim  |  June 26th, 2008 at 9:08 am

  • Gas prices are too high to drive very far, but I’ve promised my children our annual trip to the beach. So…. we’ll be stuck in a car together for 3 hours. I anxiously await the “he’s touching me”, “stay on your side”, “I have to go to the bathroom”, etc., etc., etc. Staycation is just fine with me! :-)

    blapherMJ  |  June 26th, 2008 at 9:27 am

  • We’re staycationing this year. We just don’t have the money to travel very far. Although I am looking at staying at one of those waterpark hotels (either Great Wolf Lodge or CocoKey Resort). Both are within 45 minutes of our house.

    Next summer my sister-in-law graduates from college so we’re supposed to go on a big family vacation - possibly Hawaii. Which to me is all the more reason to stay home this summer and save up money for next summer’s big vacation.

    Jenni  |  June 26th, 2008 at 12:45 pm

  • “hell hath no fury like that of a preteen stuck next to a toddler with a blow-out.”
    Hahaha - hoo, hoo, aahh, man. That made my day. Oh, so true.

    Andrea  |  June 27th, 2008 at 7:27 am

  • Oh I’m so with you on this. I love the idea of traveling, but the cost in terms of time, stress and money is just too much to contemplate at this time!

    Diane  |  June 27th, 2008 at 7:22 pm

  • I couldn’t agree more. The few times when our family manages a weekend away (major undertaking), I feel like I need a vacation when I get home. A major hurdle for us is coordinating what we do with our pets.

    This summer our vacation is going to be a backyard campout (and we’ll see if we make it through the night outside - doubtful).

    JC  |  June 29th, 2008 at 1:13 am

  • I LOVE staycations. They have been the norm for our family for a long time now. We live in a beautiful state, near all the cultural amenities one could hope to have, and we see no reason to venture too far away from home base when there is so much to do here.

    Visit my blog to read about our latest Backyard Vacation.

    lawschoolmom  |  July 9th, 2008 at 7:01 am

  • If you are going to “staycation” this summer - host a Destination Party and bring the vacation to your home. has online electronic party plans that you download to your computer. Each “Eparty Plan” is a comprehensive guide with step by step instructions and click and buy links to order many of the party essentials.

    Destination Parties include “The Keys To Paradise” Cocktail BBQ ( Key West, FLA), A Night in Venice Cocktail Party, “A Wine Country Crush” wine tasting and dinner party (Napa and Sonoma) and a Beijing BBQ just in time for the Summer Olympics! These parties feature, food, decor and music from the various cities.

    Host a Destination Party this summer and go on vacation right in your own home!

    Dawn  |  July 19th, 2008 at 6:18 am