First Person: Planning a Family Staycation

Yahoo Contributor Network

This year we're going through a familiar battle, trying to decide whether to go somewhere on vacation or make the best of things at home through a summer staycation. We've gone both routes before, and it seems that lately, as our family grows and our income dwindles, we've been more inclined to take the staycation route.

There really isn't anything wrong with doing the whole staycation thing, and in fact, it can actually be quite fun -- and economical -- if done in the right way.

Determining the budget

Determining the budget for a summer staycation can be just as important as a regular vacation. What we tend to do is formulate our staycation budget based upon several factors. First off, we consider what we'd spend on a regular vacation outside the home and then break out what we'd spend on travel and accommodations. This leaves us with the costs that we'd put toward things like food, entertainment, and other sundries. For example, if our vacation budget was $1,500, but we'd spend $1,000 of that on travel and hotel costs, then that would leave us $500 for the rest of our budget. But since we're being good and saving money on our staycation, we might add an additional $100 or $200 back into our staycation budget since we still want to have fun and make this a good time for everyone.

Building the "to-do" list

The next step in planning our family staycation is creating our "to-do" list. Just as with most vacations, there are particular things we want to do while on our staycation. These items might involve things like going go-karting, taking a trip downtown on the train, heading to the zoo, exploring a new eatery or eating at a few favorite family restaurants, going camping one night, going to the lake or park for a picnic, hitting the indoor playland or pool for the kids, and similar activities.

Getting a list of events together that we want to do and that everyone enjoys can help us better schedule our events, budget for such items, and avoid downtimes.

Breaking up the fun

With our staycation to-do list in hand, we can better determine how to break up our entertainment events. We don't like to pack a bunch of stuff all into a few days and then be left with nothing to do or spending extra money to do more. Therefore, we try to select one or two events for each day of our staycation, allowing us to look forward to and enjoy those events more. This allows us to spread out our staycation over a period of a week or two just as we might while on vacation.

Doing everything at once could leave us bored, out of money, and sitting at home rather than filling two weeks of fun with a variety of events at various locations, but at a cost that's only half the price or less of a vacation away from home.

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The author is not a licensed financial or travel professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.


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