Now that my daughter is a school-ager, our vacation days are often determined by the holiday schedules outlined by our daughter’s school district. Gone are the days of taking impromptu road trips or overseas trips. We are now confined to planning our vacations based on the following schedule: a week in February, a week in April, two and a half months in the summer, a week in the fall, and two weeks at the end of the year. Parents of school-agers, does this sound similar to your situation?
While adding up those days gives you over three months’ worth of travel days, it also happens to be pretty much the same time that almost every other family is traveling, which means that prices for most travel destinations are through the roof! We often prefer to travel during off-peak days, but now that we can’t do that we have to think of other ways to save money on travel.
To top it off, we just bought a house late last year, so our availability of travel funds for this year is a bit on the low side.
So what’s a family to do when they’re faced with a school holiday and not a lot of money to spend on travel? How about plan a staycation! Staycations are a great option for the budget-conscious, travel-loving family. And they can be a great way to get to know your city.
If you’re planning on staying put during your next school holiday, here are ten awesome ideas for a staycation with kids.
Visit the tourist spots
We’re lucky to be living in Seattle, which is already a fun tourist destination for many families. But even if you live in a small town, there are most likely one or two spots that are meant to draw out of town guests. Spend the day playing tourist and visit places you wouldn’t normally visit as a local. Here in Seattle, we like visiting the Space Needle or Pike Place Market.
Take a foodie tour
Speaking of markets and food, another great staycation idea is to take a foodie tour of your city. If your city’s listed on Yelp, you can check out the top rated restaurants in your city. Or you can build an itinerary of restaurants to visit in your city based on a theme. We love frequenting restaurants that are recommended by local magazines like Seattle magazine or Seattle Met.
Another great thing about Seattle is the abundance of museums, from art to pop culture, natural history to technology. Staycations are a great time to visit one of the museums in your city. Or if museums aren’t your thing, why not try attending a live theater show or a concert? Seattle has a great Children’s Theater that offers shows for young audiences. How about checking out your local cultural scene?
If your city is like Seattle, there are probably plenty of local parks with playgrounds for your kids to explore. Spend a day visiting public parks in your city that you haven’t been to before. We’re still just discovering the parks in our new neighborhood, and it’s been a blast exploring the local park scene.
If the weather is warm enough, why not visit a local pool? One of the things I love about Seattle is that there are several different places to go swimming. Many of our city’s community centers have swimming pools open to the public. Additionally, there are several public beaches with areas for swimming, as well as public parks with wading pools for the little ones. On those hot summer days when all you’re wanting is a place to cool down, head to a local swimming area and let your kids splash around.
Stay at a hotel
Who says that you need to stay at your home for a staycation? Why not treat it like a vacation and stay at a hotel? Check in to a hotel for the night with your family and pretend like you’re actually visiting the city. Splurge and stay at a fancy hotel. Or choose one that’s in an area that you’ve always wanted to explore.
Rent an Airbnb or vacation rental
Another option is to rent an Airbnb or vacation rental. It will give you a chance to get the feel of another neighborhood, and maybe even give you ideas for how to decorate your own home. Unique accommodations, like tiny houses or houseboats, make it fun for your kids.
Explore a new-to-you neighborhood
Staycations are a great opportunity to spend time in a neighborhood that’s new to you. If there’s a part of town that you’ve never really been to, take a day to explore it and get to know it.
Camp in your backyard
If you have a big enough backyard, why not set up a tent and have a backyard camp out? Pitch a tent, roll out the sleeping bag, and eat some s’mores under the stars. The best part is, you still have access to your house for late night bathroom breaks.
Ride the local transport
If your city has a good public transportation system, spend the day exploring new routes. We love riding the bus, and on long bus rides, it’s fun to look out the window and see the changes in scenery as you go through town.
These are just a few ideas to help you plan a staycation with your family. So the next time your kids have a school holiday, why not take some time to explore and get to know your city!
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