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INSIDE: Looking for some fun staycation ideas for families? Even if you can’t travel, there are plenty of things you can do at home. Try these ideas!

COVID-19 has affected so many people in so many different ways, but one big way that it’s impacted our family has been cutting down (OK, all but eliminating) travel. Going on a family vacation was something that was a huge part of our lives for so many years, but in 2020 it was all but gone

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We have been fortunate that COVID has not affected us more seriously, but if you’re like our family, you may be thinking about a staycation or how to still get out of the house in a safe manner without going too far. So in this article, we’ll take a look at a few fun staycation ideas for families on a budget and how to plan your family’s staycation.

Low budget staycation ideas

You might be considering a family vacation / staycation for this winter or spring break, or maybe you’re even looking ahead to a summer vacation. With so much still up in the air about what travel will look like in the summer, you might be holding off on booking much travel, like our family. We did a traditional family staycation with our whole family during spring break a few years ago, where we stayed in the Cincinnati / Dayton area and visited things like Carew Tower, the National Air Force Museum, and Kings Island.

We’ve also done some of the scavenger hunt sites. If you’re not familiar with these scavenger hunt sites, they are available in a variety of different cities and have guided tours with questions and things to find while you’re gone. We did the Urban Adventure quest in Sacramento a few years ago, which at the time had a list price of $49 and took about 2-3 hours. We’ve also done similar hunts in Cincinnati and Cleveland, and they were a fun way to get out of the house and do something fun nearby with the whole family.

Sometimes just going somewhere fun with the whole family and getting some ice cream or another type of treat can provide a bit of novelty to an otherwise dreary day. If a traditional vacation is not in the cards for your family right now, try and brainstorm an idea for what might be fun for a kid or parent or the whole family.

Indoor staycation ideas during bad weather

If you live in an area with cold winter weather, you might also be thinking about what you could do for an indoor staycation during bad weather. Planning your summer family staycation is all nice and good, but what can I do right now?! One good staycation idea is to check out your local children’s museum. Remember that Bank of America debit and credit cardholders get free admission to hundreds of museums on the first weekend of each month.

Another idea that might be a fun activity if you have a younger kid who likes to travel would be to turn your house into a hotel. With a few simple props, you can turn your living room into the reception area, give them a “key” for the bedrooms and then have “breakfast included” in the morning. Sometimes it’s the little things that kiddos will look back on with fond memories later on. 

I’ve compared hotels vs. Airbnbs before but if you’re not ready for either of those, you might consider going on a spring break day trip for your family staycation. A zen garden, bowling alley or an amusement park may be options that have enough room for you to social distance away from other participants. And always remember — stop for ice cream or another treat when you’re done!

Staycation ideas for the backyard

With a little effort and imagination, sometimes your own backyard can be a great idea for a family vacation. While camping in your own backyard may not be something you want to tackle in the winter, you can put it on the idea list for spring break or a summer staycation. We talked earlier about organized (paid) scavenger hunts earlier, but another idea could be a scavenger hunt that you do around your yard or community.

Another fun idea can be a regular family night. We’ve instituted Monday nights as family board game night. Each week, we try out a different game with all the kiddos. If you have a little one, this may not work, but it’s been great for our family. It’s been one of the fun things that we’ve tried while this current pandemic has kept us mostly cooped up at home.

How to plan your family’s staycation

A family staycation takes some planning, but generally not as much as a vacation where you’re going to a new location. Since you don’t have to plan (or pay for!) airfare or lodging, a vacation where you stay close to your own backyard is something that takes less planning. 

I think that it’s a great idea to get your kids involved. Depending on whether your kids are bigger or more little, you can tailor the planning to their ages and interests. Older kiddos might be able to do their own research about what cities, areas or activities interest them. Little kids might be better suited to having more narrow choices about what interests them. One thing that we have enjoyed doing for vacations is making a vacation schedule. That way everyone knows what to expect and can have a hand in what types of activities are done.

No matter how you plan it, try and relax, go with the flow and you’ll be having fun on your next staycation!

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