How To Truly Enjoy a Stay-cation

With summer break approaching I thought I’d share my 5 tips for both planning and enjoying a stay-cation. Everyone would love to go on a trip to exotic places (or even just Myrtle Beach) however that is not always possible. Whether it is scheduling conflicts or financial limitations sometimes a stay-cation is the only option. These tips come from my own experiences but I’d love to hear what you all have found to make your own stay-cation’s a great experience!


Every time we are going on a trip, I make sure the house work is all done before we leave.  Bathrooms scrubbed, floors swept and mopped, all the laundry, ect.  This ensures that when we arrive home tired from traveling, I’m not greeted with a bunch of chores to be done.  I only need to unpack and take care of the travel laundry. During our stay-cation I told myself to think of our house like a rental at the beach.  In a vacation rental you clean up after yourself but only in the most basic way.  So, for our stay-cation I followed the same plan.  The house work was all done before hand so during our stay-cation I only had to handle the basics.  The down side is that when the stay-cation is over you don’t get to return to your own clean house.  If you can, maybe splurge on a cleaning service to come in for a one-time visit.  This will help you relax and enjoy the family time.  If not, just resign yourself to handling it later. 


When you are on trip, even if you’ve rented a condo or house you don’t want to spend all your time cooking and then cleaning up after meals.  Take advantage of the money you are saving by staying home and eat out!  Explore restaurants you have never been to before.  I plan one easy meal a day at the most.    I also stocked up on snacks, quick breakfast food and sandwich makings because no one wants to exit “vacation mode” for the reality of making a trip to the store.


Do at least one fun activity out of the house each day.  “Stay-cation” does not mean you are stuck inside your house.  Whether the activity is inside or outside explore what is available in your general area.  I’m sure there are some great options within a 2 hour radius of your home.  Remember, you are saving money by not traveling and paying money for hotels or houses.  So don’t hesitate to pay for an adventure tour or theme park.  Not every outing needs to be expensive.  Balance it out with some free activities.  A quick google search like “free things to do in ___(enter your town or a nearby town)” will give several options.  We enjoy hiking so an option for us would be going for a hike to a waterfall and taking a swim.  There are also a lot of free concerts in our area.  I pack a basket full of yummy treats, grab a blanket and some chairs and we are set. 


Plan your food and activities ahead of time.  Have a meal plan for each day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).  It doesn’t have to be for elaborate gourmet meals and remember you will be eating out most of the time.  Just think realistically about everything you will need to keep the family happy and fed.  No one wants to stop the fun to do a grocery run.  Also, do your research. When you are doing those google searches pay attention to event dates and opening/closing times. Nothing will put everyone in a bad mood more quickly than being excited for an adventure only to show up and find out the location is closed (I know this from experience).  Don’t forget the weather.  I have had to adjust my plans for unexpected weather before and no doubt will have to again (you’ll soon see a post about a beach trip gone awry due to mother nature so keep checking in).  It is a good idea to have several options in your activity cache so that there is always a Plan B available.


It is very hard to not see everything that you need to get done when you are in your own home.  I struggle with it when I’m writing and editing photos.  That is one reason why you don’t see as many posts as I’d like to publish.  I get it.  However, to really enjoy a stay-cation you must commit to not doing unnecessary chores and to spending a little bit of money.   Hopefully having the house cleaned up beforehand will help.  Setting a budget will help as well.  If you plan ahead you’ll know where the expenses will fall and then you can enjoy the family fun without stress.  Have a cache of games and things to do when you are not out exploring as well. The important part of all this is to have a great time with family and friends even if you are still at home.

Please let me know if any of these tips helped you plan and enjoy a stay-cation of your own.  Include your own tips as well!  Below you can see some photos of our stay-cation last year. We used Memorial Day Weekend for our “Stay At Home Vacation”. During the four days here are the outings we chose.

  • Zip Line Tour with Screaming Eagle Aerial Adventure (1hr 12 min from our house)
  • Kayaking in Lake Guntersville (1hr 12min from our house): This was originally going to be a kayaking tour but it fell through at the last minute. So we just went kayaking on our own. Just another lesson in adjusting on the fly. You can read the full story in a later post where I’ll discuss in detail our own stay-cation adventures!
  • Hot Air Balloon Festival in Decatur, AL ( 25 min from our house)

Check back often so you can hear all about our own family stay-cation and travel experiences such as our trip-gone-wrong to Fernandina Beach, FL.

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