I am wrapping up two weeks of summer vacation – the first spent away with friends (and without children), the second at home taking a “staycation.”
If a vacation is, to quote my friend Erin, “just moving the chaos and madness to another location,” then a staycation is just keeping the chaos and madness at home, but removing the ability to escape to my office.
I have a love/hate relationship with staycations. I love saving money (no hotels, limited travel expenses and relatively few tourist traps near my house) and I love being able to kick around the house, a place I so often am running through and around but rarely relaxing in.
I hate that it’s too easy to do nothing and let the days and week slip by in a haze of to-do lists, household chores and video games.
To prevent the “nothing” from overwhelming us, I do have a few staycation rules:
Stay up late and sleep in – We let any pretense of a schedule slip, staying up late (10 or 11 pm? Why not?) and sleeping in. The goal during staycation is to catch up on sleep, whenever it suits you.
Plan “something” each day – My ideal staycation involves doing something special everyday. Doesn’t have to be anything big – for example, yesterday we had breakfast at a local diner before going back-to-school shopping, and today we picked blueberries at a local farm.
Plan one big trip – Could be a day trip, or it could require we stay overnight, but my goal is to do one “big” thing during the week. This week we took the kids and the bikes on a ferry for a day trip to Block Island. We rode bikes around the island. Swam in the ocean. Played in the sand. Had dinner. Ate ice cream. And were back home by 11 pm
Don’t cook – For me, vacation means not having to worry about meal planning or cooking. Meals out don’t have to be fancy, and take out at home counts. I should also say, the no-cooking rule does not apply to baking chocolate chip cookies or key lime pie.
Avoid the TV – We’ve kept the boob tube turned off, which allows us to pretend to live in a little bubble and escaping from reality. The exception to the rule is movie rentals – staycation is a great time to catch up on movies we’ve missed, like We Bought a Zoo on Vudu.
Read a good book - With the television turned off, we all have time to read a book. Sophie discovered Where the Sidewalk Ends and I’ve been making my way through A Storm of Swords, book 3 in the Games of Thrones series.
Looking back on this week, we did a pretty good job of sticking to the rules. We didn’t have a plan every day, which worked out since the children were exhausted from their recent overnight camp adventures. And after two weeks away, I’m actually looking forward to returning to the office on Monday.
What are your staycation rules?