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Get organized for your staycation

Let’s face it…as mothers, family vacations are rarely restful. Fun, full of memories and worth the hard work,  yes. Restful, not so much.

Many families are taking back their yearly vacations with the advent of “staycations,” but a staycation has the potential to be just as stressfulif not more so — than a vacation.

Whether you’re considering a staycation for financial reasons, to take advantage of the many opportunities right in your local area, or because you want to minimize your impact on the  environment, take some time to plan for it so that you’re not wasting precious moments on chores and to-do lists from your everyday life.

1. Think About Your Schedule

No one wants to follow a rigid schedule on vacation, starting with the alarm blaring at precisely 5 a.m. every morning and the whistle blowing to load up the car at 6 a.m.

However, we learned an important lesson on our vacation last year, which I think applies to vacations and staycations: when you have a flexible plan for activities and events, you’re able to do more without feeling rushed or stressed, which helps you find a balance between rest and relaxation and making memories.

Consider these questions as you plan your staycation schedule:

  • What activities are on your must-do list?
  • Which would be nice if you can fit them in?
  • How much time do you need to set aside for each outing?
  • Which activities can be grouped on the same day?
  • How will early mornings or late nights affect your kids the next day?
  • Can you build in naps and rest times each day?
  • What low-key activities can you prepare at home for down times?

Family Bike Ride
Photo by woodleywonderworks

2. Do Your Chores Ahead of Time

Spending your staycation cleaning, doing laundry and decluttering is a sure way to make it feel like part of your everyday life rather than like an actual break.

Instead, plan on catching up on laundry the week before, and clean the house then as well. Sure, you might end up popping in a load of laundry one day during your staycation, and you’ll probably still have to wipe the kitchen counter (several times…), but at least you can keep those chores to a minimum rather than letting them take over your time off.

Think through all of your daily chores:

  • What can you get done ahead of time to make your life simpler?
  • What things do you just need to let go of during your vacation?
  • What chores will you do each day?
  • Which will you leave for after the staycation?
  • How can your husband and children help?

Photo by Dhammika Heenpella

3. Make a Meal Plan

Plan your meals ahead of time to save money and minimize stress during your staycation. This might mean freezing a few meals that you can just pop in the oven after a busy day on the go. It might even mean planning a couple of times to eat out as a family.

Personally, we love to eat out as a family because it means my husband and I can just sit and enjoy dinner with our kids without worrying about clean up or having to get up a dozen times during dinner because someone needs a condiment, drink refill or an extra utensil.

However, we try not to go out just because we don’t have anything else in mind for dinner, because that just leaves us stressed and anxious about the impact on our budget.

Don’t just think about dinner, though. Think through all of the meals and snacks during your staycation, keeping your schedule in mind:

  • Which meals and snacks will you need to eat on the road?
  • When do you plan to eat out?
  • What can you prepare ahead of time to save time and effort?
  • What are your family’s favorite meals that you don’t normally have?
  • Which meals are easiest for you to prepare?

With a little bit of planning and forethought, a staycation can be a great way to relax and enjoy your time together as a family, without the expense or travel associated with a traditional vacation.

Are you planning a staycation this year? How are you preparing ahead of time to make the most of your time “off”?

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  1. Jennifer Tankersley

    When you live in Maine, you’re crazy if you don’t take a staycation in the summertime (it is “Vacationland” afterall). If we travel in a year, it is during the winter months. This summer, we will be visiting Maine’s many beaches, hiking/letterboxing, visiting the multitude of festivals throughout the summer, and eating ice cream as often as possible.
    .-= Jennifer Tankersley´s last blog ..list of ways smead is a perfect complement to a busy home/office =-.

  2. nopinkhere

    I love how you describe eating out! We have certain meals that we always eat out–Saturday lunch as a family, my son’s Wednesday lunch with his father–but otherwise I try very hard to plan so that I do not to get to 5:30 and think “gosh, I have no desire to figure out dinner.” I think that’s probably even more important for a staycation because some days it will be inconvenient to come home and others it will be nice to come home and crash with dinner already almost ready.

  3. hairstyles for girls

    We’ve actually started a tradition of camping in our backyard every year. So much easier than packing everything up in my opinion! Plus we use our indoor plumbing. 🙂 I love the idea of a staycation.

    • Mandi

      Oh, man, we just went camping for the first time, and you’re not kidding about the amount of stuff we had to pack to get there and again to come home. I love the idea of camping in the backyard too!

    • Alison @ Femita

      Backyard camping is great for kids. Mine are old enough now to really enjoy the extra responsibilities that come with it. They look after their tent as if it was their own little home. So cute !

  4. jenna

    We live in New York City, and embarrassingly enough… I have never been to the top of the Empire State Building, taken the ferry to Ellis Island, nor have I seen the ferris wheel in the Toys-R-Us Time Square Flagship store. Sooooo… THIS summer, I am planning fun NYC activities for my family and am super excited!! I am very lucky to live here, we have SO MUCH to do in the 5 boroughs, and a lot of it is free or inexpensive, which makes it even BETTER!!!

  5. Michele Connolly

    Great tips, Mandi, especially ‘do your chores ahead of time’.

    It’s hard to feel like you’re on holiday if you’re doing all the same household stuff each day.

    Planning ahead so you take a chore holiday on your staycation is a great idea!
    .-= Michele Connolly´s last blog ..Get Organized Mission #49: How To Find Your Passion =-.

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