Backyard Summer Staycations
Did you know that the average summer vacation costs more than $1,000 per person? Although traveling is a priceless experience, we have some even better news: you can enjoy an amazing summer getaway without ever leaving the comfort of your own backyard.
Backyard summer staycations are a fabulous and frugal opportunity to have some fun while reconnecting with the people you love most. And the rules? There aren't any. Use our tips to plan the perfect summer staycation while sticking to your budget.
Staycation 101: Plan and Prepare
You probably wouldn't set out on a one-week vacation without putting a little planning into the mix, right? It's equally important to get yourself organized for a staycation, starting with penciling in your staycation dates on the family calendar. You'll also want to decide how you're going to handle things like:
- Making meals: Going out is great once or twice, but if you plan to cook in, consider doing meal prep ahead of time to take some pressure off.
- Doing laundry: When you go away, you probably don't do much laundry. Just because you're staying put doesn't mean you have to do your regular chores. Instead, get everything caught up ahead of time if possible and tackle your staycation laundry after the week is over.
- Keeping the house tidy: One of the most wonderful parts of staying in a hotel is coming back to a perfectly tidy room every day. To maintain a clean and tidy environment without having to do much, have a quick and easy list of basic chores that you divvy out among everyone to lighten the load. Try these tips to make your home feel similar to a hotel.
- Establishing your staycation rules: There aren't any rules but the ones you make for yourselves. For example, you might decide ahead of time on how much screen time everyone can have or what you might schedule each day to maintain a little structure, such as a reading hour every afternoon after lunch.
Have a Movie Marathon or Double Feature
Don't let the rainy-day blues get you down. Pop up some popcorn, snag your favorite snacks, and snuggle up to watch all those flicks you haven't had time to see yet — or your classic favorites. Better yet, enjoy a beautiful summer night at your very own outdoor theater. All you need for a backyard cinema is a projector, white wall (or a white sheet), and some comfy seating for a perfect night watching anything from foreign films to family faves.
Go Camping Under the Stars
Immerse yourself in the beauty of your own piece of paradise when you go camping right in the backyard. You get all the benefits without having to actually pack everyone up or rough it with campground bathrooms. A few ideas for creating the ideal backyard campsite include:
- Setting up a comfy tent or two with air mattresses, sleeping bags, and pillows so everyone can enjoy sweet dreams
- Draping strands of fairy lights around the tent for a magical glow that sets the perfect scene
- Planning a camping-inspired dinner with foil-packet meals on the grill or, if you have a fire pit, roasting hot dogs and toasting marshmallows for s'mores
- Enjoying time together by going on a nighttime scavenger hunt,
telling campfire stories, and looking up at the stars together
Become the Ultimate Tourist
It's easy to forget all the gems you have right in your town or city. Pencil in some time to explore the best of where you live. Have a picnic in your local park before hiking the trails, go mini golfing, take a walking tour of downtown, and check out museums or shows to round out your staycation with a good dose of local culture. Other events to keep an eye out for include fairs, festivals, farmer's markets, and parades.
Tour the World with Your Taste Buds
You could head out for sushi or make reservations at your favorite Italian restaurant. But why not save money on going out in favor of creating a meal together that lets you sample the flavors of authentic global cuisine — without having to leave a tip? Research recipes together to find dishes everyone can enjoy. Learn about why certain ingredients are important to their respective cultures as you plan your menu. Then, head to your local Food Lion to stock up on International Specialty Foods.
Make amazing curries, sizzling stir-fries, or flavorful Hispanic dishes like sopa de fideo. When you need genuine flavor, we've got you covered with authentic ingredients.
Experience Global Culture Without Leaving Home
Keep little (and big) hands busy with crafts that immerse the whole family in the cultures of far-off lands — no passports needed. Round out your research on different cultures' foods by exploring the countries' traditional crafts, too. Need a few ideas? Consider these:
- Create boomerangs while learning a little more about Australia.
- Design colorful masks while talking about Brazil's Carnival.
- Try your hands at origami while exploring its role in Japanese culture.
Don't Forget the Games
Rainy days and hot summer nights are perfect times to break out the board games for a family tournament. Bust out the classics or try your hands at the latest and greatest video games. Just remember to tally points and maybe even have a reward for the ultimate winner. Of course, just by spending time together and having fun, you're all winners no matter what the final score!