The Staycation: A Stress-Free, Green Family Vacation at Home

The Staycation: A Stress-Free, Green Family Vacation at Home

The staycation – or stay-at-home vacation – is a greener, stress-free, inexpensive alternative to a more traditional holiday that involves travel further afield. Here are some guidelines and ideas.

Travel experts say that sustainable tourism is an increasingly popular trend, with travelers making a conscious effort to reduce their carbon footprint and respecting local culture.

Another trend, which I think dovetails with sustainable tourism, is the stay-at-home-vacation. That’s where a family stays home and participates in day trips to local attractions, or just takes it easy at home, sleeping in their own beds at night.

A “staycation” is more sustainable than a trip that involves air travel, which has a huge impact on climate change. In fact, airplanes account for up to nine percent of the total climate change impact of human activity. Compared to other modes of transport, such as driving or taking the train, traveling by air has a greater climate impact per passenger kilometer, even over longer distances.

Vacationing at home is also a great way to save money. The American Automobile Association says that “the average North American vacation will cost $244 per day for two people for lodging and meals. Add some kids and airfare, and a 10-day vacation could top $10,000.”

There are other staycation perks too. When you vacation at home, you get to use your whole vacation, rather than spending time at the beginning and end traveling to your destination. And you won’t find yourself exhaustedly wanting another vacation to recover from your vacation! Vacationing at home will also minimize stress (including that which increasingly happens at airports), and allow you and your family to discover the attractions of your own region. Long-distance travel can be hard on children, so a staycation will minimize the stress for them (and for you while dealing with their impatience).

Here are some ideas for your staycation:

  • Visit local museums. Most larger cities will have an art gallery, a natural, history or sports museum, an arboretum or botanical gardens, and maybe a zoo or aquarium.
  • Go to the beach or neighborhood pool (or, if you’re lucky enough to own one, lounge beside your backyard pool).
  • Get some exercise – take a class, work on your tennis or golf game, or go cycling.
  • Enjoy some Nature by hiking on a trail or even picnicking in the park.
  • Spend time with your kids. Play a board game or cards, or just enjoy some fun conversation.
  • Cook up a great meal – one that you wouldn’t normally spend the time preparing or money on buying ingredients for.
  • Get some neighbors and friends together for a potluck backyard barbecue.
  • See a movie, play, opera, or dance performance.
  • Visit a local festival.
  • Take in a baseball game – big league or minor…and don’t forget the hotdog.
  • Pitch a tent in your backyard for the kids to experience a stay-at-home camping experience (with access to the bathroom!).
  • Catch up on some sleep in your backyard hammock.
  • Take a bus tour around your city (or one that’s nearby) or boat tour on a local lake.
  • Read a book or two. Your couch, the backyard with a cold drink, or your favorite café with a cappuccino are all great places to spend a few hours lost in a book.

Do not use your staycation time to catch up on chores, do the laundry, participate in obligatory (but not necessarily enjoyable) extended family activities, or clean the garage. You’re on vacation, remember?

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