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Great Staycation Ideas

August 17th, 2011 - 3:34 PM

Right before the summer of 2008, when gas prices started to get out of control, people began throwing around the word "staycation".  Instead of going on big, expensive vacations, families stayed at home to relax and take in day trips to area attractions.  What a great idea!  Basically, a vacation without traveling expenses.

For folks in the middle of a long-distance move, I imagine the idea of a staycation is very appealing.  What better way to get to know your new city— not to mention save money after the expense of a move.  And since U-Pack Moving does the driving, you're free to drive your own vehicle and have a little fun (and hopefully relaxation) along the way.  Here are some great ideas of things you can do to relax and have fun without spending a ton of money.

Visit a lake, river or beach.  Is there a lake, river or beach on the way to your new home, or once you get there?  If so, what an opportunity!   Take the family boating, fishing or swimming.  If there are campsites available, even better— especially if your family is up for a little outdoor adventure.  Cook up the fish you catch, take a swim, kick back and watch the kids build sandcastles or play volleyball. Good, inexpensive fun. 

Play outdoor games.  Try a croquet set, horseshoes, golf toss, washers, volley ball or badminton.  Add a few friends and steaks on the grill and you've got a fun, inexpensive afternoon— all in the privacy of your own back yard!
Go skating or bowling.   Such a fun time, but we often forget this type of recreation is available.  How often do you go to the skating rink or bowling alley?  It's an inexpensive outing for the family and a great way to throw in some friendly completion (which I'm a HUGE fan of!)  You can rent skates or bowling shoes, and most places even have food and drinks available if you work up an appetite.

Family chef night.  I love this idea!  It's a fantastic learning experience, fun and yummo!  Fix your favorites or have a theme night (tacos, Italian, Cajun, pizzas etc.) and get the family together to cook their specialties.  You could even make it a little more fun by assigning each person a dish and playing "Top Chef" by voting for the yummiest dish! 

Family game night. Whether you prefer board games, cards, or video games, getting family and friends together for a game night can be a lot of fun.  Have a few drinks and snacks while you're playing and team up for a more interesting challenge.

Visit a museum or other local attraction.  If you've just moved to a new city, you can usually find some great places to visit that will give you a little history about the area and fun times too!  Look for museums, zoos, aquariums, amusement parks, etc. Take a day or two to soak it all in!

Check out local festivals & events.  Another "fun in your new city" activity:  Check out the local calendar of events or chamber of commerce for upcoming festivals that are unique to the area and experience the local flavor.  You may find concerts, plays, fairs, farmer's markets, etc. 

Visit a park.   If walking, running, or biking isn't already part of your regular routine, visit a local, state or national park and enjoy the great outdoors.  Or perhaps you have the option of taking a hike. Even if it's a few hours to drive, plan on packing a picnic lunch and make a day-trip out of it. You can make it a little more interesting too by getting a little creative with the food you bring.  Rather than plain old sandwiches, spruce things up a bit by bringing something different – like empanadas or a cucumber salad and fresh fruit. If you don't have kids, maybe pack a bottle of wine and some wine glasses and make it a romantic picnic.

Read a book.  Take a trip to your local library or bookstore and find a good book to read.  If you have young children, libraries and some bookstores often have story hour and other summer reading programs.

Movie night.  There's nothing like spending all day watching movies!   Rent some and have a movie night or an all day movie marathon.  Really, with all of the online options these days, you don't even have to rent anything.  If you subscribe to Netflix or Hulu, you can stream plenty of movies for a variety of interests!  Pop some popcorn— or make it interesting and make several types of popcorn for everyone to sample.  Maybe order pizza so you don't even have to get off the couch. That's my kind of relaxing! 

Slumber party.  If you're among the brave, your kids will LOVE getting to have their friends over for a slumber party!  Sleeping bags, junk food, games, movies, pranks, and staying up all night— what can beat that?  This is an especially good idea if you're planning a move.  It's a great chance for your kids to spend some quality time with their friends before moving away. 

Backyard campout.  You may have to pick the right time of year for this (dead in the middle of a 100 degree summer might not be the best time), but backyard campouts can be tons of fun!  Just add a campfire (make sure there are no burn bans), marshmallows, s'mores, a guitar and some campfire stories and you've got a fun night!  If you have a clear view of the night sky, throw in a telescope and stargaze.

Neighborhood block party.  If you have good neighborhood friends your move is causing you to leave behind, have a neighborhood block party to say goodbye.  If your neighbors are willing to participate, plan to have several homes host a certain event or course in the meal.  You get hours of fun without all of the responsibility falling on one family.

Wine night.  This one is obviously for adults only. If there is a winery nearby, take an afternoon to go for a wine tasting and bring home a few bottles to take with you when you move. If a winery is not an option, consider getting a few bottles of different kinds of wine to create a wine tasting at your home. Cook a dinner that complements the wine, or have cheese or chocolate as a tasty addition.

Dance party. Have your friends over for a dance party. Put together a playlist in advance and ask friends to suggest or bring music as well. If dancing won't be interesting enough, make it even more fun by picking a theme and ask everyone to dress in costume (I recommend the 80s).  Throw in some drinks and rent a karaoke machine and you're guaranteed plenty of entertainment.

If you have more staycation ideas, share them with us! We'd love to hear.