Summer is here; the children or grandchildren are off school. It’s time to plan the summer break. Foreign holidays can be expensive. Since the economic downturn of ten years ago, people have chosen to save money with something called a “staycation”. The word is a portmanteau of “stay” and “vacation”. It might seem a contradiction in terms – after all, the words are virtual opposites – but the concept is a simple one. You stay at home but treat it as a holiday. Here is how you have a week off but make it feel like a break.
Have a Clean Before You “Go”
Whenever we go away on holiday, we habitually clean our home so we don’t have to do it when we come back. Having a good clean now means you won’t need to do many household chores while you are on your staycation. Otherwise, there is no point taking a break. For example, if your week off starts on the Monday spend the weekend cleaning. It will get you into the holiday mode. If you do end up making a mess, leave it until the following weekend to tidy up.
Make a List of “We’ve Always Wanted to…”
When attractions are close, we tend to ignore them. We also tend to assume we can visit them any time and therefore shouldn’t be in a rush to do so. Your staycation is your chance – it doesn’t matter what it is: National Park, a small museum, a major attraction or even just the seaside. Make a point to visit all those places you said you will visit “some day”. Any holiday or break is about getting away from it all and there’s nothing better than getting it away from it all than doing something different from your usual leisure routine.
Set a Budget
Just as you would for a foreign holiday, set yourself a budget of what you can and cannot afford. This will make planning of events, day trips and eating out much easier. While holidays are about letting your hair down, enjoying yourself and letting go of normal money worries, it’s counterproductive to spend money you don’t have and end up stressing about it afterwards. When you know what you have available to spend, it’s much easier to plan your events. If on a limited budget, you’ll force yourself to be imaginative and creative with your days out and events.
Have an Overnight Stay
On a staycation, one person usually doesn’t get to relax as much as the others – the designated driver. You could share the driving of course, but if only one person has a license, they can sometimes get less out of the break. If you decide to go somewhere farther afield – around 100 miles, consider having an overnight stay. The change of scene is exciting for everyone. Plus, you’ll have the chance to try somewhere completely new. The driver will also ensure they get enough of a rest.
Most people don’t cook when they go on holiday. Even those in self-catering apartments will have a simple breakfast and eat out for most of their meals. Use the money you’re not spending on accommodation on eating out. There is a long and rich heritage of street food in the UK – especially useful if you’re planning to go to some seasonal events. You could be adventurous and ignore the familiar chains, going for small and local traders or trying cuisines you’ve never tried before.
Have a Back-Up Plan
The British summer is rarely one of long and unbroken heat and sunshine. Rain is inevitable so you should plan for it. When creating your list of things to do, ensure you include indoor things. This can be museums, cinema or any other indoor attractions. It’s helpful to have a list of back up things to do and then decide between them.