One of the best things about a holiday is simply staying somewhere new. Kids get just as excited about staying at a hotel as they do about the location. Think about it. It’s novel, exciting, the rules and chores of home are out the door, and there are extravagant buffet breakfasts waiting every morning where the kids can devour whatever they like! For mum and dad it means that someone else washes the dishes, makes the beds and takes the bin out.
With so many city hotels having great amenities, like swimming pools and games rooms, a stay in a nearby hotel for a couple of nights is just the ticket for a relaxing break for the whole family, without the cost or all those tedious hours in transit. But if a hotel stay is outside of the budget, why not make your home a holiday destination in itself – set up a tent for the kids and get creative with how you approach your day!
Here are our tips for an awesome family staycation
1. In the money
Set a sensible and realistic budget for your staycation, just as you would for any holiday. Besides the cost of any accommodation, set aside money for activities, eating out and, since you’re saving on transport, perhaps a treat or two.
2. Location, Location, Location
Even if it is only a 15 minutes drive from home, choose a hotel that offers something a little different from the everyday. A beachside location or swimming pool will instantly put you in holiday mode. Alternatively, a tent in the backyard or encouraging everyone bunks into the one room for ‘sleep overs’ is always a hit with younger kids.
3. Do your research
Make a plan to explore your city as if you’ve never done it before. Chances are there are loads of fun things to do in your own backyard that you’ve never quite gotten around to. Do some research on museums, historic sites and attractions that you’ve never visited before and open your mind to the tourist potential of your own home-town.
4. Go on a scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts are a fantastic way to engage kids in exploring your hometown. Give them a challenge or a bit of fun competition and kids go crazy! There are a number of great apps to help you build your own or if that all seems a bit too hard, how about you create a simple treasure hunt for your kids at a known destination?
5. Animals are always cool
Whether it’s what they look like, the sound they make or the strange position they are lying, animals are endlessly fascinating to kids. Visit the local zoo or take inspiration from your family pet and get out into the great outdoors with them in tow. Check out a walking track you’ve never done before or take a picnic to a park you don’t regularly visit and see some of the local wildlife.
6. Switch off
Turn the mobile off, and leave your laptop behind. The key to any successful family break is reconnecting with your family.
7. Dine Out
Get the family dressed up for dinner and take your time over a special meal that will make you feel like you’re miles away. Or indulge the kids and let them take you on a ‘gastronomy’ journey for a day – choosing all the places to eat (you might be surprised by what they choose!)
8. Movie magic
There’s nothing better than ordering an in-room family movie and some popcorn and snuggling up in a giant hotel bed to watch it together. Or, why not try your hand at setting up your very own home cinema in the backyard?
Most importantly though, there’s no pressure to try and see everything because if you miss anything when you’re in your hometown, you can easily make a plan to come back another day!
Janeece Keller is the founder and editor of Family Travel. She mostly travels with her husband and two young kids. She has a large blended family that lives in Australia and Europe. She has visited 52 countries and lived on 3 continents. From camping to luxury resorts Janeece tries to make sure her family has diverse holiday experiences each year. She is an avid hiker and ocean swimmer who loves good food, margaritas and heading off the beaten path.