Staycations: A DIY Getaway

If you’re like most people, the end of January is just the time of the year when you get a little stir crazy. The seemingly endless snowstorms, extreme temperatures, and let’s face it, the post-holiday slump, combine to create an overwhelming gloomy mood. It’s the perfect time to change the mood in your home with an easy, cost effective vacation. Unlike typical getaways, this one requires little to no traveling. With a little creativity, you and your loved ones will soon see those frowns turned upside down!

See the Sights

Are you guilty of living in an area rich with history and culture that you’ve never explored? We’re constantly traveling here, there, everywhere to visit famous museums, restaurants and cities, neglecting those in our own backyards! It’s a no-brainer, but try to check out the local offerings near or within your town. Do a little bit of research and compile a list of must-sees, including both family-friendly and adult-centered activities. This is your chance to finally check out that to-die-for steakhouse or let your inner child play at the local rock climbing wall or pottery class.

Go ‘Au Natural’

We don’t mean give up deodorant and shampoos, but we do mean take some time to appreciate the scenery around you. Are there nearby parks that your family can easily get to? The lush landscape not only provides stunning vistas, but also guarantees a belly full of laughs while you each try rolling down the hill. Or, check out a park or farm that offers guided trail rides. If you’re lucky and plan ahead, you might even get to check out the sunset while on horseback! For out-of-this world fun, bring a telescope, blankets and apple cider in thermoses and go star-gazing. Check the weather beforehand to pick the clearest night; prepare to be amazed!

Beat Boredom

If the weather is a bit less than pleasant, don’t fret! There are plenty of activities to do indoors without going anywhere. Dig out the family’s favorite board games. Sound too dull for teens? Try mixing up the classic card games into an ultimate game where scores are carried over from day to day; the weekend-long champ gets to pick his or her favorite meal for dinner the following week!

Attend an In-Home Premier

You don’t have to be an A-list celebrity to make this event! Turn your family room into an intimate home theater! Rent the movies you’ve been meaning to see and create a double feature everyone will enjoy. Re-arrange furniture so that there are two rows of couches or chairs for everyone to sit. Be sure to get plenty of popcorn, candy and sodas ready!

Make Scents

Did you know that certain aromas affect your mood? So even if you can’t change your location or participate in a staycation, you can change your mood. Let’s face it, even the thought of a rotting banana makes you wrinkle your nose! Try your hand at aromatherapy to instantly give your family a boost. To de-stress a room, try scents like citrus, ylang ylang, sandalwood and rose. To awaken and invigorate the senses, eucalyptus, ginger and peppermint work wonders. Finally, to sooth someone into a deep, peaceful sleep, try lavender, vanilla and chamomile. A few drops on a pillow case or tissue will suffice. Or for a constant fresh smell, pour the essential oil into a diffuser. Take a deep breath and relax!

Hotels in Suffolk Are Popular For Staycations

An increasing number of Brits are opting for staycations this summer, as the poor exchange rate means heading abroad no longer presents the best value for money.

East Anglia is one holiday hot spot that is severely underrated. Bordering the North Sea on its east coast, East Anglia is home to a breathtaking mix of low-flying hills, and boasts a beautiful wetland habitat that includes the wetlands of the Broads.

Hotels in Suffolk are popular with tourists because the area is of outstanding natural beauty. It encompasses one of the most ancient regions of the UK, which is a monastery in Bury St Edmunds. It was founded in 630AD.

Rendelsham Forest is also located in Suffolk. It’s referred to as Britain’s Roswell because it’s the site of one of the most famous UFO events in England. Back in December 1980 there were a series of reported sightings of unexplained lights. It was also alleged that a craft landed in the forest. The Ministry of Defence claimed to not investigate the reports because it didn’t pose a threat to national security. However, evidence indicates that the MoD actually held a substantial file on the subject. When the file was released in 2001 it was revealed that the file, instead of containing details of a massive cover up, just held internal correspondence and responses to enquiries from the public. Surely, Suffolk is the ideal holiday location for all UFO buffs.

Southwold Pier offers the family a traditional British holiday by the sea, which attracts a plethora of tourists every year. The family-friendly restaurants and cafe’s scattered near the pier, combined the with pier entertainment, combine to offer a fun holiday for parents and children alike.

Suffolk plays host to a variety of events throughout the year, so when booking hotels in Suffolk, it’s best to do do so in advance. Festivals such as Latitude and Hachfest attract visitors from across the country.

Staycations – Get Correct Information

Whenever I talk to somebody from overseas, it always amazes me the places in my own backyard that they have seen. When you go on holiday, you always plan to see things that you don’t see in your home town. But after hearing many people tell me about the wonders in my town that I didn’t even know about, I began to get jealous.

I guess that’s why staycations have taken off as a popular way to holiday. Staycations are vacations that people have right at home. You can camp in your backyard or pay for a night or two at a hotel nearby, and play tourist in your town.

If you don’t know what’s on, pop in to your local information or tourist centre and ask. You’ll be surprised what great things have been going on right under your nose. Wine and dine at a restaurant you were always too afraid to enter. Go to the local theatre and see a play, you could end up seeing the next Al Pacino or Meryl Streep. Visit a local museum and find out interesting things about how your town was founded and the history leading up to it. Find a niche art gallery and look at prints by up and coming artists. Or if they are not your thing, you can be the adventurous tourist by going to a theme park, or snow those mountain trails. Remember to spend a day or two relaxing on the beach or in your hotels pool. You will be amazed and proud at the things your town has to offer.

How to Enjoy Family Staycations in a Recession

Now that the summer solstice has given us more time between sunrise and sunset, Americans are officially in summer mode – using the extra daylight hours to spend with the family. But unemployment rates are above 10% in many states and the recession isn’t showing signs of an early end. A lot of us are cutting way back on expenses. The Auto Club estimates that the traditional vacation costs an average of $244 per day for two people just for lodgings and meals. With plane fares, the kids’ expenses and other costs thrown in, the price of a weeklong family vacation could reach $10,000.

With the effects of the recession hitting government agencies as well as individual families, are you wondering how to entertain your kids this summer? Many cities are cancelling summer school, county governments are cutting down on various services and some state parks are closing. So if you need to engage your children this summer, here are some tips to help you take advantage of free and low-cost alternatives to expensive summer activities – the emerging trend of “staycations:”

1. Make good use of your local library. The hours may be cut back but the library is still a good source of fun for the kids. With a library card, you can take out DVDs and CDs, as well as books, rather than buying them. And many libraries are still sponsoring programs that are informative and interesting for the whole family. Why not create a summer book club for your children, teens or yourself? You can decide to read “beach books” or some classics, settle on best-selling non-fiction, beautifully written novels or award-winning titles. The choice is up to you. Your weekly discussion groups will be engaging and fun for everyone.

2. Check out the museums in your area. Many of them will likely have admission-free days, particularly for local residents. Plan your schedule around these days so that you can introduce your children to art, history, nature, music and crafts. The bonus is that you, too, will learn something from these visits and enjoy the time you spend there. Visit a water park, zoo or aquarium that offers shows for the kids. They’ll find out first hand about the habitats and lifestyles of many species.

3. Enjoy free concerts in the park, community festivals and low cost theater productions. Check the local papers for notices about events near you. You and the kids can informally experience all kinds of ethnic celebrations. Search out public tours of civic buildings and corporate businesses. Educational day trips to government offices and companies give you the chance to view beautiful art work and learn about what goes on behind usually-closed doors. Community playhouses often have revivals of classics, musicals or innovative avant guard shows at reasonable costs. You can explore small theaters in your city or line up for rush, discounted tickets at more well established ones.

4. Go outside with the kids. Locate maps of your community and hike in the hills, walk in areas you haven’t explored before or bike in the flats around a lake. A trip to the community swimming pool is fun for everyone. Plan to picnic on the grass at home or camp out overnight in your own backyard. Take in a baseball game, sitting in the bleachers. If you can, take a drive to a lake or the ocean and spend time with the family enjoying the vastness of the waterscape, the warmth of the sand, the sound of the waves crashing, the smell of sunscreen, the open blue sky. Or drive to the hills or mountains for full days of hiking and camping in the simple beauty of nature. Park Rangers may be available to give you informative talks about the flora and fauna you are seeing.

5. Do some cooking or baking together. It’s always fun to hang out in the kitchen together, even in the summer. Make some tried and true favorites like chocolate chip cookies. Teach the kids some of your old family recipes or try out an interesting new one. Summer can be the time to schedule potluck evenings with family friends. Everyone can pitch in to keep down the costs and create a diverse menu. Bring the recipes to share and you have new dinner ideas to use during the coming year. Cap off the evening with charades and team games or you can set up tournaments for board games, based on your children’s ages.

6. Explore a new area or hobby with the kids. Summer might be just the right time to finally get going on that interest that has been percolating on the back burner. Have you wanted to start a family tree? Now, take the time to get on the Internet and start researching. Organize your snapshots? Get out those photos and arrange them in an attractive scrapbook or e-book. Learn about the universe and star gazing? Visit a planetarium, observatory or the library. Buy an inexpensive fish with the kids – and then teach them how to clean the bowl, how often to feed their pet and even about the life cycle of fish.

7. If you can, include some staycation plans solely for adults. Schedule a joint massage for you and your partner at a local spa. Take a day cruise or a short train ride – just you two. Splurge and stay at a nearby bed and breakfast. You’ll find that the time alone for a romantic getaway refreshes you and your relationship.

Planning and taking a real staycation gets you out of your everyday rut and creates memories for your family to share throughout the year. Now that you have heard lots of good ideas for taking a staycation without draining your funds, get out there and enjoy yourselves! And don’t forget to take lots of pictures so you won’t forget any of the delightful details.

© 2009, Her Mentor Center