This year, why not consider a local vacation instead of travelling abroad? There are a number of benefits from staying at home during your summer holidays. By avoiding hotels and air travel, you can save a significant amount of money that can then be spent on special meals and activities. To ensure your holiday-at-home is a relaxing change, try some of these ideas to set the stage.

The first rule of a staycation is to break from routine so you’re able to reset, relax, and enjoy yourself. That means a vacation plan and a schedule to explore your horizons. With some planning in advance, you can eliminate the everyday work, such as cleaning and shopping, to focus (or not focus) on the things in the vacation plan.

Determine your budget for the entire two or three weeks so you can plan accordingly. Rather than restrict meals to home-cooked, consider planning for three or four take-out or restaurant meals each week. Pre-cook meals for the freezer that go can into the oven for easy dinners. Sandwiches are a great Plan B because everyone can make their own. Desserts such as store-bought slab cake and ice cream will keep the mood festive.

Planning what you want to do each day or week will help keep the momentum going. For example, Mondays could be to explore the history and heritage of your area. Tuesdays might be a fun activity like going Mini Golfing or horseback riding. Wednesdays could be daytrips to a nearby lake, or to the countryside to check out some Farmer’s markets. Let family members write their suggestions on a blank calendar so everyone can participate in the plan.

To get everyone in the mood, some wardrobe updates might be needed. For kids, a couple of new summer outfits will delight them. Accessories such as glittery flip-flops or a kid-sized fedora will signal that vacation has started and it’s time to start having fun.

If you feel like you’ve seen everything, maybe it’s time to take a train or drive to a different part of your province. In Eastern Canada, the VIA train system is convenient and affordable. In B.C., the ferry system connects the islands to the mainland. A long weekend at a kid-friendly B&B gives everyone something exciting to look forward to.

Don’t forget to ‘schedule’ some idle time. Studies have shown that daydreaming and just vegging can produce alpha waves in the brain that leads to creativity. Bookend down-time with something artsy to make the most of that neural connection. Follow a slow day with some time in a gallery or artisan shops.

Prepare a ‘rainy day’ box with some interesting crafts and reading material. Local craft or dollar stores will have supplies such as construction paper, glue, and paints for young artists. Adults might want to try adult colouring books to get their alpha waves going.

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