GUEST CONTRIBUTOR: KATHY RIGGS, USU EXTENSION PROFESSOR
If your family has the tradition of taking a summer vacation every year, you are not alone! It’s a great time to bond as a family and for parents to get away from work and other responsibilities. However, this year it may make less sense to spend a considerable amount of income on an expensive family trip. It may be wiser to use vacation funds to pay off debt or add to that “rainy day” fund (which may have come in handy to some families in 2020). Besides, there are still some travel restrictions in place and some of the more popular parks and recreation areas may not be fully open until late summer.
With the right strategy and sales pitch to the family, a staycation may be just the alternative you are looking for! A staycation can mean either staying at home or remaining close by while enjoying local, regional, or state attractions. Staying close to home means that you save money on travel costs and it is also a way to support the local and state economy.
Online travel guides like Visit Utah are great for planning your staycation. Not from Utah? No problem. Every state has a website showcasing local parks, recreation areas, or other festivities. Two additional examples are: Colorado and North Carolina. Of course you can always just pose a question in your search bar and with a statement like: “best free campsites in Arizona”, etc. Every state has a great variety of different types of museums, parks, and outdoor adventures. You could do something different every week- one week might focus on National and State Parks; another, bodies of water for fishing; historical sites along with museums; and don’t forget to check out what the locals like to do.
If all the short day trips around the area become too exhausting due to planning snacks and lunches, or the sites seem to attract too many people, consider a true staycation- use the back yard, camp out in a tent, under the trampoline, or on the deck. If you don’t have a back yard, ask to borrow one from a neighbor or family member or just spend an evening together playing games, watching a movie, eating popcorn or making S-mores over the grill.
Many times families plan vacations where they can be entertained, stay in hotels, or cruise to foreign locations. However, involving the family in creating a unique vacation closer to home, aka staycation, can encourage family unity as the plan is created and offer more time as a family that doesn’t include work interruptions and be a great way to break free of internet and on-line meetings/class work.
Kathy Riggs is an Extension Professor with expertise in Home Food Preservation/Storage and 4-H Afterschool programming. I also dabble in several other areas including Financial Management! In my time outside of work, I participate in regular therapy sessions puttering in my yard and garden. I also love to hang out with family and spend time in the kitchen.
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