Should You STAY or Should You Go?

Summer has finally arrived and millions of people are considering their summer vacation plans.  Problem is…the temps aren’t the only thing rising these days.  It seems the cost of an20-Things-THUMB annual family vacation is getting a bit pricier too. At an average cost of $1,180 per person, for some, it’s just not in the budget to fly across the country on vacation to sunny beaches, mountain resorts or amusement parks. But, you can still enjoy the summer with your friends and family without breaking the bank!  Enter the buzzword “staycation”—a growing movement in leisure travel.  Defined as an activity where an individual or family stays home and participates in leisure activities within driving distance, sleeping in their own beds at night,” staycations are on the rise in popularity and can often result in great fun and remarkable savings.  In fact, in 2012, Living Social reported over 2/3 of Americans took a staycation opting for local favorites and budget-friendly alternatives over the typical vacation.  Also, 60% of staycationers do so for the main purpose of saving money.  Lastly and sadly, Americans earn the least amount of paid vacation time annually (14 days compared to 30 in countries like France, Spain, Brazil and Denmark) so we must use our time wisely.  Rather than stress about letting your family down because you simply cannot afford to jet-set across the globe, start planning now to take a trip in your own backyard and make your staycation one to remember.

Did you know that most people don’t even bother to discover the unique attractions and amenities offered in their own home-town or region?  It’s time to change that and explore the KC region on staycation this summer!  Here’s a few tips to get started…

  1. Get the whole family involved.  Decide on your budget, theme and schedule so you can plan around what works for your crew.
  2. Call your local CVB (Convention & Visitors Bureau) office to obtain a community map, visitors guide, insider tips, coupons, referrals or upcoming special event suggestions.  Before you head out, make sure to check special offers such as 2-for Tuesday, etc.—many attractions offer discounts during the non-peak attendance days. Yelp is a great resource and has a search filter for special offers.
  3. Make it fun by adding a summer staycation countdown calendar and let the kids mark off the days until the fun begins.
  4. If you can afford one-night at a local campground or hotel, go ahead and splurge on the final night so the kids will feel like they really left home and got to experience the vacay feel.  Check out Merriam’s lineup of lodging!   If not, throw a tent in the backyard to add to the experience right at home.
  5. Based on your activity of the day, make a packing list of items you’ll need.  Don’t forget the staples such as sunscreen and bug spray, wipes, band aids, water bottles, sunglasses, etc.
  6. Get everyone their own disposable camera and after the fun is done, create a scrapbook from the pics of your time together.
  7. Unplug—just because you’re staying local, your friends, neighbors and coworkers don’t need to interrupt your family time.  Only keep the tech live if you need directions or want to call ahead a reservation or ask questions.
  8. If dining out for each meal isn’t possible, pack a lunch and splurge for ice-cream to save a little cash.  Or, if you chose a themed itinerary, return home after your excursions each evening and cook a family dinner centered around that theme (Italian, Greek, Mexican, etc.)
  9. Just because you’re at home, you can still “check out” by letting the phone ring, the mail pile up or the chores go by the wayside.  This is your time—enjoy every minute!

If Merriam is your home-base for a staycation, check out the CVB’s list of 20 Things to Do in Merriam this Summer!  Happy local travels from the Merriam Visitors Bureau!

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