One way to make those lasting memories with your family without some of the stresses of traveling a long distance is to play tourist in your area. You can do this by using your home as your "accommodation" or by camping nearby or by staying in a hotel suite. The first two options are the least expensive of the three obviously, but we have tried all of these and enjoyed aspects of all three. Spending even one night in a hotel in your own town or in a neighbouring town can actually feel like a little holiday and most kids delight in the excitement that spending a night in a hotel (especially one with a pool) brings! We have found some incredible deals by booking at the last minute, being willing to go on a weeknight in low season, and asking directly for a large discount. We have stayed in local hotels in their family suite, which usually has a themed bedroom for the kids within the room. Whatever accommodation option you choose for your stay-at-home or stay-near-home holiday, there are some important things to remember to make it a success.
It is imperative that you treat this as a holiday by giving your family your undivided attention. This may mean switching off the phones, powering down the computers, and turning off the TV. Also be sure to leave the worries of your job or life circumstances for the time of the vacation. By doing things differently than you normally do, this will already set the tone for making this holiday a success.
Visit your local Information Centre and pick up brochures of the activities in your area. They may also have free maps that you can take. Be sure to talk to whoever is on duty at the centre, as they will be able to tell you some of the hidden gems within your community. No matter how long you have lived in your town, there will probably be things that you were not aware of and it can be fun to re-discover your community by seeing it through the eyes of a tourist. Even in very small communities, there are so many things to explore and enjoy. Examples of these are nature preserves, bird watching, berry picking, local farm experiences, art stores, museums, bowling, live plays at high schools or community centres, festivals, historical landmarks, churches, hiking trails, horseback riding, gardening centres, swimming, ice skating, golfing, cultural centres, lakes, and bed and breakfasts.
If saving money is the main goal of having your vacation from home, then think of creative ways to create those special memories such as packing a picnic lunch and taking it out to a nature area or park to enjoy together. You can also make your house feel more like a hotel by trying fun ideas such as swapping bedrooms among the family members or serving breakfast in bed and pretending it's room service! You could also try a night of camping out in the living room.
Staying at or near home can be just as much of a vacation as going far away, can save you money, stress, and time, and can still create lasting family memories.