It’s time to take a much needed break from this seemingly endless winter. When I think about a vacation, I usually envision a sunny destination, beach, pool, a stack of new books to read and waitresses who bring me drinks. While I might need/want that type of vacation, I think it bears reminding our kids don’t need a “fancy” vacation to have fun or be happy. So if you can’t afford or don’t have time to go on that “fancy” vacation this year, there are other alternatives your kids will love! I personally like the idea of a “staycation” and taking day sightseeing trips. BUT, as the term implies, the staycation means staying at home. For kids, staying at home ≠vacation.
So, let me tell you how you can plan an awesome weekend getaway that kids will love for under $100. I’ll call it the Adjacent Vacation because you won’t go far away and your kids will have just as much fun as any fancy family vacation. Remember, in order to qualify as a fun kids vacation, the following must occur:
1. Packing of the Suitcase: The ritual Packing of the Suitcase is a necessary component to any vacation. They can start packing days in advance to prolong the excitement. Parenting Advice #1: Pick your battles and just pretend you don’t see the massive quantities of useless items included in your kids suitcase (because your son may just want to play with that Star Wars action figure that he hasn’t played with for years).
2. A Road Trip: No one ever said you had to drive far for a vacation but I would suggest that you drive at least 45 minutes so it feels like you are going to a “destination.” Play car trip games like I Spy and spotting “landmarks” (it doesn’t have to be famous to be a landmark, it can be a church, a train station, even a funny looking sign), just point things out to make your kids feel like they are going somewhere.
3. Hotel Stay with a Pool: Sleeping in a hotel WITH A POOL qualifies as a vacation in any kid’s eyes. As parents we might be a tad bit jaded and “over” the hotel with a pool but you’re kids aren’t…far from it. Bonus points if you can score a hotel with a game room and hot tub for when you can’t stand the “heated” pool for another minute (heated means two different things to kids and adults). Don’t forget the noodles, beach balls and pool toys!! And, I haven’t forgotten about the adults, make sure to bring along a new book to read, beverage cooler, and plastic cups for bringing your own drinks!
Search for hotels within a 50 miles radius of your house. There are bound to be a few to choose from and make sure you check for promo codes on sites like RetailMeNot or Coupons to help you save even more. I just booked a stay at La Quinta outside Providence, Rhode Island that advertised for $79 on Orbitz but got it down to $67 a night just by getting a promo code and booking directly at the hotel website! Yes, that is $67 a night for a nice updated hotel room with pool and breakfast for four people! Are you starting to like the idea of my Adjacent Vacation?
4. Breakfast at the Hotel: What kid doesn’t want to make their own waffle, pick from a myriad of sugar cereal choices, try every muffin, donut, and pastry. Parenting Advice #2: Let your kids go wild. Breakfast at a hotel=food freedom. If they want to mix apple, cranberry and orange juice together, let them. If they want to try peanut butter and scrambled eggs together let them experiment!
5. Snacks, Treats and Other Goodies: For a kid, nothing beats a hotel fridge and counter stocked with their favorite treats! They get to salivate over them all weekend long. And who doesn’t love a mini fridge? Let the kids pick the treats beforehand and stock the fridge when you arrive. Adults that fridge isn’t just limited to kids beverages!
6. Board Games, Cards Games and other Non-Electronic Games: Last but not least, I get to the fundamental thing required for making a memorable family Adjacent Vacation. What do kids want more than anything else….YOUR TIME AND ATTENTION! Figure out some fun family games to play together or use some of your budget for new board or card games. Leave the electronics at home!
Let’s see how the Adjacent Vacation budget stacks up:
One night accommodation with breakfast: $67
Pizza or Subs for dinner: $20-25
Snacks, etc: $8-15
So, what are you waiting for, get going!!