Not all of us will be jetting off to warmer climates this year. Unfortunately, most of us have seen our holidays cancelled, postponed and some of us indefinitely. Many of us are now looking for alternatives to our usual summer break because although the UK and Europe plan to allow holidays from July (rumoured) a lot of families have decided that a stay at home holiday could be just as enjoyable.
Isn’t it just staycation?
I grew up with the term, staycation meaning you stayed at home and make day trips, days out to the local park and if you live close enough a lovely trip to the beach. Over the years, the terminology has changed, and staycations now mean staying in the UK. But whichever way you see it. Holidays whether abroad, at home or in the UK will seem different with many families deciding that it just won’t feel like a holiday if lockdown restrictions apply.
That doesn’t mean its the end of ‘summer’, before having our children we often struggled to afford a holiday due to a mortgage and debts so we looked for alternatives but also considered finances. It can be easy to spend more on what appears to be a stay at home holiday.
Talking of finances, I need to touch on it a little. If you have an annual holiday budget, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply if you stay at home. My husband and I usually allocate £100 a day for our summer holiday, that includes a day out, snacks and food (we don’t like to cook too much on holiday) and we both hate having to count the pennies as my Nan used to say.
So we make a plan, we work out spending money, food (including eating out), days out, activities and shopping. We then know what funds we are playing with, and we add a bit for emergencies.
Planning Stay at Home Holiday Activities
Before I begin, I want to point out the obvious. A stay at home holiday doesn’t mean Mum or Dad continue to work from home; big brother sits upstairs on his Xbox, and technology is life! I know! It’s hard for me to shut my laptop sometimes when I just want five minutes, but this is a time to be spent as a family, enjoying each other, during a time that we may never get back.
So my first suggestion is to make a plan! But be flexible. If the weathers awful and that trip to the zoo is cancelled (British weather sucks) don’t stress, have a few rainy day activities on standby. We like to use the cinema as our rainy day or with toddlers in tow, a play zone (hoping the restrictions will be eased soon) but it could easily be a virtual trip to a museum (yes that is a thing now). Only you know your family, but here are a few cost-effective ideas.
10 Stay at Home Holiday Activities
Picnic in the garden/park – Grab a blanket, an icebox and head into the garden for some well deserved time together or a local park. In the UK we do enjoy a good picnic, with there being some great picnic spots to explore. If you are invested, you could make treats to take like sausage rolls, cakes or cheese straws. Set the kids up with some colouring books, audiobooks or puzzles and enjoy the great outdoors together.
Garden Camp Out – I’ve never been one for camping, but I have owned a tent in my 20’s. It doesn’t have to be expensive, you could borrow a tent, or there are some decent size ones on Amazon like this four-person tent, which would fit in the average family garden. If however, you fancy a little home from home, some companies offer the glamping experiences. They come in, set up and leave you to your outdoor cookout or movie experience. Grab some popcorn and set up your very own outdoor movie theatre!
Water Fight – In the UK we do get the odd spell of hot weather, and we don’t all want to influx a beach so why not get out the pool, jet slide, buckets or water guns and cool off. It could be just what you need to entertain those bored boys (I have one of those, not sure if the husband counts). Just remember to have plenty of towels handy.
Local Attractions – I am grateful to live in an area with zoos, theme parks, aquariums, theatres, museums and if I want to, we can hop on a train to London within the hour. It was only a few years ago that we discovered a nearby splash park. Some time’s we forget what is right on our doorstep. Portsmouth is only a few miles away, so we’ve often jumped in the car to Southsea and enjoyed the rides on Clarence Pier and enjoyed fish and chips after. It doesn’t have to be expensive but if you have kids who adore attractions or zoos, maybe look at investing in an annual pass to a local attraction. You usually save money, and there may be some excellent deals around.
Bug/Bear/Gruffalo Hunt – I live in an area with various woodland walks just a short car journey away, and plenty of National Trust locations nearby to visit and they often offer activities and mini-adventures for the kids to enjoy. From quizzes, treasure hunts and more. You don’t have to stray too far. Print of an activity sheet and head into some woods for a walk and see what you can discover.
Family Bake Off – A rainy day can throw all outdoor plans into turmoil but if there is a budding baker in your family maybe get out the aprons and make some simple treats or for the more adventurous. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t even have to bake. You could also make some tasty treats for a movie afternoon or an indoor picnic (loved them as a kid).
Puzzles/Quizzes/Board Games – Who doesn’t love a good puzzle or board game? If like us, you aren’t one for puzzles or board games; there are plenty of online quizzes and treasure hunt games to keep you busy.
Create a holiday scrapbook – This is something that I wish I had started when I was younger. It’s not complicated. Just a standard notebook or some plain paper and find some old photos from last years holidays or go online and print some cute things off. Give each member of the family a page or two and see what you can create. It may be a way of getting you to consider your next trip as I do think that we should share travelling with our children. Don’t put it off until their older, they should be experiencing things now!
Learn a New Language – There are so many websites and apps now that can assist with learning a new language. When I was 14, I decided to learn Spanish (not taught in school then) and booked out a book and cassette (I am that old) from the library for the summer and sat on the beach learning. I managed the basics, but I wish I’d continued. It was helping my daughter with her French studies as inspired me to consider learning it again. It can be something you do as a family or individually. I would suggest teaching colours or numbers first if younger kids.
Arts & Crafts – A list wouldn’t be complete without some time for arts & crafts. I have a husband with OCD which moves very difficult when the sight of paint makes him panic so over the years we’ve never replaced our crafts box, but homeschooling has taught me that we do need it when your son’s school ask you to make masks, pictures books and felt animals and all the shops are shut! I do have a love of Hobbycraft! But I do love a good colouring book or picture of Mum and Dad so if you want a chill-out day, never say no to grabbing the art box.
Not Feeling Like a Holiday
So there are a few ideas to get you started. There are plenty more sources on the internet, and as mentioned museums are offering virtual tours if that is something that interests you. It’s just to get your thinking about some of the things you could do.
There is this risk that being at home means it never feels like a holiday. You cook every night, the washing up still needs doing, and there always seem to be a pile of laundry waiting to put in the machine. Having the right mindset from the beginning means that these ‘normal’ things don’t have to ruin your stay at home holiday. Order a cheeky take-out, get your shopping delivered to the house, use a local company to bring an afternoon tea or a party pack to your home. It doesn’t have to feel like you aren’t ‘away’. I heard from friends how they are getting their houses ‘holiday’ ready! One even described it as ‘hotel’ ready with new bed linen, and they also planned to have a holiday type of breakfast every morning. I’m not talking buffet but sat alfresco.
However, you decide to spend your summer holiday, whether at home, in a beautiful holiday cottage or you choose to jump on a plane. It will be your holiday. I’m hoping that this post has inspired you to consider something different. Please let me know in the comments below what plans you have for the summer?
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