Are you feeling jittery about taking a family vacation this summer? You’re not alone. Whether it’s your family’s safety abroad, the high cost of gasoline, or a thin bank account that has you unsettled, this might be a great time to consider a dramatic alternative: a stay-at-home vacation!
You can become tourists in your own town by uncovering local gems and taking advantage of the burgeoning number of children’s activities offered by state and county cultural and environmental organizations. Contrary to what the kids may want you to believe, the true definition of vacation is to abandon your normal routine of life. Do everything differently, and you’re on vacation.
Get the American Automobile Association Tour Book for your town. These books are free to AAA members and contain exhaustive tourist information about possible attractions in every city, town, and burg in the nation.
Stop by the lobby of the nicest hotel in your city, and pick up tourist brochures. Don’t assume you already know about everything there is to do in your city. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Start paying attention to the calendar of events in your local newspaper. Summer is the time for festivals, shows, county fairs, and concerts in the park.
There are more than 250 children’s museums in the United States, and most of them offer free admission on a certain day of each week or month. The Association of Youth Museums will give you information on a museum in your area. Make plans to visit, even if you’re not a kid.
Every city has some kind of post office, firehouse, police station, factory, or manufacturing business that offers tours. If you call ahead, most of these community facilities will be thrilled to take your family for a tour. Many of these kinds of tours will send you home with samples or other souvenirs. Check the Factory Tours USA website to see what’s available in your area.
Some of kids’ best summer memories are of long, lazy days with a stack of books. Librarians can guide kids anywhere in the universe through books. Libraries are a gold mine of children’s activities, and they frequently offer reading programs, story hours, and movies.
There’s no doubt parents’ attitudes and moods set the tone for the family. Your excitement about new kinds of adventures and entertainment can become infectious.
Camp in the backyard for a few nights while taking a special local outing each day. Sleep out under the stars or in a tent, and tell stories around the barbecue. Roast marshmallows and drink hot chocolate.
Turn your home into a hotel. Offer room service complete with menus. Have an all-night movie extravaganza. Unplug the phones.
Take lots of pictures and put together a vacation photo album. The possibilities are endless.
Whether planning a vacation of a few hours or several weeks, at home or thousands of miles away, the most important thing is that you and your family take an interlude from customary duties for a special time of recreation and rest.
Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Mary invites you to visit her at her website, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at EverydayCheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Copyright 2021 Creators.com