— A post from LifeasMOM Contributor, Amy —
Have you booked your plans for Spring Break yet?
Wanna go see something fun and different with the kids and get a little relaxing in? Want to enjoy all your favorite foods—just the way you like them, or maybe try something a little more exotic?
Sure, I love boarding a plane and taking off for some place completely new. But I also enjoy skipping the jet lag or travel exhaustion and instead uncovering true gems much closer to home.
This Spring Break, consider taking the opportunity to do and see all the things you’ve intended to do but haven’t… stay at home and be a tourist in your own town!
Think about it… you probably like where you live, but seldom get to really take it all in because you’re too busy getting the things done that “have” to get done. With a little planning, you can still feel like you are on vacation without even having to pack a suitcase and spend money on a hotel.
How can it be done? I’ll tell you:
Determine your budget.
Just like any other trip, first think about how much you want to spend. Figure it out and plan around it.
Book your trip on your calendar.
Determine at what time and day vacation will begin and end and then treat those times and dates as if they were flight reservations. This will help you get in the right frame of mind for getting things prepared and then getting back to ‘real’ life.
Don’t plan non-vacation things during those dates. This is not the time for home repair or other appointments. If you would like to allow for those types of things while taking a break from work or school, plan a day less for your “vacation” and schedule those things before or after the “trip.”
Research local attractions and build a vacation schedule.
You must have a few ideas of places you’d like to check out. Treat this trip like any other and put some time into researching the really fun and interesting things to do, narrow down your choices and plot them on your schedule. Call ahead and ask some of the venues for restaurant suggestions- You might even hear a few new ones you haven’t tried.
Consider at-home activities.
What at-home activities do you wish you had time for but never feel like you do? Pull out the dominoes, board games and DVDs you might have been waiting for the perfect time to watch. Borrow games, books and movies from neighbors and friends.
Think about those really messy recipes and science experiments you never do with your kids… is this the time? Put these things on your vacation schedule.
Want a little relaxing time alone? Now’s the time to figure out how you can make it happen. And if you want to use a sitter, call and schedule now.
Think about food.
Plan your meals in a way that you can do as much cooking in advance as possible so that when you are on vacation, you just have to do final preparations on your meals. If you plan it all out, shop and prepare in advance, you can make it feel like you are on vacation.
When you do your pre-vacation shopping, be sure to buy everything you need. DO NOT plan for grocery trips during vacation to pick up one or two things…. Then you risk your week feeling like any other week.
Think about food some more.
Are there restaurants in town you want to try but always forget about? Now is the time to check them out. The trick to making this special is to treat it like a trip out of town.
Start making your list early and explore a new spot or two. Plan your budget to accommodate one special night out… whether special means upscale and fancy or a spot with a great sandpit for the kids to build sandcastles is up to you.
Make a vacation pact with your family.
What will the ground rules be in terms of doing ‘regular’ stuff while on vacation? Like I said, you want to feel like you are on vacation, not stuck at home.
You might consider a no-phone, no-email or no- internet strategy… or maybe just a limited –use policy. Would you use those things if in a hotel or on a campsite? If you answer the phone, you could get caught up in things you wouldn’t be in if you were away.
And vow to yourself not to use this time to re-organize any part of the house. This is vacation. You must close your eyes to the to-dos around the house and just enjoy.
Prepare for the vacation.
You don’t have to pack your bags, but prepare yourself. Do any laundry, shopping, bill-paying, errand-running and other things you might do if leaving town for a few days. You want the vacation time to be just that: a vacation.
If you have clutter that will call your name, make a plan to get it cleaned up by vacation or find a way to hide it from yourself. Cover it. Box it up. Do whatever it takes. But plan ahead so you don’t get sucked in to doing jobs instead of enjoying your time with family.
Start it off with a bang!
Mark the start of vacation with something out of the ordinary and enjoy the treasures around you… your family, your home and your area’s gems. Start with a special vacation meal to celebrate and take pictures to commemorate your fun.
By planning ahead, every day can feel like vacation… and all for a fraction of the price. Bon Non Voyage!
Amy is the Mom behind both Mom’s Travel Tales and Mom’s Toolbox. She is a world traveler — in heart, body, and prayer. She regularly hosts the Bible in 90 Days read-along. A mother of three young children, Amy writes to equip moms with tools for success whether at home or abroad.