How to Have a Memorable Staycation

Amy Keslinke by Amy Keslinke Additional Needs

Amy Keslinke

Amy Keslinke

Amy is mom to 2 small children, one with developmental delays, hearing loss, and a congenital heart defect. She writes at

It happens to me every year. I’m not a huge traveler, but the summer months give me the itch to get away.

This year, the feeling is no different, but the options couldn’t be any more different. In years past, we could search for some good hotel deals or an Airbnb. This year, our concerns for our safety, especially the safety of our medically complex two-year-old, led us to decide that it wasn’t really worth it to take the risk of a getaway.

This year probably won’t be the only time we staycation. Money, time, and health all play big factors in being able to physically get away. Instead of allowing the lost adventure to get us down, we planned a silly staycation this year to give us a bit of a change of pace.

Day 1: Camping

To start, we bought a cheap tent on Amazon and borrowed an air mattress. On the first day of our “getaway,” we set up the tent and filled it with cozy blankets and pillows. We spent the day going for walks and bike rides and playing outdoor games.

For dinner, we made campfire nachos and smores. At bedtime, I set up my phone for a movie, and then it was lights-out.

The best part of this backyard camping trip? Mommy got to go inside to sleep when a certain little one was hogging the bed. :)

Day 2: New York City

We woke up in the tent and “headed off” to New York the next day. We set up a little pretend airplane trip, complete with peanuts and pretzels (and, another perk, much shorter than your typical plane ride).

After “landing” and some freetime, we headed to a Broadway show by watching Hamilton on Disney+. (There are lots of other Broadway shows available to stream online if you would like something without the questionable language. :))

Dinner that night was New York-style pizza (my first time trying homemade crust!) and New York cheesecake (store bought).

Tips for a Memorable and Fun Staycation

.  Think about what you love about vacation and try to recreate it at home. For example, if your favorite part of vacation is long, lazy breakfast and coffee out on the balcony, set up a comfy spot in your yard or on your deck to do the same. If you love to hang out by the pool, get your swimsuit, towel, and chair ready...even if it’s inside!

.  Don’t allow your mind to go down the “it’s not going to be the same” road. It doesn’t need to be the same to be a wonderful family memory!

.  If you hate cooking, don’t cook! You can find similar foods that set the mood for takeout, or do some pre-planning and order to have something shipped to your home from a favorite destination restaurant.

.  If you love the unique foods you get while traveling and don’t mind cooking, search for recipes and plan ahead of time so you can get groceries in advance and don’t have to worry about taking trips to the store while you’re staycation-ing.

.  Try your best to unplug and soak in the quality time with your family.

.  At the same time, don’t get too focused on the rules or getting certain things accomplished. As long as everyone is enjoying their time together and having fun, you’re doing a good job!


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