Baby & Toddler

How to Take a Successful Staycation with Kids

Traveling with kids can be a wonderful experience, but active toddlers and moody kiddos can make it pretty stressful, too. While we love traveling with our little guy, this summer we’ve decided to stick close to home and take some time to explore the region with a few staycations. From impromptu family barbeques and loose schedules to photo opps and splurging on yourself, here are a few tips to successfully unplug, unwind and experience your city with fresh eyes.

1. Unplug

When I actually have the opportunity to get away for vacation, I make a big point to leave the computer at home or set some limits so I feel like I can truly get away, and the same should really be true for any staycation. Although you’re technically in your hometown and likely sleeping in your own bed, you don’t want to feel tempted to dip in and check in on work. If you can put up an email away message, that’s ideal; if not, I like to set aside one hour a day (usually in the evening) to check in as needed.

2. Forget Meal Planning and Chores

A staycation is a great excuse to ditch the meal planning and tedious household chores and try to enjoy your city with fresh eyes. For me, that often means trying out new bakeries and cafes and avoiding dish duty as much as possible. That being said, eating out for each meal can start to feel extravagant, so grilling at home or ordering in are great options, too. I love our unbreakable kiddo plate for outdoor dining and a good set of grill tools are indispensable for getting hot dogs or hamburgers into hungry hands quickly.

3. Treat Yourself, Even Just Once

Whether it’s a special restaurant or the entrance fee to a favorite park or museum, treat your staycation as an opportunity to splurge on yourself and your family – even just once. In our household, we try to stick to our budget and carefully consider the costs of eating out and entertainment, but when it comes to Staycations, we like to treat ourselves – within reason, of course. Recently we abandoned our typical weekend pancakes for soup dumplings at a busy spot in the University District and followed that with a trip to the Japanese garden in the Arboretum. Oliver loved ogling the large koi in the pond and pointing out all the different flowers and plants that we don’t have at home.

 

4. Don’t Forget the Camera

It may seem silly as you’ve seen the sights before and walked the streets a number of times, but making your staycation days feel special and not ‘same old, same old’ will help everyone have a more memorable experience. While I never feel like lugging my camera around in the moment, I’m always so thankful to have actual photos to remember our time together.

5. Don’t Overplan

Some of my favorite parts of any vacation occur when we wander around with little itinerary or stumble upon something unexpected. Because we live in a city, downtown Seattle is a great spot for this: we’ll get a donut or share a pastry by the water and amble about, looking at boats or airplanes overhead (Oliver’s obsessed), wandering through interesting side streets, and checking out colorful murals and outdoor art installations. I tend to be a real overplanner and like to stick to a schedule, but whenever we let ourselves roam and spontaneously explore, I’m always glad for it. I bet you will be, too.