Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Will you have a staycation this year?

A 'staycation' can help beat the high cost of gasoline without compromising the need for relaxation and renewal.

staycation: A vacation that is spent at one's home enjoying all that home and one's home environs have to offer.

"Even though I live and work in Toronto, I don't always get to enjoy all it has to offer, what with my work commitments, but I sure did have an awesome time here during my summer staycation. "

Summer is all about hitting the road and enjoying the sunshine, but the reality of taking a vacation is complicated.

High gas prices, sky high airline price, the hassle of getting away from work, kids who want to hang out with friends -- the list goes on. But things are looking up for those who want a great summer escape, but can't swing Euro Disney.

Welcome to the staycation. Imagine a vacation you can take on your couch, or not too far from it, where you can have fun for less, learn more about where you live and get away without going too far.

Set a date for departure like you would a real vacation. Give yourselves a budget, if you are staying in or heading out, you want to be able to splurge on some things and be frugal with others. Make sure to get into the holiday mindset. That means you are allowed to buy that hideous sweatshirt, eat that extra piece of cake and splurge on that GPS you have always wanted. No matter where you live or your finances, staying close to home might just be the refreshing break you need.

Staycation strategies

The Honeymoon: A honeymoon, or just a weekend in with your sweetheart, is all about guilty pleasures. Start with a "do not disturb" sign on the door, and make sure friends and relatives know about your time together and ask that they treat it like they would a real getaway. That means only contacting you in case of emergency.

Fun and Games: What better way to start off a romantic weekend then with a bottle of wine and a game of Twister? There are plenty other game options to choose from, both naughty and nice.

Snapshot: What is a vacation without photos? This is a great way to start collecting photos to put on the fridge, and instead of a wish-you-were-here postcard, complete with a tropical background, you'll have a candid shot of the two of you enjoying each other's company to send off to family and friends.

Play House: You can use this as the time to start your lives together and to settle into your home as a married couple. Figure out personal space, rearrange the furniture and get messy. And after a hard days work, indulge in a couple of romantic movies, some junk food and relax.

Take-Out: There is no better way to blow through that allotted budget than some fancy delivery. Take a break from pizza and beer to enjoy a filet mignon, gourmet burgers or lobster dinner. If they don't deliver, pick it up. It can be like a mini road trip.

If you are doing really well budget wise, hire a personal chef to come in and cook a romantic meal for two.

You may want to plan something adventurous that the whole family will enjoy, making everyone forget the everyday stresses of life.

Picnic: Look for the oasis in your own community. Forget the travel books, look for the perfect spot you already know, such as Toronto Island Park. maybe take in a soccer game or the Blue Jays have Cito back! Explore the Humber Bay Shore Mark Goodman Trail on your rollerblades. Canoe on the Humber River.

Urban Camping: There is nothing more exciting for kids than doing something that is out of the ordinary in the place they feel most comfortable -- their home. That is why pitching a tent out back can be more fun that actually going anywhere. Get the whole family involved in setting up and picking out all fun and games you can enjoy.

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