Q: Spring break is upon us again. We generally try to get away somewhere warm but this year we can’t afford a big trip. Do you have any advice on how to make spring break fun without breaking the bank?
A: Spring break has become known as a reason to escape from the dreary everyday and bask in the sun, even if it’s only for a week. But many people have reconsidered their plans to go overseas and are choosing a staycation over a vacation.
Staycations got their name a few years ago and have evolved from simply a way to save time, money and energy to an event the whole family anticipates. But as with any good vacation, a staycation also takes planning.
Start with a family meeting and discuss what a staycation is and isn’t for your family. It can be a time to see your city, take in local attractions, enjoy cuisine in a region you may not go to often and sleep in your own bed each night.
A staycation is not a time for chores, renovations, to-do lists or for your kids to catch up on homework assignments If you have work to do, that should be a separate plan for either before or after the fun.
Next, brainstorm and decide what you would all like to do around town or within easy reach by car. Each of you could pick an outing and become leader for the day. You would organize the activity, transportation and meals.
Even if your children are young, they could take the lead in suggesting and planning as much as they are able to do. Encourage them to look for group coupon deals to provide extra ideas or incentives to try something new.
Consider these activities:
- Visit the park, attractions in another town or plan a day to go skiing or tobogganing on one of the local mountains.
- Check your community recreation guide for special events during spring break.
- Connect with family or friends that you normally don’t get to spend a day with and invite them along.
The intention of a staycation is to relax without the stress or expense of travelling. Determine your budget ahead of time and then plan backwards so that you don’t spend more than you can afford.
You and your family will feel more rested and energized knowing that you met your goal of spending time together without blowing the budget.
Scott Hannah is president and CEO of the Credit Counselling Society, a nonprofit organization. For more information about managing your money check www.nomoredebts.org or call 604-527-8999.
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