What is a staycation holiday?… aka holistay.

Essentially, it is a stay-at-home vacation.

Huh?

“That’s not really a holiday!”, you might be thinking.

Those were my thoughts exactly, until we had our first staycation holiday just recently.

Look, I’m going to be straight up and tell you that it aint as good as a ‘real’ holiday; however, we did make a couple of rookie errors and, despite my preference for an actual holiday over a staycation holiday, we did have an amazing time and will definitely be doing more staycations in the future.

Why Did We Choose To Have A Staycation?

Anyone who knows me, or has completed my (very affordable) build a family budget course… shameless plug there!… will know that we have all our goals noted down, which includes plenty of holidays with specific dates on where we’re going, when we’re going and how much we want to spend on each holiday. Then we put money aside every week for each individual holiday – some months away, some years away.

BUT.

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For the last few months we had both been working our backsides off. Rocco – the 1-year old – had decided to abstain from sleeping for pretty much the entire month of September and colds, flus & viruses had been floating around our house since the beginning of Winter.

We needed a break.

We reviewed our household budget and savings plan, checked our upcoming goals, and were distraught to find out that our next planned holiday wasn’t until January… arrrgghhhhhhh!

Now, usually I’m a stickler for staying with the plan, but since business had been really good (lots of peeps joining the Build A Family Budget Course), we decided to cut ourselves some slack and spend the weekend doing our very first staycation. And, having now completed the staycation, I thought I would share with you what we did on our staycation, the benefits of a staycation, how to do a staycation, things to do on a staycation and places to go on a staycation.

Here’s how our staycation went down….

Day 1 of our Staycation

Friday Afternoon

I knocked off work at midday. Amelia had the car packed and we set off for the 30 minute drive down to Fingal Head on the far-north coast of New South Wales, grabbing a coffee for the trip down.

Fingal is a great little quiet spot with spectacular views, a semi-secluded beach, and a small lighthouse overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

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The beach trail walk under the tree canopies feels like you’re a million miles away from civilisation and the hustle and bustle of the Gold and Tweed Coasts.

Total Cost of Friday Afternoon

1 x Coffee – $5

Friday Evening

After returning from Fingal, we quickly got changed and strolled up to our local Italian Restaurant to share some pizza, pasta, lasagna and garlic bread (plus a BYO bottle of vino)

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Total Cost of Friday Evening

Dinner – $72

Wine – $10

DVD – $4

Day 2 of our Staycation

Saturday Morning / Afternoon

Despite being on a staycation, the boys weren’t going to get away without Saturday morning swimming lessons! But then it was back to the fun, with a drive down to Tropical Fruit World.

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The experience was much different from what we expected – in a good way. This place is educational and very inspiring when you learn its history. The staff were knowledgeable too and clearly had a passion for the farm. I highly recommend this place if you’re in the area, especially for kids to see and learn about where our fruits actually come from.

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Also, if you’re a local you can get buy 1 adult ticket and get one free.

Total Cost of Saturday Morning / Afternoon

Tropical Fruit World Entry – $45

1 x Coffee – $5

1 x Water – $3

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Saturday Afternoon / Evening

After Tropical Fruit World, the boys were exhausted and fell asleep in the car on the way home, so we swung into a bottleshop to pick up some supplies (hey, it’s only fair to let them get a good sleep, right?).

We had decided that we would get some ingredients to make some cocktails later that night.

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But first, it was off to Sushi Train for an early dinner.

Total Cost of Saturday Afternoon / Evening

Bottleshop supplies for cocktails – $68

Sushi Train Dinner – $46

Paddlepops – $3

DVD – $4

Day 3 of our Staycation

Sunday Morning

We went for a nice walk to the beach near home for a coffee and smoothie and then thought it would be nice to visit a different beach. One we had never been to before. Again, we trekked down south and ended up at Lennox Head, spending hours on the sand and in the water, had some lunch at Sea Shells and went for a walk, then made our way back home again to chill out.

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An impromptu invite from the neighbours for Sunday afternoon drinks was the perfect way to end our staycation.

Total Cost of Sunday

2 x Coffee – $10

Lunch – $32

Gelato – $9

So… after 3 days, 3 beaches, 2 dinners out, 2 lunches out, an adventure park, fancy cocktails, two movies and plenty of time together as a family, the total cost of our staycation was a mere $316 and we did not stop the whole time. Plus, we still have plenty of alcohol left over for Christmas,

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Tips On How To Do A Staycation

Tip #1 – No Chores

You’re on holiday, remember? That means no housework, no gardening and no washing machines. You will have to wash the dishes though (that was my job!).

Tip #2 – Tell People

Tell family and close friends that you are on staycation so that they are not offended when you are late to return phone calls (or don’t return them at all). This is your opportunity to cut yourself off from the outside world for a few days.

Tip #3 – Plan

Decide on everything you want to do before beginning your staycation in order to maximise your week/weekend. Look up local attractions and think about things you’ve always wanted to do in your local area.

Tip # 4 – Think of the kids

While it is important that you enjoy yourself and sneak in a few beverages over the course of the staycation, you also need it to be a good experience for the young ones. It’s their holiday too.

Tip #5 – Turn off from social media

Just do it.

Bonus Tip

Pay cash. Rock it old school. Draw some cash out of the ATM and use it throughout your Staycation. Let the kids hand over money when buying things and maybe give them left-over small change for their money box. This will help them understand that everything isn’t paid for with the magical plastic card.

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Benefits of a Staycation

Here’s the main benefits of a staycation over an actual vacation:

Benefit# 1 – Absolutely no accommodation costs

Our total staycation weekend was less than what we probably would have spent on accommodation alone. This is easy on your budget and won’t require you to pull out a credit card.

Benefit # 2 – You get to check out your own backyard!

Not literally. I mean all the attractions in your local area now become your playground. The best part is that many will offer discounts for being a local.

Benefit # 3 – You get to live large

Everywhere we went, everything we did and everywhere we ate, we didn’t worry about what we spent. We ordered food we wouldn’t usually eat and did things we wouldn’t usually do, because we knew how much we were saving by not paying for accommodation.

Benefit #4 – Less to worry about

No need to be concerned about the security of your home for days on end and no need to worry about who will look after the pets.

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Hey, do you have any tips, ideas or things to do when on a staycation that you want to share? Let us all know about it in the comments below so that we can all have some cracking holidays at home.

Author: Chris Strano

After playing a vital role in the creation of his two sons, Chris Strano gave up his former-life as a financial adviser to dedicate his time to providing everyday families with basic money management advice. Drawing on his years of education and experience, he has also developed an affordable 100% digital course showing young families how to build their own custom household budget and savings plan to work towards their goals, using financial planning strategies (without the cost of a financial adviser). You too can get started by grabbing his free 6-Step Budget Cheat Sheet at Build A Family Budget and follow him on Facebook and Instagram @SmartFamilyBudget.