How {not} to Have a STAYcation

by Laura on April 6, 2012

Ever heard of declaring a last-minute staycation for your family? Especially when you all really need a holiday, but can’t necessarily afford to travel to some exotic-somewhere?

I had never heard the term before last week when my friend listened to me whining about how we needed to take a break but didn’t have the money to travel to the beach this year. She said her kids had listened to an old Adventures in Odyssey tape {yes, cassette tape} where the family didn’t have the funds for a vacation and had declared a staycation, instead. The family on the radio show had a glorious togetherly time right in their hometown– campouts with marshmallows, picnics with everyone-laughing games, long stories read {and listened raptly to} by all four children, who played harmoniously like those Little House on the Prairie kids.

Motivated mom that I am, I went home that evening and declared the following week as a family staycation. I jumped into cheerleader mode and pumped up the week at home like it was a trip to Disney. We made a list of all the fun things we’ve been wanting to do as a family in and around Chiang Mai. We went to the store and got fun foods for the fridge. We let the kids stay up late and watch movies that had absolutely no educational value. Matt and I treated ourselves, often, to highly-caloric iced coffees.

And then, day three found us in a fender bender which landed our car in the shop for the next week.

Scrreeeeching halt to the day trips and the restaurants on the other side of town. Hello, instead, to riding public transportation in the April-hot with three small kids to get groceries.

And while I admit that cheerleader-mom hung around for a few more days, trying to rally the troops to even more staying on our staycation, things went downhill pretty quickly after that.

There were more sibling-fights, and more whiney-complaints, and more “Moooomm, we are sooo bored’s” than should be legal for any parent to suffer.

And four days before Staycation ended, Matt and I decided to put all of us out of our misery, and we declared a school day for the following morning. And there were wails of disappointment from kids whose mother had painted a grandiose picture of a holiday where you never leave the house, but, honestly, sometimes the horse just needs to be put down.


Thankfully, before our quick decline into holiday-torture, we did manage to do some memorable things with the kids.  We visited an awesome waterfall {before the car-fiasco}, made up a stupid ice-cream challenge at the mall {where we had to eat and finish a McDonald’s cone during the trip from the fourth floor to the fist floor in order to “win” a second MickeyD’s cone}, and had a guys night/girls night {where the guys went camping, Asian-style}. Here are the highlights . . .


How about you?  Ever tried a staycation with your kids? Was it more successful than ours?  Any other vacation-disasters we can laugh about?


  • richelle

    staycation? sometimes i love ’em… sometimes i hate ’em.

    it is just about my only choice here, for safety and affordability reasons (i.e. the places we can afford to go are not deemed safe due to the current political climate; visas to travel out of the country are cost prohibitive for our family) 

    we can go hang out at the pool… or at the river… or have a sleep over with friends… or stay up late and watch movies (if the power works) and sleep in the next day… or try out new recipes… or go for a boat ride to see the hippos for the 17th time… or play games… or make a game out of spring cleaning… or just hang out and talk… or dance in the living room until we are laughing so hard we hurt… or…

    almost  2 years into this term – i’ve not left Niamey…

    i find staycations to be lots more fun when i choose to see (or sometimes find) the fun. i hope i’m modeling some important lessons in contentment for this crew of mine. who knew that cleaning the kitchen by candlelight could be such an adventure? 

    • lauraparkerblog

      Man, you speak as one who KNOWS– and 2 years without a break! That is tough stuff. I can’t imagine the difficulty of feeling “trapped” because of significant safety issues. That’s a really hard reality that I don’t pretend to know about. . . .

      I think you must be quite a gem, Richelle– to hang in there and look at cleaning a kitchen in the dark as an adventure. Pretty impressive attitude, there– sounds quite “heroic missionary” to me! :)

  • Amy

    *Trapped-cation*.  Today is day #1 of ours :)  No, not really- we have a functioning vehicle.  I’m just lacking the motivation to be creative, get out and do something fun.  It’s probably the incredible April heat sapping fun out of me.

    The waterfall place looks even more fun than you described!!  Nice photos. 


    • lauraparkerblog

      ha ha ha. i love that– we are going to go check out those houseboats sometimes this week if ya’ll wanna come. we got our car back yesterday!

  • kendalprivette

    since i am a teacher and chris works from home, any school break feels like a staycation. and there are times i am ready for them to end! i love your photos, videos and honesty about your missionary life. won’t you write a book for me to read? you know, in all your extra time?

    • lauraparkerblog

      ha ha. :) Happy Easter, friend.

  • Amy Stewart

    that picture of Ava up top is HILARIOUS! sorry the staycation didn’t work out but, like you said- sometimes you gotta cut your loses.  love you

    • lauraparkerblog

      ha ha, right?! I thought so too. love you too. . . . happy late Easter!

  • LB

    “Sometimes the horse just needs to be put down.”  Love that line.  I have so many opportunities to use it, too!  Isn’t it true about so much of life? I suppose if that were the case, Jeremy’s dog would have died years ago…

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