Planning a Staycation

When my Husband and I were first discussing what we wanted to do with a week's vacation time we had coming up, we thought of several different trips we could take. Hawaii was one of our top choices, but after looking at the numbers and factoring in how much alone time we would actually get with Amelia in another country we decided to look at alternative solutions. 

We took three key points into consideration:

  1. Time - To be able to spend as much quality time as a family togehter as well as spending a significant amount of time alone.
  2. Experiences - To experience things we haven't done before, eat amazing food and maybe allow for over indulgences
  3. Budget - Keep the budget relatively low

Enter our family staycation!  

We researched and compared our options between staying home vs. going on a trip. and found that we could save a substantial amount of money by doing a staycation instead of traveling - 40% the cost of traveling out of the country to be exact! We were able to allocate a specific amount to childcare during the week, budget on what activities we wanted to do as a family and how much we wanted to spend on restaurants and eating out and also schedule all the time in for family activities and alone time. 

Thinking about doing your own family staycation in the future? I've compiled a 3 key factors to think about when considering and planning your special family time! 

Time to Plan

Entertainment and Adventures

Before entering into our staycation, my Husband devised a daily schedule so we new we would accomplish everything we wanted to. Each day held something different: a different adventure for the baby and a new adventure for us as well.  We knew that our area held a significant amount of activities for not just us but for our baby girl, so developing a schedule and plan became almost difficult to decide what we wanted to do! We live outside San Francisco and about 30 minutes away from Sonoma and 45 minutes away from Napa. And everywhere in between those three destinations are incredibly beautiful and full of things to discover! Picking and choosing the activities we wanted to do as both a family and romantic evenings made our staycation even more special. 

Tips for planning your own:

If you're thinking of a staycation for your family, take a couple of minutes and check out what's available within a 30-60 minute radius of your home. You may be surprised to see what's there! You may even be able to find activities that give you a discount for being a resident, which is just a huge bonus!  Develop first a long list of activities you would like to do and then cross off what you don't deem as absolutely essential to your staycation. Remember anything you don't manage to experience your an always try to do on the weekends or during the next staycation!

Here are some places in Northern California that we enjoyed!


Gloria Ferrer 

Caves and Vineyards 

The Girl & the Fig

"Country food with a French passion" 

Train Town 

Child Care

Any parent knows what I'm talking about here. You're on vacation with your family and all you want to do is kick your heels up, enjoy a champers  with your significant other and maybe over indulge in dessert a bit. But, what do you do when you have a little one that you can't leave by themselves? When we were looking at vacation vs. staycation, we found this a huge issue for us. We could go to some resorts that had child care included, but they were extremely limited and to be honest I didn't feel great about leaving Amelia with people I didn't know in a place I wasn't familiar with.  

Tips for planning your own:

When planning your staycation put childcare at the top of your planning list! Will you be needing child care? Or are you looking forward to spending all of your time together as a family? This should be one of the first discussions you have when you decide to do a staycation. If you will be requiring childcare, what does that look like to your family? Is it hiring a babysitter for a certain amount of time each day? Dropping the kids off at grandparents? Camps? Be extremely specific when developing a schedule that works for your family and include the cost in your budget as one of the main expenses. 


Food was a big discussion for us. We wanted to be able to keep it extremely simple when we were eating at home and then be able to experience new restaurants together while Amelia was with our babysitter. However one thing that I needed to take into consideration was developing and preparing a dinner menu for Amelia while we were away, so she would also be able to try some new foods and have everything set to go for the baby sitter. This took a little bit of planning, but the 30 minutes I devoted to figuring out her meals took a huge amount off my mind during our staycation week! I made sure that each morning during her nap time I would prepare not just her lunch but also as much of the dinner as possible, so our babysitter just had to heat something up to serve. Knowing that Amelia was taken care of was a huge HUGE load off my mind!

In terms of my Husband and myself, we had an amazing time trying out some new restaurants and enjoying some of our favorites as well! My Husband took charge of this task and did a tremendous job in finding new and exciting restaurants as well as bringing us back to some of our favorites! 

Tips for planning your own:

Food plays a huge roll in all of our lives, and sometimes even more so on vacation. One of the amazing things about going away is that someone else will prepare, cook and clean up every single meal. When you're planning your staycation, think of creative ways that you can implement to give yourself that vacation feeling when it comes to food. Can you outsource food completely with a short term personal chef (like Rachel Jacobs!)? Can you prepare all the food in advance and then simply reheat during the week? Spending some time planning and organizing this aspect of your staycation will truly make it feel like  you're on a holiday! 


Depending on what you're looking for over the remainder of the Summer (or any upcoming vacation days you may have) a staycation may be the solution to the question "What do you want to do this year?" Customizable to your family, budget, needs and wants you can truly make your time away from work perfectly suited for you and your family!