Thursday, July 11, 2013

Vacation or Staycation?

One thing we've rarely ever done is go on vacation.

When I was growing up, my family went on vacation every summer. To the beach. It was great fun and we all just had a marvelous time relaxing and playing in the sun and surf. My grandparents rented the same house, right across the street from the beach, every year and all of us went.

My parents were into camping and in the fall our family joined with other families and trekked to the mountains for weekend camping. This was just as much fun as the summer trips to the beach.

I remember our vacations being fun, relaxing, sometimes exciting...but never boring. And always as something to look forward to doing- even the three hour drive from our town to the beach that started at 4:00 AM. Every. Single. Year.

Our vacation days were spent getting up early and hitting the beach. We returned to the house for lunch and went right back to the beach for the afternoon. After supper, Mother or Grandmother would apply Noxema to our sunburns and we would all sit around talking and/or playing games, sometimes sitting on the screened in porch in the big rockers, but ALWAYS laughing. Loads and loads of laughing. Once during vacation week we headed to Myrtle Beach (only one beach away from where we stayed) and went to the Pavillion and the next night we went to eat Calabash seafood. Standing in line for over an hour. Every. Single. Year.

Once I had a family of my own, I soon realized the reality of vacations after a whopping three times.
  • Vacations cost money. And we didn't have much. We gave up a double income for me to stay home and raise the lovelies. Probably not a great idea considering the husband has never been a worker bee who makes a lot of money. (I often tell people we are THE blue collar family in our town---not that far from the truth).
  • Vacations are more work for the mom than just staying at home. Seriously. Not. Fair.
  • Vacations mean riding in the car for HOURS. With four daughters. Enough said. 
What does this mean, besides we did not take vacations? It means that I learned to appreciate staycations. And this is what the lovelies and I had every summer.

It wasn't difficult to discover the reality of our staycations:
  • They cost very little. 
  • The amount of work is actually less than during the school year- no getting up and rushing out the door for school, packing school lunches, rushing to soccer/dance/cello/piano/etc.
  • It's quite easy when your house is only 3.1 miles from the beach (except for all the stuff you take with you when you have little kids- all their fun toys and food and drinks in that Little Tykes wagon that is great until you hit that hot, loose, deep sand). 
  • If we tired of the beach we headed either to my mother's or my dad's house--both of whom live on a lake (in different states THANK GOD) which is just like staying at home OR spent the afternoon with friends who either had a pool or pool access.
  • People won't really bother you if you just don't answer the door or the phone. :)
  • There were plenty of free community activities for the kids.
Now that the nest is empty (well, sort of, DoodleBug did move back in recently), I still appreciate staycations. Though the thought of a vacation BY MYSELF is quite appealing.

I envision renting a beach house or maybe even driving up to the mountains and renting a cabin for a week and writing, writing, writing and writing. I might even throw a little hiking and nature walking in just to mix it up. :) 

Even when I'm just staying home, the summer days can be spent any way I choose. I like this. I can---
  • home improve
  • clear out and throw away  junk
  • read
  • write
  • watch movies
  • go to the beach
  • go on a nature walk
  • take pictures
  • work in the garden
  • can goodies from the garden
  • make one of those flower towers like Deb did. 
I can do all that and more. Or, not. It's up to me. Totally. I like this very much.

When it comes right down to it, I wouldn't trade my vacations with my family when I was a kid for anything. At the same time, I enjoyed just as much or more having staycations with the lovelies when they were growing up. Certainly our location is a bit more conducive to staycations than some other areas and for this I am eternally grateful. And as an empty nester, I could really go either way. I'll have to try a vacation first. I'll keep you posted. :)

What do you prefer- vacation or staycation?


  1. Funny, as a I'd we never went anywhere...we had AOL, the horses, the countryside. Now, older and grown, we go on vaca each Spring which is more than enough because of retirement....:)JP

  2. Well you know, growing up we took incredible vacations. Then when the kids were younger we took lots and lots of vacations. Then we moved here. It costs so much and every thing is so expensive. It is so much work too like you said.
    I really do like planning my own time and days. Not to mention the food is better.
    I love my own bed too. Not to mention how could I leave my dog.
    So now you see why I am always at home. :) I liked all of your reasons.

  3. We didn't travel much when I was young because we had a family cottage at the beach - only a 20 minute drive away. We went every weekend. But now as an adult I realize how much work it was for Mom to pack and organize all of us to travel.

  4. My parents never took an actual vacation. They had six kids ... enough said. For us a vacation was a trip to visit my grandparents who lived way out in the country. It was great to spend 2 weeks every summer running wild. My only living grandfather was a fishing guide and sold live bait, so visiting this was a lot of fun.

    We only took a few vacations with our kids, Disney World, and the Texas Hill Country. We did what we could afford. Now that it's just the two of us, I'm all about travel. I want to see things I've never seen before.

  5. I prefer a vacation, and by that I don't mean camping, or renting a condo or cabin. For it to be a vacation, someone else has to make the bed, clean the room and replace wet towels, and it means three meals out with no cooking or dishes to wash.

    Living in Florida, we can get to the beach for the day on any Saturday or Sunday. We are blessed with a pool in the backyard. We don't have kids at home anymore. I love my job, and I love our home. Life is good, and if I get a "real" vacation every couple of years, even for just a long weekend, I'm a happy girl.

  6. As kids we went camping every summer for two weeks. When we had kids we couldn't afford vacations. We took a couple, but had to save and plan for them. I love being home and we have a pool in the backyard so staycations are fine with me... but every once in a while a weekend away where, like Terri says,someone else makes the bed, hangs the towels and cooks, is wonderful!!

  7. JP- Staying at home has been enough for me for nearly 30 years but lately, I'm thinking of a nice cabin. And solitude.

    Kim- I prefer my own bed too! Nothing else sleeps quite as well does it? :)

    Kim- We live only 3.1 miles from the beach so I guess you could say we have sort of a beach cottage. LOL It really is a lot of work. I'm glad to have missed out on that! :)

    Vicki- There were four of us. I have no idea why my parents wanted to take us anywhere. LOL My great-grandparents lived in the country on a farm and I LOVED going there to visit!

    Terri- You sound like D2. She much prefers to be pampered on vacation. If I could go by myself, I wouldn't mind the cabin or the cooking or the cleaning. The solitude would be worth every bit of it! That's one nice thing about living in coastal SC too. We can go over to the beach any time/any day- it's only 3.1 miles from our house. I don't think I'd give it up for anything!

    Debi- We couldn't afford vacations either. But staying home was quite nice. I'm totally jealous of your backyard pool! I've always wanted one.

  8. Always having lived on a farm our vacations were a day long with relatives fishing or swimming or just visiting.

    That did not stop family from piling in on us for a week or more at a time and this was always the part of the family that we never wanted to visit.

    After we were married maybe we went on a day long trip and took weeks to pay for that. Mostly we went fishing or swimming or something simple.

  9. I like tradition whether it be a vacation or a staycation. Many of our vacations with our children were to visit family. When we moved to CA we started taking vacations to Mammoth Lakes and have continued this for about 18 years now. I do love a cabin in the woods. No social media, hiking, fishing, reading and scrabble. Of course it is still work making meals but it's so different when you not at home! I am sure your children loved their summers with you :) and will talk about them forever.

  10. When I was a kid, we lived on a farm, so a vacation was pretty much out of the picture. BUT, every September my parents would pack up the kids and we would go to Uniontown for the weekend, and stay at a Holiday Inn that had an indoor pool, and mini golf course. We saw a Pirate baseball game on Saturday, and Sunday morning we would come back home. To us, it was a great vacation!!!

  11. AND did you make one of the flower pot things? I really like mine, but the weeds seem to be growing up around it!! :(


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