Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

It’s Staycation Time!


My family are right on-trend with our plan to stay home for the summer holidays. As we drove back from France yesterday – which is not as glamorous as it sounds since it’s less than a two-hour drive and the campsite was one kilometre over the border – German radio was full of top tips on how to enjoy holidays at home. Callers mooted things like having breakfast in your pyjamas, having coffee in bed and not worrying about hotel hygiene as reasons why they enjoy staying at home. Having never given hotel hygiene a moment’s thought, I loved the last one. It’s so German.

After two nights’ camping, I can report that I like staying at home because when you turn a tap, water comes out of it. I also like not having to walk through a damp forest to go to the loo in the middle of the night. And I like not meeting strange men coming out of the co-ed ablutions and wondering if I am going to get the toilet they just used. The campsite was budget-friendly though (€20 a night for a caravan that sleeps four, kitchen equipment, linen for one double bed, a barbeque, gas and a tent pitch) and pretty, and at some point in the holidays, when I get over the water/loo thing, we’ll go back.

The two main reasons mooted for people to holiday at home, or in Germany rather than in another country, are finances and the threat of swine flu. However, Thomas Cook’s new offer for Germans to reserve loungers in advance might be enough to get the population onto budget flights to Turkey. According to yesterday’s Independent, for the first time in a generation more Britons are holidaying in the UK this year than abroad (probably to avoid the Germans and their deckchairs). Marketers have leapt onto the Holiday At Home concept, and sales of picnic accessories and barbeques are soaring.

With my kids on holiday from Thursday this week until mid-September, I’m compiling a list of cool things to do at home. Here it is so far:

* Ride bikes

* Learn to cook something new

* Eat lunch at the river

* Eat lunch in the garden

* Keep diaries

* Go to the library

* Go to the pool

* Hire DVDs from the library or borrow from friends and have movie nights

* Cut up old magazines and make a collage

* Have friends for a sleep-over

* Go for a walk in the forest

* Read in the hammock

* Learn to ride the unicycle

* Bake cakes and invite friends round for a tea-party

* Collect and press leaves

* Go roller-blading

* Camping in the garden

* Pour Mummy a stiff gin and tonic and take it to her in the hammock

Any ideas warmly welcomed.

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

18 thoughts on “It’s Staycation Time!

  1. I love your list. For the first time ever, I’m staycationing this summer without my family! My daughter’s away, and my husband and stepdaughter are off to Pefkos (no promise of reserved sunloungers there, I don’t think) in a couple of weeks’ time. I was giving some thought as to the sort of happy, simple things I could do with my time on my own and now I’m inspired!
    Forget kids’ play – ADULTS can enjoy those things, too … especially blending stepmothers!

    Enjoy what’s left of the summer!


  2. So we’re in with the cool crowd, staying at home for the holidays!
    Great list.
    We’ve also enjoyed playing card games with the kids – rummy in particular.
    Making pizzas at home.
    Planting seeds in pots – the kids managed to grow a sunflower in the winter from the sunflower seeds in the hamster food mix.
    The sleepovers are the best activity though . We had several this last holidays and I hardly saw the kids at all, they just kept themselves busy.
    Actually the best bit is sleeping in in the mornings and no school run.
    Have fun!

  3. I do like the staycation in which I stay home and everyone else goes somewhere! But if that’s not possible, the hammock seems like a reasonable refuge, particularly if someone’s bringing me a drink while I’m in it.

    But I feel I should add to your list, and not simply try to push the joys of isolation, so here are my favorites:

    highly competitive ping pong tournament in the back yard (or where ever a ping pong table can be found). People form teams, there’s a bookie, and maybe even uniforms and chants.

    Highly competitive scrabble tournament at the kitchen table (see above for ways to heighten the competitiveness)

    Not so competitive hiking in the hills behind us, where the reward is a view and maybe dinner, carried up the hill by husband.

    It’s going to be a lovely summer, C!

    • Lily, you’re with me on the lone staycation! Thank you for your tips – board games are of course of the essence (says she, returning from a competitive game of Memory.) Noting here to finally teach my kids some of the card games I loved as a child.

  4. Great ideas! I’d love to be able to walk in the forest while staying at home! There are no forests available around here but we do have pretty ravines.

  5. I like the collages idea very much. We are staycationing here because we have no money. Maybe things will improve soon, but I’m not holding my breath.

  6. We love staycations here also – lots to do. My favourite activity not on your list is making stop motion videos with the kids – they love making a movie of their favourite lego star wars characters, and they love the credits at the end (Director: Chatterboy) even more.

  7. “Hotel hygiene” — that makes me laugh! While on vacation a few weeks ago we watched Ocean’s Thirteen in our hotel room (oh, the irony!) and you just reminded me of the whole thing where they loaded up the hotel reviewer’s room with bedbugs and flu virus and all sorts of nasties.

  8. We just had a three week staycation. We had big late breakfasts, went to the beach, rode bikes along the river. We went on browsing trips. (no money to shop.) Oh and we started remodeling the bathroom.

    The kids enjoyed all that plus having daddy home. We played lots of card games and built unbelievably tall Lego structures They put on puppet shows for us and frolicked in the sprinklers. Today with the temperture reaching 102*, we did nothing but watch T.V and eat grapes and watermelon all day long. I believe in a balanced lifestyle 🙂

  9. That’s a great list of things to do. I’m not so energetic as you, so have to come up with more stay-put options than that. I really like just talking to my son. We hang out together most school holidays as we only go away every few years, and we’ve always sat together and just chatted about what’s on the television, or what he’s doing on the computer, or any old thing that comes into his mind. As you have three children you could find a game that grabs them. My brother and I used to play monopoly marathons in the holidays, or endless games of rummy. But it sounds to me as if you’ll have a delightful time. 🙂

  10. It sounds like you’ll have a great summer — I love that list, especially the last item! I’m kind of puzzled by the hotel hygiene thing … I don’t think I’d do very well in Germany 🙂

  11. Just read about Germans being able to book their sun loungers from home… too crazy! Note to self: do not ever holiday wherever they are!

    We’re at home on holiday too – have been on school hols since June. School starts here mid-August.

    We have been horse riding on Shetland ponies, jumping on a trampoline, swimming in lakes and outdoors pools, playing Wii Fit when it rains, picking blueberries and raspberries. Mixing chalk and water and painting out on the road and driveway, taking the dog for walks, cycling, baking bread and pizza, making homemade ice lollies, popping popcorn, painting, finger painting, body painting, having bubble baths.

    The last activity on your list sounds great fun.. must start training my kids right away!

  12. I’m a new visitor and enjoyed your Staycation post. Originally from Europe, but now living in California, I still need to get away to another culture, or see some new sites. I work from home, so a staycation, does not feel “right,” to me.

  13. Make the biggest House of Cards ever, using every single pack you can find in the house, and then take photos of it before it collapses.

    Start a huge (1000-5000 piece) jigsaw puzzle on a side table so everyone can spend a few minutes working on it when they feel like it – this can last all holidays. Important tip, don’t let the dog chew a vital piece – in our case the Queen’s head from a jigsaw of the Coronation!

  14. “Hotel hygiene”!! OMG, now I have a whole new thing to worry about (although I must admit that an article from my school days where they warned you that every fibre of that plush HOTEL carpet could harbour athlete’s foot is permanently seared into my memory…!

    Love the list, especially the last one 🙂

  15. These are fabulous ideas. We are also staycationing this summer. I need to make a trip to IKEA to get a couple of lounge chairs so that we can fully enjoy our little yard. Since we are staycationing very close to each other, we hope to see you out and about! Gee, I hope that’s not like going on vacation with friends, if we do something together?!?!

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