Staycation in style: Plan the perfect staycation in your city

May 7, 2012 at 6:56 a.m. ET

Life is expensive these days. The cost of fuel has skyrocketed, and along with it the cost of food, hotels and much more. It’s no wonder that more and more families are opting for "staycations" in place of the more traditional vacation.

Family having picnic at home

Use these tips to plan the perfect vacation at home for your family.

Clear your schedule

If you’re going to be on vacation, be on vacation! Clear your schedule of all meetings, conferences and obligations. You’ll never feel like you’re really on vacation if you have to keep up the same commitments you do regularly.

Turn your vacation into a staycation >>

Avoid housework

Get all your chores done before the start of your staycation because you aren’t going to do any of them once it begins. Don’t dust, vacuum, do laundry -- anything you wouldn’t do in a hotel should be off limits at home. If it really drives you crazy, splurge and pay for a cleaning service just this once.

Tips for a successful staycation >>

Don’t cook

Listen to us. Avoid cooking at all costs! Do whatever you have to do to avoid it. We know eating out is costly, especially for a family, but at least budget a few meals out. When you’re at a restaurant, moms and dads can relax in ways they can’t at home -- no running for condiments or extra utensils, no refill runs and everyone is happy with their meal because everyone ordered what they wanted. For the rest of the meals, cook some freezer meals ahead of time and pack your freezer with frozen pizzas.

no cell phone signLay off the electronics

Not many people spend their vacations glued to a TV or laptop, so the same should go for your staycation. Unplug those devices during the day and check in with them at night (if you must).

How to plan a kid-friendly summer staycation >>

Discover local gems

You can probably find some great spots in your town that you’ve never experienced. Locals tend to avoid touristy locations, even though it’s usually something fun right in their backyards. Take some time to explore those places you’ve always wondered about, but to which you have never been.

Get out there

As difficult as it may be, avoid the urge to spend your staycation sprawled out on your couch. Don’t look at this as a long weekend -- it’s your vacation, so spend it wisely! Try to get yourself out of the house at least once every day.

Don’t overbook

It’s important to get out and enjoy yourself, but don’t book yourself so full that you don’t have any room to rest. It’s easy to overbook -- on a staycation or a traditional vacation -- and end up feeling more stressed than when you started. This is about having fun and recharging, so make plenty of time for that.

Family vacation ideas

Looking for more ways to enjoy your family vacation? Check out Family Travel City Guide TV -- you'll find everything from the best local staycation venues to the hottest family adventure spots all over the country.