There are plenty of reasons to love a staycation: no tricky travel plans, no packing hassles, and vacation savings that can go right into your teen’s college fund. But for teens who are accustomed to more traditional vacations, the idea of a staycation can seem less than thrilling. The key to making a staycation successful is treating it like a real vacation, says Matt Wixon, author of “The Great American Staycation,” in an interview with “Consumer Reports” magazine. For teens, this means putting an exotic twist on at-home activities by indulging in pleasures that aren’t part of everyday life.
Visit Another Country
Tickets to China may be out of the budget for this year, but you can capture the spirit of distant lands with a well-planned staycation. Explore Chinese culture by spending a day in your city’s Chinatown, eating at authentic Chinese restaurants, taking a Chinese calligraphy or art class, and watching movies set in China. Visit Paris by making reservations at local French eateries, catching a French flick at a local theater, renting movies like “Sabrina” or “Funny Girl” set in Paris and visiting a museum with French art. Focus on your teen’s dream destination, and your staycation travels will be fun for you both.
Indulge Yourself at the Spa
For some teenagers, a week of self-indulgent spa treatments is the perfect vacation -- and it’s not too hard to recreate a spa getaway at home. Pick up big, fluffy towels and robes -- spa getaway essentials -- and pull out your stash of body scrubs, facial masks and other spa-style essentials. Stock your fridge with spa-inspired treats, like pitchers of sparkling water flavored with cucumber and mint. Consider booking an in-home massage therapist or pedicure pro to give you a treatment in your living room.
Make Beautiful Music Together
If your teen’s idea of vacation heaven is a weeklong music festival, appeal to his inner music lover with a rocking staycation. Make plans to check out several live music venues -- check ahead to make sure you’re visiting a place that welcomes guests under 21. Visit used record or music shops to browse old-school music offerings. If one of your teen’s favorite music acts is headed to your town, time your staycation to coincide with the event. Rent concert videos of your favorite bands and share them with your teen. Of course, that means you have to sit through her favorite concert movies, too.
The old saw about how New Yorkers never visit the Statue of Liberty is true in other cities, too. Pretend you’re on a vacation in your own city, and make a list of all the must-do tourist destinations you never seem to find time to experience: cool museums, popular sporting events, trendy restaurants and hip neighborhoods. If cost is an issue, some attractions offer discounts to locals or good deals on coupon sites such as Groupon or DealChicken.com, so plan ahead to get the best rates. If you want to make it feel like you’re really on vacation, you can even strap on a fanny pack and embarrass your teen.