7 ways to make your staycation anything but ordinary

For those looking to avoid high gas prices and embark on an increasingly-popular ‘staycation’ this summer, the Lloyd’s BBQ Picnic Anytime toolkit is a great source for family fun – on a budget. Lloyd’s Barbeque Company Family Manager, Kathy Peel has helped compile a guide that provides step-by-step tips and ideas for games, activities and meals for summer family fun.

When planning a summer vacation that won’t force parents to pay a hefty price at the pump- and will still offer- adventure, quality time with their kids and a respite from their daily lives Peel shares 7 ways to make your staycation anything but ordinary!

#1  Play tourist.  Just like you would research things to see and do at any vacation spot, do some online research about what people do when they come to New York on vacation.  Make a list of potential outings and activities, and let family members add their ideas.  Decide how many you can work into your budget and your schedule, and put “staycation” days on your calendar.

#2 Put a different spin on the usual.  If you decide to spend a staycation day at an amusement park, visit one you’ve never been to before.   Or add challenge at a zoo or museum.  Research online the animals you can expect to see at the zoo. Write down their scientific names and take the list with you. After you locate all of the animals by their scientific names, let your kids get a treat or souvenir. Learn about the exhibits you’ll see at a museum, and do the same thing.

#3 Gather what you’ll need beforehand.  Do everything you can in advance– go to the ATM machine, lay out clothing and gear, pack non-perishables in your picnic basket–so that you’ll have minimal preparation on your staycation day.

#4 Take a vacation from electronic devices. Disconnect from the world (turn off cell phone, pda, landline, computer, iPod) so you can connect with your family.  Parents, set the example. Don’t even check your e-mail before you leave.  Give your mind a complete rest from work, and focus on your family.

#5 Take a vacation from chores.  Give everyone a pass on household chores. Consider using some of the money you’re saving by not traveling on maid service for a day.

#6 A little extra: Purchase some chocolate mints and ask a friend or neighbor to turn down your beds and put a mint on your pillows before you get home. Return the favor when they take a staycation day.

#7 Take photos.  Don’t forget to save the memories just like you would on vacation away from home.

In fact,  parents can set up a summer vacation- like experience right in their own backyard-and create  a family summer vacation at home – rain or shine. Here is what you’ll need and how to get organized! It will help you be picnic-ready and will simplify planning so you can get out the door faster and have more time to enjoy some good food and quality family time.

Purchase plastic plates, cups, napkins, plastic utensils, unbreakable salt and pepper shakers and a tray. Store them near the back door for quick table-setting outside.

Buy some yard-game equipmentFrisbees, horseshoes, badminton or crochet gearand keep all gear in one place.

Be ready for critters. Stock up on citronella candles to ward off mosquitoes. Plant marigolds and mint (natural bug deterrents) near where you eat on your patio or deck.  Keep a trashcan nearby for fast clean-up. Glue a pest strip to the lid to keep flies away.

Stash old bedspreads or quilts in a convenient closet to pull out and lay on after dark. Download and print a star chart and have a flashlight handy so you can identify specific constellations and planets. The only thing you may need to purchase is batteries.

Buy a few squirt guns and packages of water balloons. Keep them hidden so you can pull them out for some impromptu fun.


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