Staycations: a winter holiday in the comfort of your own home

    17 Jul 2017

    Now that the long summer holidays are behind us, it’s the perfect time to plan some fun times nearer to home to lighten up the colder months ahead. If you want to have a break without spending up big, why not consider a staycation or a holistay? If you haven’t guessed it, these terms refer to taking a break much closer to home to enjoy some affordable time off.  
    Imagine the benefits: Staying away from home is expensive — flights, hotels, motels, car hire — it quickly adds up. No wasted days travelling to and from your destination because you’re right there on the spot already! No ‘are we there yet’ or ‘she’s looking out of my window’.  
    Here are a few tips to make your break in the comfort of your own home a relaxing one: Avoid slipping back into your normal routine by planning your home holiday as if you were planning an overseas trip; have a budget for eating out and activities; research the interesting things that your surrounding area has on offer; look at places within a couple of hours’ radius for day trips. Get creative and get active – remember bush walking, bike riding, beach visiting are child-friendly and free!
    You could even make a list of potential activities and get the children to choose the order of play or pick one out of the hat at breakfast time. Remember to throw in a few rainy-day options like a trip to the wave pools, a movie day or a family game marathon (with lots of yummy snacks) so that there’s never time to get bored. Discipline yourself not to get pulled back into household chores – the washing/garage clean out/ironing can wait a week.
    Take naps. Make sure you’ve got a couple of good books to hand and download those movies you missed out on over the last 12 months. It’s much easier to enjoy a successful staycation if you are organized — especially if there are children in the house. Involve the kids in the planning stages and offer to take a friend along on a few day trips with you. Above all, keep it in the front of your mind that you are on holiday. Anything that feels routine, boring or blah is out!
    We asked the Earthwise fans to tell us about their favourite staycation activities — and we were deluged with answers. You lot really love New Zealand! Here’s a selection of our favourite responses:
    • “I live in Gisborne and the weather here is very hot, so the best place I love to go and stay is the BEACH. Waikanae is a beautiful beach plus it has a tennis court, playground, showers, a cafe and restaurant with an abundance of nice cold things - drinks, milkshakes, ice cream! It's a paradise! We stay here all day.”
    • “We love to go out to my kids’ grandparents lifestyle block for the day and have a BBQ . They get to run around out in the orchard and we get to sit and relax!”
    • “We love cycling round Pencarrow coast in Eastbourne to the lighthouses. The coast road is so beautiful and the views are unforgettable.”
    • “A day trip to the Catlins to see the seals and to walk the tracks with a really nice picnic. It’s the jewel of the South.”
    • “Head west of Auckland with the dogs and the kids. First stop Kakamatua so the dogs can frolic off-leash and the kids can swim in the tidal estuary; next stop Huia dam to marvel at the giant sink hole and then for a bush walk through the Karamataura valley and paddle in the crystal mountain stream; last stop Huia food store for burgers and ice cream - eaten on the beach before one last swim and home to bed.”

    And we’ll leave the final word to a fan who’s planning a staycation to conquer the mountain she can see from her home on the western shore of Lake Rotorua – happy holistays!

    “I'm doing a staycation and a mountain I will climb. 

    I see it out my window, and I've never had the time,

    Or at least that’s the excuse I try to tell myself,

    To justify my laziness and a lack of stealth.

    So up it I will go, 5 kms to the summit I would say,

    But I'm so unfit it will probably take all day

    So Ngongotaha here I come - ready or maybe not

    But I will certainly give it everything I've got.”


    (Photo credit: Catherine Renolds)