Written by Sara Jane Breault
Wednesday, December 4th, 2019
When we have an upcoming vacation, we often rack our brains trying to come up with fun things to do with our loved ones. We'd all like our vacations to be unforgettable, leaving an indelible mark on our memories—the ones you look back on years later and think those were good times…those were special childhood memories...
And with the media bombarding us with ads touting the perfect vacation, it's easy to feel guilty about not being able to afford it. Worse still, we sometimes end up taking on debt for the sake of making it happen!
Planning a Getaway Doesn't Have to be Expensive
I experienced this dilemma. Back before our first baby was due, I was hoping to plan one last romantic getaway, but life (and renovations!) had other ideas.
My other half and I were in a stage of our lives where every dollar had a very specific task: our entire budget was already allocated to many things, none of which were a vacation.
But a colleague said something that really struck a chord with me:
“When you think about it, our best memories of summers from our childhood often come from the simplest activities."
What's Your Perfect Childhood Vacation Memory?
The water balloon fight at day camp… The ice cream outing after a soccer game… Camping with cousins… The water slide we used to make in the backyard… Trips to the neighbourhood swimming pool…
Simple Activities Can Be Just as Fun
And that's when I had an “aha" moment: our fondest vacation memories are just as much about simple, inexpensive activities as they are about grandiose ones. And there may be a good reason for it: the lack of stress! Experts agree that the most important part of a vacation is getting away from it all1. Even children need downtime with limited activity and planning. So planning a vacation that's right for you is a great idea.
The Internet is full of ideas to help ensure that everyone can have a great vacation—without breaking the bank. Local newspapers continue to be an excellent way to learn about activities near you. Who knows, you might even forge new friendships with people in your neighbourhood… In any case, remember that the cost of a vacation isn't what makes it memorable, no matter what social media would have us believe.
I'm Planning a Staycation
I finally accepted that you're not doing yourself any favours by blowing the budget to give your family a “keeping up with the Joneses" kind of vacation. There was no pre-baby European vacation for us, which I made my peace with. Instead, we stayed home, making the most of all the free activities our region has to offer: blues festivals, beaches and outdoor concerts.
Besides, when you go into debt for a vacation, you're more likely to spend the rest of the year paying it off than planning and enjoying the next vacation. And that would be a real shame!