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Savoring a Staycation Vacation

Vacation nixed by a tight budget this year? Or journeying hundreds of miles with a cranky baby and restless kids doesn’t sound all that relaxing? For whatever reason, spending your vacation at home–aka the “staycation”–can save your budget and sanity. Here’s how you can make the most of it.

Really take the time off.

Don’t “cheat” and work. As the owner of a home-based family photography business, I find it’s tough to not check my emails, or work on a baby photography project when I should take time off. (Hey, I love taking family portraits and even the administrative tasks in my business!) Designate this time as your vacation and stick with it. Unless they’re absolute emergencies, the calls, emails and texts can wait. If you have the means, hire a cleaner to tidy up partway through the week while you’re out. If that won’t work, swap cleaning duties with a trusted friend. After your staycation, you can return the favor.

Give yourself permission to just loaf. If you’ve had a busy day and everyone’s tired, just relax the next day. Your staycation is all about stress relief. Feeling obligated to run around can ramp up the stress. Pull out some games and movies you haven’t enjoyed in a while. (Or borrow some movies from your OC library.)

Plan fun activities and outings.

Set aside your to-do list and make a list of some local places to visit where you haven’t been. Tourism websites and brochures can get you started. Many parks provide all-day entry for just the cost of parking. Pack a picnic and head out. Speaking of food, buy convenience food such as deli take-out that only requires reheating (unless cooking and cleaning up after is a lot of fun for you). Line bake ware with foil to ease clean-up. Pick up disposable place settings for your staycation time. Many companies make eco-friendly disposables, so take a guilt-free vacation from dish duty. If it’s in budget, eat a few meals out, trying places you’ve never been before or in a town nearby where you don’t go often.  Find discounts at your local AAA website.

Go out on a date.

Swap some babysitting with another family or hire a sitter so you two can enjoy some grown-up time alone a couple of evenings. Perhaps the kids could stay overnight at grandma and grandpa’s or your sister’s house. After all, it’s your staycation, too!  To find some of the best places for date nights, cocktails and lounges OC Weekly is a good place to look for hidden gems.

Capture the memories.

In the midst of all your fun, don’t forget to take vacation photos. You don’t have to go to an exotic location to snap memorable family photos. After all, vacation photography is about capturing the fun you shared, whether far away, or, in this case, near. And if you want me to stop in for a professional vacation photo shoot, give me a shout!

Beach family photo session by Jennifer McNeil Photography

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About Jennifer McNeil

Jennifer McNeil is an experienced maternity and newborn photographer having taken newborn photos of more than 3,000 clients in Orange County. She brings her talent, expertise, enthusiasm, and endless love for creating treasured moments to each pregnancy photo session whether it is in the photo studio or on location.