The first rule of a staycation–the idea of turning your home into a relaxation haven rather than battle against other tourists for the best time–is to break from routine. You must be able to reset, relax, and enjoy yourself. That means drafting a vacation to help you prepare and explore your horizons. With some planning in advance, you can eliminate the everyday work of cleaning and cooking so you can kick-back and enjoy your home.

Determine your budget for the entire two or three weeks so you can plan accordingly. Rather than restrict meals to home-cooked, consider planning for three or four take-out or restaurant meals each week. Pre-cook meals for the freezer that go can into the oven for easy dinners. Sandwiches are a great Plan B because everyone can make their own. Desserts such as ice cream and bakery delights will keep the mood festive.

Consider hiring a cleaning service. With all the funds you save by avoiding air travel, hotels, and taxis, a professional home cleaning is a smart and budget-friendly way to make your home feel new and inviting. Send them in before your vacation starts and come home to a perfectly manicured space, ready and waiting for you to enjoy.

Planning what you want to do each day or week will help keep the vacation momentum going. For example, Monday could be set aside to explore history by visiting the Sooke Region Museum.  Tuesday might be a fun activity like kayaking or horseback riding. Wednesday could be a daytrip to Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Let family members write their suggestions on a blank calendar so everyone can participate in the plan.

To get everyone in the mood, some wardrobe updates might be needed. For kids, a couple of new summer outfits will delight them. Accessories such as glittery flip-flops or a kid-sized fedora will signal that vacation has started and it’s time to start having fun.

If you feel like you’ve seen everything, maybe it’s time to take a train or drive to a different part of your province. In B.C., the ferry system connects the islands to the mainland. A long weekend at a kid-friendly B&B gives everyone something exciting to look forward to.

Don’t forget to ‘schedule’ some idle time. Studies have shown that daydreaming and just vegging can produce alpha waves in the brain that leads to creativity. Bookend down-time with something artsy to make the most of that neural connection. Follow a slow day with some time in a gallery or artisan shops.

Prepare a ‘rainy day’ box with some interesting crafts and reading material. Local craft or dollar stores will have supplies such as construction paper, glue, and paints for young artists. Adults might want to try adult colouring books to get their alpha waves going.

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